CNN Money Tries to Cast Shadow On Gun Manufacturers

April 18, 2013

CNN Money published this article today:

Gun stocks lag after gun control bill fails

The article starts with a very ominous statement:

Gun sales have been driven by many new buyers, including women, who feared more gun restrictions. But with this incentive gone, the industry could be in trouble.

The author then tries to use statistics to convince you of this fact. I love statistics, because they allow liars to paint themselves into obvious corners. The article lists five companies, and their recent change in stock prices, from best to worst:

Company Stock Price Change
Smith & Wesson gained 1.3%
Ruger lost less than 1%
Olin Corp. lost 1.2%
Alliant Techsystems lost over 2%
Cabela’s lost almost 5%

First, you can’t measure ANYTHING on a single day’s stock movement. But let’s say you can. The theory is that gun/ammo sales have been hurt by the end of the “gun scare”, right? Then why is it that the three companies that sell guns/ammo exclusively have done the best out of these five, one of them even gaining stock price? In fact, the two that have dropped the most only get a *portion* of their sales from guns and ammo.

You’d think if gun/ammo sales were dropping off, the companies who ONLY deal in guns and ammo would be hit the worst, and companies who sell lots of other things might be affected very little, if at all.  But the reverse is true.

Why would the interwebs lie?

CNN is left-leaning, and this article is in their Money/Investing section. What better way to try to force a drop in stock for the companies you think are “evil”, than to take advantage of an arbitrary dip to try to scare shareholders into panic selling?

Friend or Foe – 2nd Amendment Collaboration

April 3, 2013

If Walking and and 2nd Amendment had a baby, it might just be Friend or Foe, a site that makes great use of Google Maps to let users post how carry-friendly businesses are.  As a web developer by day, I’ve thought of building something similar many  times, but never got around to actually doing it. Being the good sport that I am, I’m happy to support somebody who did…begrudgingly 🙂

When I found the site, I had fun marking all the places I’d been lately.  I mark most places as neutral if they don’t have any anti-carry signage, and therefore allow carry by default.  But I have the most fun marking places that I know are pro-gun; Bass Pro, Cabelas, even Wal-Mart because they’ve remained carry-friendly in spite of public and government pressures.  I also enjoy posting no-carry places, so others hopefully see them and avoid them.

What does this have to do with walking?

After marking all the places I knew from recent memory, I wanted to do more. Kansas City is littered with business parks, strip malls, and the like. I realized it would be great exercise to walk these places and verify their carry status. Driving doesn’t work – you can look for the official signage, but you won’t catch the many non-compliant custom signs or messages.

Walking past a couple dozen doors takes half an hour or so. It’s good exercise, it supports the 2nd amendment cause, and it removes my biggest obstacle to walking – boredom.  I hate walking the same route every day, or walking in circles with no purpose. This way I’m occupied writing down business names for a good cause, and never in the same place twice.

I hope you visit Friend or Foe, and look for me on the Top Contributors list – I’ve been hitting the pavement!

Slow Juice Fast: Day 7

March 27, 2013

Yesterday I got “back on the wagon”.  Not that I’d really fallen that far off, but I did stick to my juice the entire day, and even got a 20 minute elliptical workout in.  The results didn’t show up on the scale – my weight remained unchanged – but I have to remember that losing 12 pounds in seven days is pretty good by any standard.

I’m still planning to juice, and “earn” reasonably-portioned solid meals with exercise. So, by the numbers:

  • 7 days of vegetable juice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • 2 solid meals at dinner time.
  • 2 evening snacks, both on nights I ate food with dinner.
  • 12 pounds lost, from 315.2 to 303.2 pounds.

I’m not bothered by hunger much, or low energy at all.  Just the desire to eat. Just the habit. It’s been an interesting journey. I won’t be reporting on my progress daily anymore, but I will post updates regularly.  My short term goal is to get to 280 as quickly as possible so I can start running outdoors again.  I never used to like running – until I spent hours on an elliptical, staring at my basement wall 🙂

Slow Juice Fast: Days 5 and 6

March 26, 2013

The last couple of days have had a common theme: eating some solid food for dinner. In the strictest sense, I cracked 🙂 But overall, it hasn’t been too bad.  I was worried that if I ate anything, I’d start eating everything, but I didn’t. Both nights, I still had my juice first.

The first night, my wife stacked the deck against me. She was tired and still getting over her own cold, and ordered pizza.  I had two slices with dinner. I had a third slice later that night, because mentally I’d “broken the seal”.

The second night, I had a “handful” of scrambled eggs – yay protein – and half a bagel with so little cream cheese I chuckled at why I added it at all.  That was good, but later that night we watched a family movie, and I had a little more popcorn than I should have.

I was also interested to see if my weight loss would just evaporate once I took a bite of solid food, but that didn’t happen either.  I still lost half a pound the first day, and stayed the same the second. For the next day, I plan to completely fast again.  I’d like to jumpstart the loss again.  Here’s to getting back on the wagon!

Slow Juice Fast: Day 4

March 24, 2013

Day 4 is done!!! I was at my sickest last night. A lot of sinus congestion/pressure, and I was cold. No, I didn’t have a fever. Mrs. Survivalist already checked!

I debated yesterday morning whether to keep doing the juice fast or not. I decided to make the juice AND drink it, then make my decision. Diet decisions shouldn’t be made on an empty stomach. I decided to take it one meal at a time this way – consuming my juice, then deciding if I needed something more. I stayed with it all day.

I have to say, I feel really good after a juice. I’m not hungry, and I have energy. I don’t think my cold would have been any better off if I’d gone back to solid food. After a long night’s sleep, I feel better. Still sick, but better. So as long as I continue to recover, I don’t see a reason to abandon the fast. I think the worst is over.

My cravings have started to go away. I’ve been doing something I call the “cheeseburger test”. It started out by accident. I’d catch myself daydreaming about eating a double cheeseburger from McD’s. In the first few days, I could taste it, and it was delicious. Now, when I *try* to daydream about it, it doesn’t seem as appetizing. The same is true for most of my other trigger foods.

I never fully appreciated what it meant to be an alcoholic until I was overweight. I didn’t understand why they preach total abstinence over moderation. Now I get it. When you have an addiction, you’re at your weakest right after getting “just a taste”. It’s no different for me. One slice of pizza turns into several. Sometimes, as a last resort, you have to put some things completely off limits. It’s been a great exercise doing that with food for the last few days.

Slow Juice Fast: Day 3

March 23, 2013

I’ve been fighting off allergies or something this last week. Maybe not the best time to start a juice fast. Other than the congestion, I feel good. Again, I haven’t felt super hungry or deprived, my energy has been good, and I’m even down about eight pounds. Granted, I know some/most of that is water weight, but still.

So my question is, should I continue the juice fast when I’m not feeling well? I’m not sure if this compromises my immune system at all. Heck, it may even help since I’m getting a lot more vitamins and other micronutrients (and sleep, for that matter) than I usually do. And this started *before* the juice fast, but wasn’t that bad. Overnight though, I got really stuffed up.

It’s 10:45am, and I still haven’t eaten anything. I slept in kind of late, and now I’m trying to decide what to do. Honestly, I’m just now starting to get hungry, and before that even an egg mcmuffin (a personal weakness of mine) didn’t sound appealing.

I’m going to make my juice for the day, and make my decision from there. I don’t want the temptation of some quick cereal or fast food to sway my choice. Once I have the juice, I can make a fair assessment about whether to drink it. I know it sounds backwards, but the temptation for fast food has been big the last few days.

Funny too, I hand’t realized until now that my cravings haven’t really been for home-cooked, well-balanced meals. They’ve been for junkier foods – fast foods, mac & cheese, a Red Robin burger, high-calorie mexican, etc. And not all mexican food is bad for you (especially in moderation), but the stuff I’ve been craving is. There’s a place near my office that makes these enchiladas – they’re filled with meat and cheese, then covered in more cheese. I’m pretty sure the tortillas are only there to structurally support more cheese.

So this tells me I’m on the right track – I’ve been missing the *bad* foods, and with good reason. I’ve been addicted to them for a long time.

Slow Juice Fast: Day 2

March 22, 2013

Work is busy today, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Juicing went well yesterday, except an insane craving for meat! I thought about the gourmet mexican restaurant I sometimes visit for lunch with coworkers. But I also thought about McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. Clearly, quality wasn’t an issue 🙂

I have to say, I’m not starving on this diet at all. I feel great, and no more hungry than when I watch what I eat any other way. I’m not missing nutrition, because I’m getting plenty and I’ve stored up plenty over the last several years. What I’m missing is the physical act of eating and tasting. It’s amazing, though – how long does the joy of a cheeseburger last? A few minutes? The consequences, however, have been sticking around my waistline for quite a while, and it’s time for them to go.

My real concern now is AFTER the fast. It’s actually easy to temporarily ban solid food because the rules are easy. Going back to the real world is a little tougher, when you have to decide if something is okay to eat, and how much. I don’t have to worry about eating too many chips when I don’t start eating them in the first place.

I thought about ending my fast next friday at lunch (assuming I don’t crack before then). There’s a pub here in Kansas City’s Plaza area that serves unlimited fish and chips on fridays during Lent. That sounds awesome. It also sounds like a drunk celebrating a week of sobriety with a bottle of Jack Daniels!

After talking it over with coworkers, I think I’ll compromise. I’ll celebrate next friday with fish and chips, but in moderation. It’ll be a good test. More like a drunk celebrating a week of sobriety with a single jack and coke 😉

Slow Juice Fast: Day 1

March 21, 2013

I’ve completed my first day of drinking only juice that I make at home using fresh vegetables and fruits. The emphasis is heavily on green vegetables – kale, celery, cucumbers, etc. Apples and a smaller dose of lemons really help turn them from tasting completely like lawn clippings to something rather tasty.

The first half of the day, I was actually drinking “smoothies” made in our blender. There are lots of arguments that this is better for you than throwing out the pulp like you do with a juicer. And there are lots of arguments for using a juicer as well, but it boiled down to me owning a blender and not a juicer. And by “drinking”, I mean “chewing”, because there’s a lot of pulp!

So what happened the second half of the day? We got a juicer 🙂 I told Mrs. Survivalist that I know I tend to dive head-first into new hobbies and interests, but I would hold off on getting a juicer until I’d done the fast for a few days first. She replied that she’d been wanting a juicer for a while. I picked one up over lunch, and man alive – there’s a big difference.

Blender vs Juicer

I think ultimately if you’re going to turn eatables into drinkables, the blender is probably the better way to go because it’s closer to the way God intended. I’m a meat and potatoes guy, but I’m becoming a big fan of natural foods (including meat and potatoes). So the blender does some of the chewing for you, but largely leaves your vegetables intact. Blenders are also easier to clean, and it doesn’t take as many vegetables to make the same sized drink.

That being said, sometimes we have to embrace our inner Lazy Bastard, and it doesn’t get more convenient than a juicer. The extra cleanup pales in comparison to how fast it works. My wife and I took forever trying to blend kale, even with other juicer ingredients. The juicer handled it all smoothly and easily. And it was delicious! It was also much easier to consume. At times, I had to resort to using a spoon to consume my blended smoothies. Then poof, it becomes less like drinking juice and more like eating cold, unsalted vegetable soup.

The Results

I felt pretty good yesterday. A friend and I talked about buying cattle to raise on his acreage, so there were a couple hours of really wanting steak. I’m the kind of guy who REALLY misses his meat on Lenten Fridays. But aside from being hungry late afternoon, I felt pretty good all day. No headaches, my energy was great, and I’m down 3.3 pounds. Yes, I know about losing water weight etc, but it’s still a good start.

I ended the yesterday by juicing today’s entire diet. It’s not as good out of the fridge as it is right out of the juicer, but I don’t have the time to juice 3-4 separate times a day. As messy as the juicer is, it’s much more practical to juice in bulk.

So far, so good.

A Slow Juice Fast

March 20, 2013

Gallagher once said, “Why do they call it fasting when it goes so damned slow??” Amen to that. But my recent fitness efforts have stalled out, and I’m looking for answers.

I found inspiration in an ironic place: Netflix, the lazy man’s best friend. I stumbled across the documentary “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead“. I’m a programmer, and I was killing time waiting for some very slow scripts run, so I watched it in 10-15 minute chunks. It really spoke to me.

First off, let me say that I know a lot of people saw the film and interpreted it as a 90 minute infomercial for the juicer industry. I didn’t. I saw a guy who weighed about what I do when he started out (around 310 pounds), and documented his journey.

People also criticized it for following the Supersize Me format almost to the letter, but I ask you: who had the tougher job? The guy gaining 20 pounds eating fast food, or the guy losing 100 pounds eating raw fruits and vegetables? There’s only one of these challenges I want to imitate, and for that I can forgive any lack of originality.

That said, I’m taking up Joe’s challenge to go on a juice fast. This is not what I’ve traditionally considered “juice” – I always thought of store-bought, high-sugar fruit juices, but Joe’s secret to success was home-juicing lots of fresh vegetables, and a moderate amount of fruit. And eventually, he added whole, raw fruits and vegetables to his diet. The juice-only regimen was a temporary kickstart. That seams sensible.

I’m well known among friends and family for running hot or cold. I’ll fall in love with something (elliptical machine, walking, hiking, boating, camping, fishing, etc) and do it to death before abruptly abandoning it. My hobbies run in fast, furious streaks. So I can’t promise how long I’ll do this, or how faithful I’ll be to the diet. But I’m willing to do what Joe asked – I’m willing to TRY.

Tonight my wife helped me with the first batch, and we tried a sample. It was good! We’re using a blender for now, which I kind of like because it’s easier to clean and you get the benefit of digesting the pulp as well as the juice. But we might be getting a juicer this week if I stick to the diet for at least a day, heh.

My first batch (tomorrow’s juice) is Joe’s own Mean Green Juice, and it’s much tastier than I thought it would be. So here goes! My starting weight is 315, and hopefully at the end of the week I’ll start to see some progress.

Aurora Theater Victims Were Denied Their Right to Protection

July 20, 2012

First, let me say that my heart goes out to the victims of the shooting that occurred at the theater in Aurora, Colorado earlier today.  The tragedy they endured touches far more lives than theirs.  While we don’t know all the numbers yet, I’m sure dozens and dozens of people lost husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers,  and sisters in the massacre.

I’m also saddened because these victims were rendered defenseless by the Century 16’s “no weapons” policy.  The truth is, while Colorado is very good about allowing the law abiding (who have been fingerprinted, passed a background check, legal written test, and shooting test) to carry a handgun for personal protection, Cinemark (the company that owns the theater) forbids them.

There are two exceptions to Cinemark’s ridiculous policy: law enforcement, and people who choose to disobey the sign. Thus, the law abiding who obeyed the “no gun” sign at the door were victims of the criminal who didn’t care what the sign said.

A local news site,, has an article about the tragedy.  There was one comment when I read the article, from “Vicki McMillan of Leawood, Kansas”:

When are we going to take automatic firearms off the “common” market…..NO private citizen needs an automatic weapon…..hand guns for protection yes, automatic firearmes NO….

While I applaud her defense of personal protection, I had to chime in with a response of my own:

While I understand that you mean well, please do your research. He didn’t use automatic weapons, and it’s already illegal to own any automatic weapon manufactured after 1986 when the ban went in effect. Pre-ban automatics cost $20,000 or more, so they’re well out of the reach of the “common” market.

It’s not all your fault – the article uses terms like “sprayed with bullets” to make it seem like he was unloading hundreds of rounds per minute, when that just wasn’t the case. If he had an automatic, there would have been no need to fire a shotgun or handguns.

I went on to explain the problem with Cinemark’s weapon policy, as I have above.  My comment never made it past moderation, and a couple hours later both comments were removed.  I guess somebody with an anti-gun slant at the site didn’t want my simple facts getting in the way of an emotional, fear-based response.  Again, I think Ms. McMillan’s heart is in the right place, but 9/11 taught us we pay the price when we’re willing to give up our freedoms for the “promise” of safety.

Sadly, we should have learned this lesson centuries ago, when it was obviously an issue.  That’s why Benjamin Franklin himself once stated:

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Pray for the direct victims of today’s attack, and their friends and family who are victims as well – victims who must live with the consequences of one man’s actions for the rest of their lives.  Don’t dishonor them by fearfully asking the government to take over.  Fight to ensure that in the future, the law abiding can defend themselves wherever they choose to peacefully assemble.