Worth a Taste: Penn Brewery - Bacon Brew Dog

Just had a fantastic lunch at Penn Brewery, a local German brew pub. I've been there several times over the last ten years and it's always had good German food. They brew their own beer too and most of them are fantastic. But today's meal, despite not including an excellent beer, was extremely good. I had their Bacon Brew Dog. It's menu description is:
A 10 inch Silver Star frankfurter stuffed with fresh jalapenos, wrapped in three pieces of bacon, then deep fried and topped with shredded cheddar jack cheese, BBQ sauce and vinegar slaw in a hot dog bun.
Hot damn is it all that and more! The jalapenos were very fresh and pretty hot, the bacon was very crispy, and the BBQ sauce and slaw paired well together. The only thing I would have changed is to put it on a more substantial bun - this one started falling apart when confronted with so much tasty goodness.

Cheers to Penn Brewery - that was a tasty dog!

Occupy Pittsburgh: Finally Jumped the Shark

It's official. The Occupy Pittsburgh movement has jumped the shark. According to today's Post-Gazette, Occupy Pittsburgh vows to seize and rename Mellon Green.
Organizers of the Occupy Pittsburgh tent encampment said today they are "seizing" the BNY Mellon's privately owned park in Downtown, will rename it "People's Park," and will serve BNY Mellon with an eviction notice Monday.
Ken Miller, 38, of the North Side, said he expects occupiers will win their fight in court

So, BNY Mellon gives the Occupy Pittsburgh permission to use the privately owned park, Mellon Green, as long as the protesters weren't disruptive and didn't damage the park. After several months of "occupation," the permission has been rescinded and the protesters were told to leave by noon today. And, like the spoiled brats they appear to be, they're refusing to leave and plan on filing an eviction notice against BNY Mellon? The inmates truly are running the asylum.

I've watched the Occupy "movement" grow from its infancy and chuckled as it's continued to make a mockery of itself. I even agree (to some extent) with one of the messages they speak about: I would love to see corporations lose the massive influence they have in Washington. We differ in that the Occupy movement doesn't mind lobbying in general, they just want a different group of people doing it. I, on the other hand, want all the parasites out of Washington - corporate and union, private and public.

But seriously, evicting a company from their own property? I'll start making the popcorn.

More Liquor Law Stupidity

Bill Toland has an article in the Post-Gazette on the Pittsburgh Whiskey and Fine Spirits Festival. One of the vendors will be the brand new Wigle Whiskey which is just about to open in the Strip District here in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, they won't be able to actually let people sample their whiskey. Why?
Wigle Whiskey -- being produced in the Strip District, in Pittsburgh's first whiskey distillery since the Prohibition era -- will not be among the spirits sampled. Though the festival had advertised Wigle's presence in press releases, Wigle won't be pouring tomorrow, because the federal government has not approved Wigle's bottle labels.
Got that? We're not allowed to actually try this local whiskey because at least one federal agency is required to approve the bottle labels.


In addition to Wigle, an Indian whiskey (Amrut, out of Bangalore) is now available in Pennsylvania but, since it's not a regularly stocked item, you have to special order it. And special orders are done by the case!
Amrut brands are now available in Pennsylvania, but only by special-order -- meaning that if you want to try a bottle, you have to buy six of them, because the PLCB doesn't maintain an Amrut inventory.

So, to recap, if you want to take this highly-rated whiskey for a test drive, instead of buying one bottle of Fusion for $67, you have to buy six, for $400.
I have mentioned this before regarding Evan Williams 1783 bourbon and the PLCB is still a bloated train-wreck of government stupidity. It's time to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania.

One Death Sentence I Can Support

I'm usually against the death penalty. Not because I think it's wrong but because I think government is too incompetent to wield such a power. But in this case, I have no problem at all with it.

Jury Sentences Cop-Killer Richard Poplawski To Death

Murdering three police officers gets you a Go Straight to Hell card in my book. And the arguments in his defense?
On Tuesday, the jury heard testimony from witnesses called by the defense in an effort to save Poplawski's life.

His great-aunt testified about how Poplawski's parents divorced when he was young and how he was largely influenced by his alcoholic and abusive grandfather who died last month.

Testimony also detailed problems with Margaret Poplawski, Richard Poplawski's mother, who was described as an alchoholic who tried to commit suicide on at least one occasion.
Sorry, douchebag. A lot of people are handed a shit sandwich in life. Most of them manage to get by without going on a rampage. There's no excuse for what you did.

Marine Corps uniform? Not at North Allegheny High School

UPDATE @ 20:15 (Original Post follows)

Looks like North Allegheny has posted a response
For several decades, the graduation dress protocol for the North Allegheny graduation has been simply defined and clearly enforced to maintain an emphasis on the class as a whole and to establish a sense of decorum for the ceremony. The only deviation from this protocol has traditionally been the addition of a gold cord designating membership in the National Honor Society, for graduates who have earned that distinction.
The purpose of Mr. Sieminski's call to this family will be to inform them of the following:
  • There is a new state law passed in March 2010, which prohibits the restriction of wearing military uniforms on school property. Therefore, there will be no restrictions imposed on this student in regard to the wearing of her uniform to graduation. She may choose what she wishes to do at graduation.
    • The student may wear her uniform; she may wear a cap and gown; she may wear her cap and gown with her uniform under it and remove the cap and gown upon receipt of her diploma.
  • As calls came in to the District today, the Marine Corps League made contact with us. This ultimately led to communication with and counsel from the Marine Corps Uniform Board, located at the Pentagon, regarding the issue of wearing Corps uniforms to these types of events. Their statement offered recommendations for compromise and permission for the student to wear her uniform under her cap and gown at the ceremony until after she accepted her diploma, if she desires to do so. This information will be shared with the student to provide her with a point of reference.
  • The student's decision will have the full support of the Principal. North Allegheny requests that the family would communicate with the school regarding the student's plans.
Looks like they ended up doing the right thing. Whether it's for the right reasons or not is another debate, but at least this young woman will have the option to wear her uniform.


Looks like the very high school from which I graduated made the front page on Fox News: Semper No: Pennsylvania Marine Barred From Wearing Uniform at High School Graduation
Lindsay Starr told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh she wanted to wear her dress blues during Friday's graduation ceremony at North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, but that school officials denied her request, citing the requirement of wearing only the traditional cap and gown.
Here was the response I sent to Ms. Joy Ed, the Director of Public Relations:
Dear Ms. Ed,

As a graduate of North Allegheny's 1996 class, I was saddened and disappointed to see that the current administration is not allowing Lindsay Starr to wear her Marine Corps uniform to the graduation ceremony.

I can understand the reasoning behind the policy - I remember the beach balls that some of the more immature students tossed around at my graduation - but I think that this "zero-thought" approach is doing more harm than good. I would think that showing that the school district can use good judgement and allow a student to wear her dress uniform would set a good example for the student body.

This student has already graduated, has made it through one of the more grueling boot camps, and will almost certainly see combat - and possibly be killed - very soon. Military uniforms are acceptable, if not honorable, attire for weddings, funerals, and award ceremonies and they should be no less acceptable for a high school graduation ceremony.

Please do the right thing and let this young woman wear the uniform of the country to which she has committed much of her life.
Now, I really do understand the reasons that policy was likely put in place. High school students, especially today, are often incredibly immature and lack any sort of common sense or respect for others. This policy will help prevent people showing up for graduation in jeans, bathing suits, costumes, etc. Likely, prior to the policy, one or more of those happened.

But one of the differences between an adult and a grown up is the ability to employ critical thinking, common sense, and to make decisions that uphold, enforce, and prove the principles that for which you stand.

You would think that the administration of a high school would be able to differentiate between a clown costume and the uniform of a branch of our military.

You would think that the administration of a high school would be able to argue successfully, and with ease, against the likely "Why can't I wear my Hooters uniform? You let her wear a uniform!" argument.

You would think all of that and, if you're talking about the administration of the North Allegheny School District, you would apparently be wrong.

I hope the school district doesn't double down on stupidity and reverses its policy.

If you'd like to contact the Director of PR, please be courteous in doing so:

Ms. Joy Ed
Phone: (412) 369-5445
Email: jed@northallegheny.org

Kershaw For The Win!

I had several knife manufacturers on my list of booths to visit and the Kershaw booth was my last stop. I got lucky on the timing and the booth wasn't too crowded when I stopped to check it out. I spent some time chatting with Rob Abers about several of their product lines and he was very patient and friendly while fielding my questions. I liked three of them quite a bit and I wanted to buy all three. I settled on two and walked away a very satisfied customer.

Grant County (#3100):

This knife reminded me of the pocket knife my father always seemed to have on him. The steel had a very nice shine to it and the hardwood inlays were very classy. The parts had a very solid and tight fit and worked very smoothly. It felt like a very solidly machined tool.

Skinning Knife (#1080):

This knife grabbed my attention immediately. At 6 inches in length and with a blade that is almost 2.5 inches, it fills in a gap between my large fixed blades and my small folders. As I said in my ESEE knife review, I like that the orange grip doesn't yell MALL NINJA and that it blends in well with my other backpacking gear. At just over 2 ounces, it's fairly light, but still had a nice heft in my hand. One of these ended up talking it's way into my bag and I'm looking forward to getting it out in the woods!

Squaw Creek (#2150):

This was one small pocket knife! Only 2.5 inches long with a 2 inch blade, I asked to see almost as a joke but after holding it and opening it up, I realized how well manufactured it was. The rosewood inlay was very nicely fitted into the handle and the knife just looked smooth. It's a bit small for me to use but I think that it will make a very fine first knife for my son. I can't wait to give it to him!

I'd like to thank Rob Abers again for taking the time to go through quite a few knives and I'm very happy with both of the knives I purchased today.

(Note: Images from Kershaw's website)

FCC NOTE: Kershaw Knives did not pay for this review, though if they'd like me to really test some of the knives, send a few my way and I'd be happy to do so!

LuckyGunner Rocks

I was in the right place at the right time when Brian from LuckyGunner.com stopped by the media room at the convention. He joined me and several other bloggers for lunch and even picked up the tab! I chatted with him over some decent bbq about living in California, how he helped start LuckyGunner.com, and how I ended up in Pittsburgh. He had some entertaining stories and some interesting insights into some of the history behind the current state of affairs in this country.

Looking forward to the next time we bump into each other and ordering some ammo from them.

EM Gear and ESEE Knives

EM Gear had an awesome booth at the convention. I spoke at length with Dustin Worl about the ESEE knives they had on display. He was very knowledgeable about the knives and was very pleasant, answering all my questions and providing some interesting information.

Two of their knives really grabbed my attention and I'm very tempted to stop back and pick up one (or both!)

Their IZULA line was very interesting:

Weighing in at 2 ounces and having a blade almost 3 inches long, it looks like it would make a solid backup knife or be perfect to stash in a bag, glove compartment, bug-out bag, etc. They also sell scale grips that fit over the larger opening in the handle, but I think a paracord wrap would work better and look nicer as well. I've never had a neck knife before, but this one looks like one of the best ones I've seen as it's not bulky at all and even the sheath is fairly streamlined.

The ESEE-3 and ESEE-4 knives really grabbed my attention.

The ESEE-4 has a 4-inch blade and comes with several different blade colors and handle colors/materials. I'm quite partial to the orange G10 handle with OD green blade. May not scream "TACTICAL!!" but I think that's actually a selling point. I like to carry a fixed blade when I go backpacking and an orange grip blends in well with the color schemes of my backpacks. I played with a few of these models at the convention and I was very impressed with how well the retention was on the kydex sheath. It held the knife very well but gripping and pushing correctly let the knife pop out very easily.

I may have to pick one of these up!

FCC NOTE: Neither EM Gear nor ESSE Knives paid for this review, though if either of them want me to really test one of the knives, I'd be happy to do so!

I won't say I only have eyes for you, Alan

What a great night! The title, "I won't say I only have eyes for you, Alan" was a quote I overheard Weerd say to Alan. And I'm not positive but I think it went downhill from there.

It was very cool meeting some people for the first time and I doubt I'll remember all the names. Some of the ones I do remember:

JayG with his new camera, Breda with a pocketknife and a "mouthful of meat", ZerCool, Caleb, SayUncle, Bubblehead Les, Dennis, Weerd, Alan, MikeW, Laura and Chris. There were also several nice 1911s and a few revolvers being carried in some fine looking holsters.

I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of this weekend!

Let the Games Begin

Stopped by the convention center to pick up my media pass. There was a bit of a mix up with some of the registrations, but the ladies running the press office were on top of it and had me registered quickly and efficiently. The place was already rocking with hundreds of people already walking around. The general registration desk had 40 or 50 staff members and there was still a flurry of setup activity still going on.

BLACKHAWK! had a huge tour bus out front and there were quite a few folks sporting Team GLOCK shirts. Traffic downtown was heavier than normal and NRA passes were everywhere. Pittsburgh is going to make out pretty well with this convention!

Looking forward to wrapping things up here and heading over to meet SayUncle, JayG, WEERD, Breda, ZerCool, and whomever else shows up!