Reblog from

How the NRA Sold U.S. Out

I’ve come to expect that the name of new legislation is a contradiction to actual intent. Such is the case with HR5175, or the DISCLOSE Act, which prevents some organizations from disclosing factual details about political candidates in the period preceding an election.


Talking about anything, especially voting matters, is protected by the First Amendment. Right? Congress doesn’t think so. And if the dominating political party gets its way in the Senate, the answer will be: Wrong.

Freedom - by SIVKOFF

The VERY FIRST Amendment, Freedom of Speech, has successfully been raped by Congress and by a few powerful, complicit organizations which have been granted exemption from the act. That’s right – if an organization generates enough money (political clout), and if it agreed to withdraw from the fight in exchange for playing nicely with Congress’ agenda, it may be exempt from the act. As did the NRA. Yes, our old friend, the NRA withdrew from the fight in this assault on the very First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution. This was not an act of omission – they were in and then agreed to be out.

If the Senate Majority gets its way, when We The People want to know about a politician’s voting record or about his/her character (and I hope everyone does) before We vote, We cannot look to those whom We have chosen, for ourselves, to trust. The information must come from an “approved source”, such as one of these organizations in bed with the political class. This gives them the opportunity to select what information will be DISCLOSEd, without worrying about contradiction from a lesser, perhaps more honest group. If We can’t look to grassroots political groups for the scoop on politicians, to whom can We look? Incumbent endorsements? (We all know how that works, don’t we?) The NRA, who made this deal with the Devil?

Probably the most concerning point to this unconstitutional act is that it silences groups less likely to have been corrupted by big money and politics – and leaves all the talking to the groups that have. It’s no coincidence: Look at the current political climate. The People are angry and paying attention. For the prevailing agenda to succeed, grassroots organizations MUST be silenced. That’s what our chosen leaders are trying to do, by dismantling Freedom of Speech.

Congress cannot be trusted to uphold that which every one of them swore to protect. Can the Senate? We will find out soon enough.

Call your Senators and urge them to preserve whatever thread of trust is left.

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A consistent favorite

Guenoc North Coast Victorian Claret.

One thing I’ve noticed about wine is that I can buy the same bottle, the same vintage year etc, and sometimes, it just doesn’t taste the same as the last time I had it. But there’s one bottle that is good every time, and that’s this Guenoc Victorian Claret.

I like to drink it by itself or pair it with pasta or meat dishes.


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Desert Crust (reblog from Piss & Vinegar)

I’ve never been a gambler, but during the 1100 mile stretch between SoCal and home, Las Vegas was always a welcome diversion. On the one hand, I’m the kind of road-tripper who races the clock, and does not stop unless the car needs fuel. On the other hand, I’ve always had a tough time passing up the nice, yet super cheap rooms, $4 steak & lobster and of course, the dancing girls.

But alas, what exists there today is not the Las Vegas of yore, and although I haven’t spent but a few hours there over the past decade, I suspect the transition was akin to a frog in gradually boiling pot. I stood up at my buddy’s wedding there last weekend, and I was shocked to find that the water, so to speak, was at full tourist-trap boil.

The Hotel and Casino in which we stayed is a world renowned…dive (I’d hyperlink it, but this is really a shame, and I have no need to salt the wound). Granted, they’re under construction, but for twice the rate of a typical Super 8, I got an offensive smelling, overheated room with none of the standard conveniences; refrigerator, coffee maker or functional air conditioning (it was almost too hot to sleep, even with the AC on full blast and the curtains drawn all day). Wireless internet? That will be $9.95 a day, please.

On our way up to our room, we had passed what looked like a new, just-getting-started eatery. “Pasta & Vino”, the painted wall announced. It looked like my kind of lunch, and considering appearances, it would be reasonably priced. We ordered a bottle of Chianti and got a head start with a nice chafing fuel buzz from the buffet line. The marinara was pretty good, but the rest of the food was mediocre. One dish was flat out nasty. We were nearly done with our plates when the waiter arrived and said they were out of the wine we had ordered. By that time, I was ready to pay the double-what-was-expected bill and go somewhere else for a post-road-trip cocktail.

On a positive note, circumstances beyond my control kept the best man (yours truly) from attending the drink-fest which ensued after the ceremony (another Piss & Vinegar topic for another time). The positive note was not what kept me from the debauchery, but the fact that I did not wake up late, hung-over in a sweltering room with an 11 hour drive ahead.

Still, I could not get home fast enough.

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Vino de la Semana

Here’s another $10 bottle…Yep, and another Spanish best buy:
Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo (20%)/Garnacha (80%) Navarra
Good all by itself, but even better with shish-kabobs.

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This Week’s Wine Recommendation

The Spaniards have seldom disappointed us with wine from Rioja and Navarra.

Here’s another $10 bottle we tipped last night with some spicy pepperoni pizza.

Cortijo Tinto, 2008 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, Rioja

We’re camping tonight and will be making another stop to grab another bottle of this and last week’s recommendation.

Cortijo, Tinto 2008 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, Rioja

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Periodic Wine Recommendation

So I think I’ll make an effort to post up a new recommendation each week or so. I’m no wine snob, (so I’ll spare everybody the wine-speak) but my girlfriend and I try new stuff all the time and seek out recommendations from others. That could be you.

To be fair, here are my biases;

Red. Anything but Shiraz, and unfortunately, I’m getting there with (red) Zinfandel, which only a few years ago was my all-time favorite.

Under $15 and usually closer to $10. There are so many great bottles in this range, I won’t normally spend more unless I want something specific. On the other hand, I’ve bought several $30 and $40 bottles that only served to disappoint.

We’ve been on a Malbec kick, but we seem to be sort of shifting over to Tempranillos. Hence, this week’s choice:

Martin Codax “ERGO” Tempranillo 2007.

Martin Codax ERGO Tempranillo 2007

The bottle we shared around the campfire last week was amazing. The word euphoric comes to mind.

It was about $11 and I’ll definitely be buying more.


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A Week in the Desert

A week among friends in a canyon with a buttload of wine was long overdue. We had hauled ass a day early, trying to beat a very wet, late-spring storm over the passes – to no avail, but it could have been a lot worse had we waited a few more hours for black ice to form.

The Devil Herself

Our compadres were fortunate enough to have been able to leave about 6 hours before we did, and they didn’t waste any time setting up the camp-lounge.  I think the corkscrew was already seated when we rolled into camp.

Kane Creek Canyon at the mouth of Hunter Canyon

Kane Creek offers no shortage of high places on which to play. Natural anchors in the “bombproof” category, however, can be tougher to come by. It was a good thing we had taken over 550′ of lifeline rope because, in each instance, we had to use remote and/or directional anchors, and we didn’t want to compromise with a single rope rappel.

Rappel into camp

The sandstone was pretty solid for the most part, but flaky and rotten in an occasional (and usually overhanging) area.

On Rope!

Traverse Highline

Again: Wrapping boulders 50′ from our departure point ate up a lot of rope, which limited the…(here’s a Bushism for ya) spectacularity of our evolutions. But this trip was as much about repetition and skills maintenance as getting away from the hamster wheel of work.

Traverse Rigg

Traverse into Camp

Having rolled in on a Wednesday gave us a false sense of continued peace…Friday night arrived and the inconsiderate masses came along with it.

Now, granted, a bicycle cruising through the canyon echoes for miles, but that night, Kane Canyon turned into a cross between Jelly-Stone Park (Home of Yogi Bear), the X Games and Copper Canyon Cove during Spring Break. Dirtbikes screamed sideways through the creek. Hoots and screams echoed off the walls, reverberating probably for miles. From 10 PM to at least midnight, traffic grumbled through at a rate of one about every three minutes. One in three of them carried a shirtless and shouting, intoxicated clown. 6 AM came with the sound of slamming car doors and trashbags full of bottles. More about that night in another post.

Or not.

There wasn’t a whole lot of water in Kane Creek Canyon, but Hunter Canyon is a really nice hike with several nice, deep pools that were perfect for a dog swim.

Hunter Canyon

The Good One


I was raised in a tourist trap, and I can smell one from miles away. Moab is, sure enough, a tourist trap. And for maybe the first time ever, I was able to relate to the experience of a tourist. There are a lot of attractions in Moab, both geographical and cultural. Such a wide range of terrain and activities can not be found in many places. (I admit, I’m wearing a Moab t-shirt as I type.)

While the food was marginal (we hit 4 or 5 restaurants) the prices were comparable to those in the Denver area. Same deal with a couple of local climbing shops. My buddy and I kept making trips back to Gearheads and to Pagan Mountaineering. As much as one pays for a freakin’ hat in Moab, I was afraid to buy any gear in those shops, but a quick internet search (love 3G…) revealed their prices were right around those we’d been finding in our Metro area shops. Sooooo…We both came back with some extra gear (not to mention a couple of over-priced t-shirts).

The week went way too quickly, but we got a lot done and burned a lot of energy. Most important though, we came back relaxed and ready to get back on the wheel.

I offer a parting note here: If you’re coming down I-70 on the way to or from, be sure to take Hwy 128. It’s amazing.

We will be back to Moab soon.

Hwy 128

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