Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sharps: Neck-and-neck

The much-anticipated Bark River Bravo Necker was unveiled early Thursday evening.
Until 36 hours ago, the knife often had been referred to as "KSF Secret Project #3," owing to KnivesShipFree's involvement in its development. Over on KnifeForums, however, pretty much everyone knew (at least in a general sense) what was coming.

Considering the new Barkie's form and intended purpose, it's bound to draw comparisons to RAT Cutlery's justifiably popular Izula -- and so, to the best of my humble computer-graphics ability, I will, too.

Yes, they look similar, but the business end of the Bravo Necker is bare, satiny 12C27 stainless steel (the Izula is coated 1095 carbon steel) and convex-ground (vs. flat-ground). And the Bravo Necker was launched with an accompanying range of add-ons -- Micarta and G-10 handle slabs in a variety of colors, an optional leather sheath and firesteels that fit both the Kydex and leather rigs.

I'm gonna go on-record here and predict that Bark River and KnivesShipFree have hit a home run with the Bravo Necker. I won't know for sure how good it is 'til I have one in my hands, but I can't wait to give this newest member of the Bravo family a workout.

Regular KintlaLake Blog readers will recall, of course, that I rolled my own Bark River
necker rig recently, marrying a Little Creek to a Mini-Canadian leather sheath. How do the two knives compare?

As luck would have it, Bark River's Mike Stewart was kind enough to supply us with a side-by-side photo:
Even judging only by that picture, it's clear that these are entirely different tools. I think I can find a place for both neckers among my kit -- stay tuned.

Friday, October 30, 2009


One of the last steps in our household move is to make sure that our mail is forwarded to our new address. To that end, on Tuesday I instructed our local post office -- in writing, in person -- of the change.

Late yesterday I discovered that the USPS is doing precisely the opposite of what I asked it to do. It's taking all mail destined for our new address and forwarding it to our old address.

I trotted down to the post office first thing this morning and spoke with the supervisor, who dug out our change-of-address forms -- and sure enough, it was the post office's foulup, not mine. He promised to reverse the reversal immediately.

And if you're rolling your eyes at that tale of incompetence, consider this: Even though our mail is to be forwarded to an address in the same ZIP (within the same building, that is), it first has to be flagged, loaded onto a tractor-trailer and trucked 15 miles into Columbus, where yellow forwarding stickers will be affixed. Then it'll get trucked 15 miles back to the local post office, from which it'll be delivered to us.

Essentially, our mail will take two or three days to travel less than twenty feet.

With that kind of gross inefficiency, it's no wonder that the USPS is in dire straits.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sharps: EDC, within the rules

Good news -- our older spawn has been accepted to college, a small tech school in the northwest part of the state.

The bad news (other than the fact that we have to find a way to pay for it) is that the school's humorless "weapons" policy prohibits students from carrying knives with blades longer than two inches.

Oh, for cryin' out loud...

Since learning of the rule, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for useful folders that would comply. There aren't many, but I found two: the
Buck #425BK-9200 MiniBuck Lockback (MSRP $19, street $7 or less), and the Gerber #22-06050 Ultralight LST (MSRP $21, street $13 or less). The now-discontinued Buck is still widely available.

At first glance, the knives are similar -- both are lockbacks with 400-series stainless-steel drop-point blades and black plastic handles, and both are made in the USA. On closer examination, however, a few differences become apparent.

The Buck's uncoated blade is hollow-ground, while the Gerber features a flat grind and some sort of satiny coating. Even though the Gerber's blade is longer (2 inches versus the Buck's 1-7/8 inches) and broader, the Buck is the larger knife when closed. It's a bit of a fooler.

The MiniBuck's bigger handle makes it a bona fide three-finger knife, whereas the LST accommodates little more than two. The lockback releases are in different places -- Buck puts its lever farther toward the butt of the handle, presumably to lessen the chance of depressing it by accident.

Any difference in weight between the Gerber and the Buck, by the way, is negligible. Let's face it -- on knives this small, only a gram-counting geek (or maybe an astronaut) would care.

I won't get into which knife emerged from its box sharper (both edges are crude and need attention) or which is a better value. I mean, for less than 20 bucks you can buy both, try 'em out and decide for yourself.

I will say, for what it's worth, that I prefer the Gerber Ultralight LST. Maybe that's because I favor a flat grind over hollow, or because I've owned one of these little EDC gems since they first hit the market in the early 1980s.

The Buck is a perfectly fine choice as well. In fact, this particular MiniBuck is the knife that our spawn will be taking to college.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last night, a familiar sight

Former Buckeye Chris "Beanie" Wells, now a rookie running back for the Arizona Cardinals, scored his first NFL touchdown in last night's victory over the New York Giants.

Beanie's trademark stiff-arm -- perfected at Ohio State and delivered twice on yesterday's TD run -- is a thing of brutal beauty.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Since joining this "blended family" almost exactly four years ago, I've seen the inside of a hospital way too many times. Each trip typically involves an emergency room, one of our spawns and a long wait.

In just the last ten days, I've paid two more visits to local hospitals. I'd already put health-care facilities high on my list of the last places I want to be during the present flu outbreak, but actually being there was more disconcerting than I'd imagined.

A week ago Thursday. we brought our younger spawn to the metro children's hospital for a scheduled surgical procedure -- nothing major, just something that needed to be taken care of. After the procedure, he was to be admitted and monitored for several hours, then discharged.

The surgery went quickly and well, but when the time came to move him to a room with a bed, none were available. Even though arrangements had been made well in advance, suddenly there was no room at the medical inn.

Blame H1N1. Apparently, attending to "flu-like symptoms" trumps post-op babysitting. The spawn spent two hours on a gurney in a makeshift recovery room -- with excellent care from hospital staff, I might add -- before being moved to a bed for another five.

He's fine now, by the way, none the worse for the shuffle.

Seven days later, his older brother cut himself at school -- again not serious, but the wound would require a couple of stitches -- so it was off to an east-side hospital. I dropped him and his mother at the emergency-room entrance and went in search of a place to park.

Easier said than done -- the large, ER-only lot was packed like a mall on Black Friday. Vehicles were parked up on grassy dividers and in cross-hatched areas. I circled several times before a spot opened up.

Inside, the ER staging area resembled a scene out of a B-movie. Of the dozens of patients-in-waiting, few displayed obvious injuries but many were coughing or sneezing or clutching emesis bags. Several wore masks. Nearby, I was told, a separate waiting area held people exhibiting more severe symptoms.

Judging by conversations we overheard, some of these patients had been waiting five hours and still hadn't been seen by a doctor.

I'm no mysophobe, but simply walking through the door felt like volunteering to get sick. I didn't want to touch anything -- not a magazine, not the arms of the chair that I occupied, not even the hand-sanitizer dispensers on tables throughout the room.

We were in and out in a few hours, and I'm glad to say that we're still feeling ok.

Several of my friends and acquaintances have come down with the H1N1 "swine flu." A number of schools in the Columbus area have been shut down temporarily, and recently our local district sent warning letters to parents. I've seen media accounts of people lining up for vaccinations.

So yes, this whole flu thing already had my attention. Honestly, and for better or worse, I'm more concerned about public paranoia (read, "panic") than about the virus itself.

Those two hospital visits, however, raised my awareness of both.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Update: Installing a breakaway connector

Yesterday the postman brought a small box from Lighthound, one of my sources for lanyard supplies, containing the breakaway connectors I'd ordered the other day. It took me all of three minutes to add one of these little 75-cent gadgets to my Little Creek necker rig.

After snipping the fused joint out of the middle of the paracord lanyard, I threaded the cut ends through the two halves of the breakaway connector. I then poked at the ends to fray them, followed by a shot with a torch-type butane lighter and another poke (this time with a wet fingertip to prevent a blister) to "mushroom" the ends.

I let the melted paracord cool and harden before pulling it back into the connector halves. The mushrooms keep the cord ends from popping out.

The last step was to join the connector and yank-test it a few times. It works.

Although my original fused joint served as a reliable breakaway, I present this (arguably less elegant) alternative for those who'd rather go with an off-the-shelf solution. Without a doubt, the plastic connector is a much better (and much safer) choice for kids who are just learning how to work with paracord.

Earlier posts
Re-sheathing the Little Creek
Update: Little Creek necker

Bark River Little Creek (@KnifeForums)
Bark River Little Creek (@KSF)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Impressions: KSF Leather Horizon

As sheaths go, the KSF Leather Horizon is different.

The Horizon, handcrafted in Michigan by Sharpshooter Sheath Systems, is KnivesShipFree's innovative alternative to a conventional vertical-carry folder pouch. It's designed to ride horizontally, thus its name.

The Horizon can be slipped on without removing either knife or belt, although it does include slots through which an unfastened belt can be threaded. (More about that later.) The interior of the pouch is soft, finished leather, welcome news to pricey folders allergic to scratches.

I have the large version, which closes with a pair of nickel-plated brass snaps and can accommodate a folding knife as long as 4-3/4 inches. A smaller Horizon is available for knives up to 4 inches long and features a single snap.

As I'd expect from Sharpshooter and KSF, the Horizon is incredibly well made. It'd even be fair to call it overbuilt -- in cross-section, there are seven layers of hide in some places. It's a Sherman tank of a sheath.

One reason for the Horizon's unusually stout construction can be chalked up to putting finished leather on the interior, next to the knife. The rest may be due to Sharpshooter's trademark aversion to letting the flesh side show.

Wherever the rough stuff is visible on the Horizon, it has a purpose. While smooth leather is pampering the knife being carried, the nappy flesh side grips the belt like a pit bull. Sliding the Horizon around on the belt requires intent, or sometimes even unsnapping the flap.

Extracting the knife from the Horizon is easy -- with an index finger, flip the snaps to release the flap and the pouch lowers the knife into the other three fingers. After using the Horizon for a couple of weeks and then switching briefly to a vertical pouch, I actually got annoyed at having to pull a knife out to use it.

The large Horizon is, well, large. Generally I carry vertical sheaths at or slightly behind my right hip, but I quickly learned that this horizontal pouch, like a lead dog, wants to be in front. The closer it rode to my belt buckle, the happier it was (and the happier I was).

My next discovery was that on the jeans I wear most of the time, the big Horizon tended to hinder access to the right-hand front pocket. A belt loop prevented simply sliding the pouch toward my belt buckle.

No worries -- the Horizon's slots allowed me to thread my belt from the inside toward my waist, under the denim belt loop, back through the other slot and into the belt buckle.

Thus mounted, the Horizon rides like a very small, offset belly pack. Perfect -- and perfectly convenient.

As long as I'm on the subject of belts, I want to mention that the slots on my Horizon measure 1-3/16 inches. That happened to be the perfect size for my favorite pants-holder-upper, a 24-year-old leather belt handmade in Arkansas.

The slots were too small, however, for my new Arborwear nylon web belt, which is 1-1/2 inches wide. The good news is that I can still wear the Horizon by slipping the flap underneath the webbing (between the belt and the waistband of my pants), folding it over and snapping it closed.

I love smart designs.

And that's what the KSF Leather Horizon is -- very well thought out. It's a cool concept that's executed soundly. In fact,
I enjoy carrying my SOG Tomcat 3.0 in the big Horizon so much that I'm considering picking up the smaller version for my Leatherman Wave multi-tool.

I just can't get enough of a cool thing.

Earlier posts
Horizontal property
Impressions: KSF Leather Holt

KSF Leather
Sharpshooter Sheath Systems

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The strong pull of Home

One of Mrs. KintlaLake's friends e-mailed her a link to a video yesterday. Because we'd spent our afternoon and early-evening hours at the emergency room (our older spawn cut his finger in auto shop and required stitches), she didn't get to it until just before bedtime.

She was at her desk in our basement office and I was across the room at my computer. I heard music and asked her what it was.

"Come watch," she said with a catch in her voice. I walked over and stood next to her. This is what unfolded on the screen.

When the slide show had finished playing, I saw that my wife was crying. I put my hand on her shoulder.

"You ok?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine...wasn't that beautiful?"

We made our way upstairs and got ready for bed. Tears continued to roll down her face.

"What is it, hon'?"

She paused for a moment, then spoke through the emotions welling up inside her. "I guess I miss it more than I thought I did."

"Of course you do," I said, knowing what she was feeling. "It's home."

Neither of us is truly home these days. We live in someone else's house, in a town we've adopted out of circumstance and necessity.

My own hometown is a hundred miles to the north and east, but at least I can say that I live in the state in which I was born. My wife's childhood home -- Morgantown, West Virginia -- is a few hours away, and we don't get over that direction very often.

We need to fix that. After watching her reaction to those images and that music, it's clear that Mrs. KintlaLake is feeling the strong pull of Home -- memories of places and people and moments that created her, sustain her, ground her.

Soon, I think, we'll pile into the truck and head east toward her touchstone -- Home.
This old world is a mystery,
But there's one thing I know:
This is my Home. (Larry Groce)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anniversary ramble

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of a good decision.

It will have been 365 days since a personal financial squeeze forced my choice to unload two high-performance cars, both of which I loved dearly, in favor of a used SUV. In the bargain, I skittered out from under a pair of payments and pocketed a bit of cash.

The move didn't prevent demise -- perhaps it didn't even postpone the inevitable -- but in hindsight it still was the wisest thing I could've done.

I've now spent a year with my positively ordinary white 2005 Chevy TrailBlazer LS. It's been (knock wood) virtually trouble-free over 8,000 miles, achieved respectable (if not stellar)
fuel economy, proved remarkably capable in winter weather and was invaluable during our household move. In other words, it's a keeper.

Aside from adding a
CB radio and antenna, plus a K&N air-filter element, I've made no modifications. The rest of the tweaks that I proposed in an earlier post have been deferred due to lack of funds more than anything else, but eventually I hope to make a few more changes. We'll see what the next year brings -- as it sits today, though, I'm more than satisfied with the vehicle.

Yesterday, taking final advantage of a bumper-to-bumper warranty that expires tomorrow, I brought the TrailBlazer to my local Chevy dealer. The parts required to fix a balky HVAC fan switch were in stock (wonder of wonders), so I ended up drinking bad coffee and wandering around for two hours while repairs were made.

It's a big dealership, by the way, founded in the 1950s, with two showrooms and a 24-bay service department. A row of pole buildings at the back of the property houses the owner's stunning collection of classic and noteworthy GM vehicles, along with related ephemera.

Impressive as the place is, everywhere are signs that the faltering American auto industry has had a brutal impact close to home.

Along the windows in the front of the main showroom are a dozen sales desks -- eight of them were bare, dust-covered and unoccupied yesterday. I looked into the financing office, a bullpen of cubicles once abuzz with deals in the making, to find it empty and dark.

Strolling over to the other side of the dealership, I ran into the guy who sold me the TrailBlazer. Ever the optimist, he told me that he'd had a good summer. His tone grew softer and less positive, however, when he revealed that twenty days into this month his entire showroom had delivered only one vehicle -- and a used one, at that.

We shook hands and I walked back toward the service department to claim my TrailBlazer, remembering that the
plant that built it closed last December.

I can't be dispassionate about this. It may be the expected residue of capitalism, the natural ebb and flow of business, but the images in my head tear at my heart.

These are my neighbors.

As a consumer, there's nothing I can do to change what's happening. Engaging in isolationism or boycotts or symbolic gestures, whether individually or collectively, can't save an industry. It certainly won't repair an economic system that's fundamentally broken.

All I can do, really, is make good decisions -- yes, like the one I made when I bought that TrailBlazer -- and be aware of the effects.

It's not a zero-sum game, not by a long shot, but I am guided by this principle: My family comes first, my community second.

The balance, it seems to me, is beyond both my grasp and my control. I'll continue to keep my focus -- and my business, as much as I possibly can -- close to home.

Update: Little Creek necker

Ordinarily I don't cultivate a lot of crosstalk between KintlaLake Blog and its corresponding Facebook page, but today I'm going to make an exception. My previous post generated this comment:
"I would never carry 550 [para]cord wrapped around my neck. Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. ... It's an easy way to strangle yourself if it ever gets caught on something."
The reader makes an excellent point. What he didn't know (because I didn't explain it) is that I fused the ends of the paracord with a torch-type butane lighter (rather than tying a knot) specifically to avoid the unpleasant outcome he described.

It's possible to fuse a very strong joint, practically as stout as uncut cord, but that'd be a colossally bad idea for a neck lanyard. Done right, however -- and it takes practice -- a carefully fused joint holds fast under normal use but acts like a breakaway for safety's sake.

An alternative to fusing or knotting, of course, is a breakaway connector. This morning I ordered a handful of these inexpensive plastic gizmos, and in a future post I'll talk about installing them.

Now, having said all that, a neck lanyard isn't a wear-it-all-the-time proposition -- breakaway or no breakaway.

A hunter probably wouldn't don a necker, for example, until the hunt was done and it was time to field-dress his kill -- and then he'd slip the rig back into a pocket before packing out. I might wear my Little Creek around my neck in camp, but not while hiking or climbing.

And so on. It's simply a matter of being smart about it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sharps: Re-sheathing the Little Creek

From the moment that I first picked up my Bark River Knives Little Creek last month, I've fancied it a candidate for neck carry. The bushcraft-style sheath supplied with the knife, however, wasn't quite what I had in mind.

While cruising about on KnifeForums the other day, I spotted a second-hand Bark River sheath for sale, one originally intended for a Mini Canadian. I did some eyeballing and cyber-measuring and, figuring that $10 was a modest price for an experiment, I bought it.

The sheath arrived from its previous owner in Texas in yesterday's mail. To my delight, it turned out to be an absolutely perfect fit for the Little Creek, so this morning I tackled the question of whether or not I could turn the combination into a decent necker.

I threaded a three-foot length of ACU gray paracord through two of the sheath's eyelets and then through a double-feed cord lock. The cord lock will allow adjustment of the rig's "ride height."

On the back of the sheath, I crossed the cord under the belt loop (for stability) and fused* the ends rather than knotting them. The joint is hidden under the belt loop.

The result, I'm pleased to say, is a near-ideal neck rig. It balances well, rides flat and doesn't insist on twisting when I lean over and the sheath dangles away from my chest.

Best of all, in my opinion, the centerpiece of this mixed-and-matched setup is one dandy little knife. Ten bucks and five minutes simply gave me a new reason to look forward to carrying it.

*See update here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Horizontal property

Pockets are good.

In the EDC game, more pockets are better. But as much as I love pockets, I tend to hang a lot of my everyday-carry items on my belt.

My cell phone, encased in a protective Body Glove, rides just forward of my right hip. An oh-so-handy Nite Ize S-Biner corrals a wad of keys and fobs and dangles from a belt loop. Depending on the day's destination and purpose, occasionally I'll make room for a sheath holding a small fixed-blade or a multi-tool.

Belt carry is convenient, sure, but some days my waistline looks positively tactical. I really don't need to add anything else to this already-crowded piece of real estate.

That said, I have.

Early each morning, my first chore is to take two dogs on a "business trip" -- attach their leashes to their collars, walk them to the edge of the yard, clip their tie-outs, unclip their leashes...wait...then reverse the process and return the critters to their crates.

This time of year I perform that ritual well before dawn. Despite outside lighting, I'm clipping and unclipping in shadows, a two-handed task which is neither easy nor certain. Yesterday I began bringing some illumination of my own, in the form of a compact LED squeeze-light.

Hanging from my S-Biner, the LED light gets squeezed on before I leave the house. It puts a just-right spot of bluish light at my feet, leaving both hands free for tethering.

It's simple and it works. It won't be long before the mornings will be colder and a heavier coat will cover my waist, though, so at that point the LED light will leave my belt and become a zipper pull.

The second addition to my belt-carry arsenal, a
KSF Leather Horizon, has involved more of a commitment on my part. Because the large version of this folder pouch occupies over six linear inches of belt space, it's required me to re-think and re-arrange my scheme.

I've been toting my SOG Tomcat 3.0 in the Horizon for about a week. Rather than offer a full review here and now (I expect to do that later), I'll say simply that I'm really getting to like the big Horizon. It's like no sheath I've ever carried.

Innovation is, often by definition, unconventional, so it should be no surprise that adding the Horizon would be an exercise in adapting. I have no problem with that, of course, especially when it allows me to carry my favorite big folder in a way I hadn't imagined.

In short, the Horizon is cool. Give me another week to settle my system and I'll say a bit more than that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Principal folly

Angelina Bergin, principal of Lansingburgh High School in Troy, New York, recently was awarded a Doctorate in Education.

Seems the Doctoral program in Common Sense was all booked up.

Matthew Whalen is a senior at Lansingburgh High. The 17-year-old is an Eagle Scout, honored by the Boy Scouts of America for saving a life. Last summer he completed ten weeks of basic military training. He wants to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Whalen also takes personal preparedness seriously, stocking his car with a survival kit that includes a sleeping bag, water, MREs and a knife given to him by his grandfather, who happens to be a local police chief.

Unfortunately, the Lansingburgh School District has one of those zero-common-sense rules -- masquerading as a "zero-tolerance," anti-violence policy that prohibits students from bringing "weapons" to school -- and Whalen was slapped with a 20-day suspension for keeping a two-inch pocketknife in his car.

So, "Dr." Bergin, did you teach the young "offender" a lesson?

This case study in administrative idiocy is reminiscent of another story that's been making headlines lately. Six-year-old Cub Scout Zachary Christie was sentenced to 45 days in his Delaware district’s reform school for bringing a knife-fork-spoon tool to school.

While Christie's penalty (subsequently rescinded) was the fruit of the same foolish tree, that child's "infraction" was born of innocence. Whalen's "violation," however, was the product of acute and sensible awareness -- and he was punished for his common sense. It solved a problem that didn't exist and sends the wrong message to youth in Troy and far beyond.

Credit the young man for not protesting his suspension: "I don't know what I could do, because technically I did break the rules, and I'll accept that punishment. Perhaps I should have been more aware of the rules."

That freshly minted sheepskin hanging on your wall, "Dr." Bergin, isn't worth the ink it took to print it. You may have your degree and your misbegotten rules, but Matthew Whalen -- smart, mature, sensible and prepared -- just took you to school.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't take yesterday's morning walk in our nearby common space. It happened at a local wildlife refuge, the site of my "Sunrise Sojourn" last spring.

Since the area is part of Central Ohio's
Metro Parks system, my leisurely trek hardly qualifies me for a bushcraft merit badge. All the same, it's a wilder place.

At one point, five whitetails burst from the tall grass scarcely 20 yards in front of me. Later, just ten feet to my right, a red fox pounced, missed, saw me and disappeared.

Herons glided overhead without making a sound. Migrating geese and ascending KC-135s, on the other hand, were less reserved.

A friend and former colleague of mine, a helluva photographer who left Ohio recently for a warmer clime, saw my images and commented that he prefers to watch our changing seasons from afar. I get that.

Since he's a shooter himself, however, he also appreciates the challenge of entering a landscape of tall, dry grass, seemingly devoid of color, and the rewards of getting close.

He knows that delight is in the details.

Enjoy the beach, old friend, because it was damned chilly out on the marshes yesterday. I'll stay put, thanks -- I love this time of year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back at it

Our new digs -- aka "home" -- are working out fine these days. Our surroundings are comfortable, but being thrust into suburbia has exacted a price.

I miss the country.

The cornfield and tumbledown farm buildings framed by our former home's front windows have been replaced by a front-row view of a cul-de-sac. Tinkling dime-store wind chimes hanging above the deck are no substitute for the whisper of wind in the pines.

There is, however, an unexpected benefit of living in this planned, association-governed community -- it's called "common space."

Just a few steps from our back door is a trail than winds behind the development's back yards. The paved path follows a small creek, on the opposite side of which is a sliver of woodland -- hardwoods, mostly, tall trees that only within the last week have hinted that fall has arrived.

I've taken to escaping there whenever I can, enjoying something that wasn't available to me at our previous home, at least not without trespassing or making a short drive.

This morning's walk brought me the gurgle of water, the rustle of wrens and a close encounter of the chipmunk kind. I wandered off the path to hear the crunch of dried leaves under my boots, visiting the musty aroma of the October woods.

On my belt I toted a recent acquisition -- yes, there's another Barkie in the house, this time a Mini-North Star, a compact spear-point knife designed for everyday carry rather than full-on bushcraft.

I like the Mini-North Star a lot. It's light and nimble, a helluva slicer with a 12C27 stainless-steel blade. Time will tell, but right now I'm thinking that this is the EDC fixed-blade I've been looking for.

Emerging from my hour in the woods (such as the woods are for me lately), I re-enter a world of relative civilization and, worse, inescapable disinformation.

Shameless opponents of an upcoming ballot measure that'd allow casino gambling in Ohio continue to spew their lies. The health-care debate -- or, more accurately, the health-insurance debate -- is full of political posturing which will, in the end, change nothing. While financial pundits crow about the markets rebounding from their March lows, I find myself wondering if they know the difference between growth and volatility.

On the bright side, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear McDonald v. Chicago, another landmark Second Amendment case.

It's the world in which I live, giving me yet more reasons to be glad for the uncommon relief of common space.