Category Archives: Manly Arts

Rule Five Love Hotel Friday

Note:  Another short stint in Japan beckons, beginning early next month.  Regular readers know how Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. enjoy our forays in to the Land of the Rising Sun, so look for some photos and travel commentary from those environs very soon.

With that said, and in spite of the tendency of young Japanese to eschew sexual relationships, the love hotel industry in Japan is still robust.  Excerpt:

Japan’s population is shrinking.

Deaths now outpace births, marriage is plummeting, and young people aren’t having sex. The media are calling it sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome”—an alarming trend that has the Japanese government funneling tax dollars into speed dating and matchmaking services over fears of an impending economic collapse.

But in a neon-lit pocket of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, BDSM equipment, mirrored ceilings, vibrating beds, and condom vending machines paint a different reality. Welcome to Love Hotel Hill, where Japan’s sex industry is flourishing.

Clandestine Encounters

True to their moniker, pay-by-the-hour love hotels cater to millions of Japanese couples every year, and increasingly, tourists. There are more than 30,000 love hotels in the country, and hundreds in Tokyo alone—a multibillion-dollar business that accounts for a quarter of the sex industry.

With increasing life expectancies, the rising age of marriage, and high population density, multigenerational households are ubiquitous. When married couples live in close quarters with elderly parents and children, love hotels offer a practical alternative to thin-walled Japanese homes where privacy is scarce.

Oddly, this isn’t a sign of any renewed fecundity:

Japan’s love hotel industry may be prospering, but the country is experiencing a paradoxical decline in marriage, childbirth, and sex.

More than 40 percent of men and women aged 18-34 in Japan have never had sex, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. If the current trend continues, it is projected that by 2060 Japan’s population will have shrunk by 30 percent—an impending economic disaster.

But in the midst of a stagnant economy, staying single has become an attractive choice.

Now, this next stint will have us in the Tokyo region for 2-3 weeks, where a visit to the Shibuya district is not only possible but likely.  Since our first visit to that country in 2009, I have (unsuccessfully) tried to persuade my own dear Mrs. Animal to undertake a visit to a love hotel, of course strictly in the name of research; you see, True Believers, how there are no lengths to which I will not go to bring you the best reporting on other cultures and the wonders to be found in exotic lands.

However, Mrs. Animal has been and remains of a conservative bent in such matters, and prefers to eschew any role in conducting such research.  Oh well.

Anyway:  I do love Japan and the Japanese people’s demographic trends has been a cause for concern.  As scribe Mark Steyn points out, the future belongs to those who show up for it, and the Japanese seem to have opted out.  What’s more, Japan has evidently decided to die Japanese.  While Europe has become a hotbed of Islamic activism thanks to their unchecked immigration policies – in no small part to attract younger workers to prop up their generous social welfare programs – Japan remains a difficult country to establish yourself in on a long-term basis.

But the love hotel industry gives one hope.  Maybe young Japanese people will rediscover the joys of sex.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Housekeeping note:  I’m finishing up this Silicon Valley project on this coming Friday. Mrs. Animal and I are taking the scenic route home to Colorado, so I’ll put up some gratuitous totty posts Monday through Wednesday of next week.  Expect travel reports on Thursday, probably with photos.

Moving on:  How Many Guns Are Too Many?  Several answers are possible.  Excerpt:

Guns are not “basically all the same,” and now that I am an instructor, a competitive shooter and a vocal 2nd Amendment supporter, my views on firearms — and the amounts that one should or should not have — are much different than they used to be. It seems that Americans’ views may have changed a bit, as well. A 2017 Harvard/Northwestern University joint study estimated that our country’s 319 million citizens currently own about 265 million guns. And while in 1994, the “typical gun-owning household” owned 4.2 guns, in 2015, The Washington Post revealed that this average number of firearms owned has nearly doubled to 8.1 guns per household. And that trend has only gone up since! (On a side note: How many of you are now thinking: “I guess I am not a typical gun-owning household!”?)

From 1911s and guns just for show to shotguns and ARs and guns on the go, there are so many different firearms out there … and just as many different reasons to have them. So when a friend recently posed the question: “How many firearms is considered ‘too many?,’” it reminded me of how far I’ve come. And it got me thinking about possible answers to this intriguing topic.

I’ve been asked this question a number of times.  As with many things, the manner in which the question is asked affects the answer.

Some people are genuinely curious, and my answer then is “I do not accept the premise that there is such a thing as too many guns.  If you ask how many I want to own, the answer is ‘all the ones I have now, the ones I still want, and maybe a few more.'”

Some people are fellow gun aficionados, and are more likely to ask how many more I want, likewise knowing as I do that there is no such thing as too many.  To them my answer may be fairly detailed, going into such things as how I have 12 and 16 gauge examples of both the pre-64 Winchester Model 12 and the Browning Auto-5 but still need 20-gauge examples of each.

Some people ask in an aggressive and petulant demand for justification of my hobby.  My answer to them is “fuck off.”

Your mileage may vary.  But it’s an interesting discussion point all the same.

Rule Five Manly Arts Friday

Manliness, as defined by strength, confidence, self-reliance, courage and honor, seems to be an increasingly rare trait in the Western nations today, our own republic among them.  I am inclined to think that this seeming lack is only an illusion, as the rise of PC culture has drowned out the actions and words of such men who, generally, see no need to blow their own horns.  The Old Man is one such; a man of few words but enormous presence, a small man physically but a giant in character, a man of great courage, honor, determination, confidence and self-reliance.  America has millions like him, and we’re better for it.

But while they may be men of few words, there are nonetheless quite a few relevant quotes on the meaning of manliness that are worth considering.  A while back I was perusing the site The Art of Manliness, and stumbled across an article presenting 80+ Quotes on Men and Manhood.   Some of my personal heroes are represented in that article, Winston Churchill, George Patton and Theodore Roosevelt among them, so I’ll produce some of my favorites here.  Hopefully the males among all you True Believers will find them inspiring, as I have.  For that matter, some of the ladies may as well.  Enjoy.

“A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.  – Winston Churchill

“We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity, for he is not permitted to prove himself.”  – Seneca

“Private and public life are subject to the same rules—truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better than policy or tact of expediency or other words that were devised to conceal a deviation from a straight line.” –Robert E. Lee

“The way of a superior man is three-fold: virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.” –Confucius

“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood.  We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shirking the rough work that must always be done.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

“The lesson taught at this point by human experience is simply this, that the men who will get up will be helped up; and the man who will not get up will be allowed to stay down.  Personal independence is a virtue and it is the soul out of which comes the sturdiest manhood.  But there can be no independence without a large share of self-dependence, and this virtue cannot be bestowed.  It must be developed from within.”  – Frederick Douglass

“Duty is the essence of manhood.”  – George Patton

“Stand true to your calling to be a man. Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men.” –Elisabeth Elliott

“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.” –Camille Paglia

“Adversity toughens manhood, and the characteristic of the good or the great man is not that he has been exempt from the evils of life, but that he has surmounted them.” –Patrick Henry

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a God.” – William Shakespeare

Which is your favorite?  Anyone have any to add?

Animal’s Daily Big-Bore News

A cartridge that is overkill in a handgun is perfectly manageable in a rifle, even a carbine; that brings us to the Ruger Gunsite Scout in .450 Bushmaster.  Excerpt:

The .450 Bushmaster is one of three “thumper” rounds most commonly chambered in the AR-15 platform (the .458 SOCOM and the .50 Beowulf complete the trio). The quest for the perfect AR-15 cartridge is ongoing, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from implementing these powerful rounds in other platforms.

Ruger currently offers two models chambered in .450 Bushmaster: an iteration of their American Ranch series and the one I tested, the Gunsite Scout.

If you’re unfamiliar with the .450 Bushmaster, you’re not alone. It’s a relatively new cartridge, and not many companies manufacture the round or produce rifles that fire it. But as hog hunting grows in popularity, the .450 Bushmaster is well-positioned to grow right along with it.

I’ve been intrigued by the Ruger Scout concept for quite a while, and have been thinking of picking up one in .308.   But the idea of the thumpin’ .450 Bushmaster kicks my curiosity up a notch.

I can not, however, agree with the tag line of the article: If You Could Only Own One Rifle.  In the first place, I can’t see owning only one rifle, but I’m an inveterate pack rat, and could easily see how someone who would prefer to have a gun for all seasons – the Old Man harbors those sorts of tendencies.  But were I limited to one rifle, I’d happily hang on to my own Thunder Speaker; the .338 Win Mag is an order of magnitude more powerful than the .450 Bushmaster, and Thunder Speaker has killed game at greater ranges than the .450 will easily handle.

Thunder Speaker and a Colorado mulie, taken at 280 long paces

As for a short range bullwhacker, the Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70 fills that bill pretty damned admirably.

But there’s a lot to be said for this new development from Ruger.  From the days when old Bill ran the show, Ruger has been an innovator.  From the original Standard Auto to the Gunsite Scout, Ruger has produced a constant stream of high-quality firearms, generally based on a good idea taken to the next level – like how the original Blackhawk took the ancient single-action revolver and filled it with late 20th century guts.

The Ruger .450 Scout is another neat idea.  I have other rifles that will do any of the things that this Scout was made for, but that’s neither here nor there; just because I don’t need another gun doesn’t need I don’t want another gun.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as usual to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller has an Outdoors section where they regularly review guns and gear, which is a nice feature; recently they reviewed the S&W X-frame .500 S&W.

Holy shit.  Excerpt:

A few short years ago one of my best friends and I were enjoying some incredible fishing on the Naknek River in Alaska. Those big king salmon could burn off line and give anglers some heart-pounding action. Steve, my fishing and deer hunting buddy and I were in the middle of some of the best fishing you could possibly find. There were only two annoying factors bothering us—black flies and brown bears.

We could deter the black flies with our cigars most of the time. The bears on the other hand were a different matter. Frequently bears would roam around camp so you had to constantly be on the lookout when cleaning fish or attending to other chores. We were continually looking over our shoulder when wading along a tributary dumping into the river. Tracks were everywhere and we weren’t the only ones fishing the area. We are headed back to Alaska this year, fishing the same waters as before, only this time I will be carrying a peace-of-mind insurance policy—the S&W 500.

Here’s the part that caught my attention:

The revolver tips the scales a shade over 56 ounces when empty and the weight comes in handy when shooting high-octane loads.

The 25-5, in the middle.

That’s three and a half pounds, True Believers, for a five-shot revolver.  That’s a full pound heavier than my N-frame 25-5, which carries six rounds of .45 Colt.  My favored load for my Smith, as noted the other day, will blast a fist-sized chunk of wood chips out of the far side of  railroad tie – that’s plenty of power for most handgun work.

I don’t get this whole mega-handgun craze.  A sidearm should be just that, a sidearm, something that can be conveniently and unobtrusively packed around all day through the normal range of outdoor activities.  Monster handguns don’t really fit that bill, at least for someone of my not-inconsiderable stature.  Some years back I had a .44 Magnum Desert Eagle and played around with it for a while, but I didn’t much care for it; too much flash and bang for the added power over the .45 Colt, and it was far too heavy to be easily packed around.  I haven’t fired one of the mega-Smiths, but I suspect the same would prove true.

If you are in big bear country and need the kind of power one of the major-league Alaska bruins merits, carry a rifle or a pump shotgun stoked with hard-cast slugs.  You’ll be a lot better protected, and if you’re going to carry a firearm that will be inconvenient and in your way while fishing, you may as well go all the way.

 

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Let’s talk about gunbelts and holsters for outdoor work.  No concealed-carry stuff here – let’s discuss rigs for carrying a heavy, powerful belt gun for serious work.

But before we do that, let’s talk about the gun.

While I favor my Glock 36 for everyday concealed carry, for outdoor work I like a big-bore wheelgun.  When woods-bumming, I usually have either my S&W 25-5 or my Ruger Vaquero, both in .45 Colt.  If I take it in my head to carry a semi-auto, it’s either the 1911 or the Glock 21, both (obviously) .45 ACPs.  In the revolvers I like 8 grains of Unique behind a Lasercast 250-grain hard-cast flat point.  That load will blow through a railroad tie and knock a big handful of splinters out the far side, and will easily lengthwise a big mulie or a cow elk.

For the .45 ACP I like the 200 grain Lasercast semi-wadcutter.  Like most Glocks, my 21 will feed almost anything; the 1911 is a little fussier but will feed SWCs fine with a good magazine.  I use Kimber magazines, and the 1911 will feed empty cases with those.

The gun belt and holster should be comfortable and solid.  Choice of material is up to the shooter; some like nylon web belts and holsters, and there is certainly nothing wrong with such a rig; I’ve used many myself.  But it’s hard to beat good leather.  Heavy harness leather should be used in the belt, and good stout bullhide in the holster.  A heavy leather rig will start out very stiff, but wear and the application of a softening oil, like neatsfoot oil,  will soon make the rig softer and more wearable.

For my belt guns, I like the America’s Gun Store #110 Wyoming Drop belt with the #114 Cheyenne holster, which rig hangs the but of the gun at about wrist height when your arms are hanging naturally.  I find this near perfect for being able to get the gun into action quickly; as long as you use the leg tie down to hold the holster in place, you can wipe off the holster’s hammer loop with the shooting hand’s thumb just as your fingers wrap around the grip.  Train yourself to keep your finger off the trigger while drawing; cock the single-action or start the double-action pull after you have cleared leather and are already pushing the muzzle of the piece towards the target.

Lots of folks like the Threepersons holster as well, and the same statements apply.

If your stomping grounds tend to be wet and snowy/rainy, like the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, Great America’s also makes their very nice K #17 flap holster, which keeps weather off the gun but makes it take longer to bring the piece to bear.

Whichever rig you choose, keep it clean (saddle soap and water) and softened, and it will give many, many years of solid service.

Rule Five Man Test Friday

On the Friday of this Memorial Day weekend during which we commemorate fallen heroes, and due to the current upswing in appearances of Beta Males, I’ve decided to re-run the classic Animal Man Test.   Are you an Alpha Male?  Take the test and find out.  Count one for every point you can answer in the affirmative; your total score is, well, your total score.  Grading is at the end.  Feel free to post your results in the comments.

Personal Hygiene
1. I use soap in the shower. A bar of soap.
2. I do not use body washes.
3. I do not trim or pluck my eyebrows.
4. I do not get manicures.
5. I do not put any lotions, oils, balms or creams on my body unless there is some purpose either medicinal or sexual.
6. I have a “haircut,” not a “hair style.”
7. I can wash my hair with soap and a washcloth.
8. I do not wear cologne. Perfume is for girls. Aftershave is acceptable, as long as it’s Old Spice.
9. I can go from ‘asleep’ to ‘ready to leave for work/movie/date’ in under fifteen minutes.

Personal Style
10. I own a pair of cowboy boots or engineer boots.
11. I own more than one pair of cowboy boots and/or engineer boots.
12. I own a cowboy hat.
13. I own more than one cowboy hat.
14. I own more than one cap with a logo from either a car company, heavy equipment manufacturer, or an agricultural supplier.
15. I do not use an umbrella. If it rains, I have caps and hats.
16. I know the difference between a cap and a hat.
17. I own a leather jacket.
18. I own a black leather jacket.
19. I have scars.
20. I have scars that I brag about.
21. I have scars from gunshot wounds.
22. I carry a pocketknife.
23. I hang stuff on my belt.

Driving
24. I can drive a manual transmission.
25. I can drive a motorcycle.
26. I can drive a commercial truck.
27. I can operate almost any vehicle on two, four or more wheels, from a motorbike to a five-ton truck.
28. I can operate tracked machinery (i.e. Caterpillar.)
29. I can operate a light airplane.
30. I own a truck.
31. I own a four-wheel drive truck.
32. My truck has branch scrapes and rock chips. Lots of them.
33. I carry jumper cables in my truck.
34. I carry a high-lift jack in my truck.
35. I carry a tow strap in my truck.
36. I carry an axe in my truck.
37. I carry a gun in my truck.

Outdoors
38. I can navigate with map and compass.
39. I can navigate by orienteering.
40. I can run a chainsaw.
41. I can start a fire without match or lighter.
42. I am proficient with a pistol
43. I am proficient with a rifle.
44. I am proficient with a shotgun.
45. I can make improvised traps.
46. I can capture, kill, prepare and cook wildlife.
47. I can catch fish with purchased fishing tackle.
48. I can catch fish with fishing tackle improvised from materials obtained in the wild.
49. I can build an improvised shelter with materials obtained in the wild.

Entertainment
50. I do not see “chick” movies unless there is a chance that I might get sex afterwards by so doing.
51. John Wayne is, very nearly, a deity.
52. I love Westerns. Especially John Wayne Westerns.
53. I enjoy movies that feature:
•    Hot vampire chicks in black leather.
•    Hot any kind of chicks in black leather.
•    Hot any kind of chicks.
•    Killer androids.
•    Killer aliens.
•    Zombies.
•    Hot vampire android alien zombie chicks.
54. Tom Cruise is the result of a Communist plot to demoralize America by subjecting us to crappy acting.

Food
55. Vegetarian, my ass. Give me a steak.
56. The four major food groups are: Steak, pizza, beer and cheeseburgers.
57. Real men eat any damn thing they want.
58. I love bacon with near-religious passion.
59. All foods should be served with home fries and/or corn bread.
60. Everything’s better with Tabasco.
Scoring:

Total up the number of question you can honestly answer “yes.”
55+ – You’re a manly man in the manliest form.

50+ – Your testosterone level is normal, but you’re not blowing up anyone’s skirts.

< 50 – Oh, for crying out loud, cowboy up already.

Notes on my own score:
Of course I scored 60/60, I wrote the test.
5. Trust me, you do not want to know.
14. Mine include Ford, CAT Diesel Power, J&W Meat Processing and Pioneer Seed.
21. Yes, I really do.
29. I can, but it’s been a long time. A looooonnnng time.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

I never receive any fiscal recompense for any products I talk about in these virtual pages; hell, I never receive any fiscal recompense for anything I do here, except for selling the odd book here and there.  I do this for fun, for my own amusement, and to occasionally spark some discussion or (hopefully) make someone think a new way about an old issue.  So, when I endorse any commercial product, it’s because I use that product myself and think it’s great.

Being the sort of guy who loves the outdoors, robust living and The Manly Arts, for decades now I’ve stuck to my tested and true Carhartt jeans.  They are stout, sturdy, rugged and fit me pretty well.

But just recently, I’ve changed my mind.  I still advocate Carhartt clothing in general, including their jeans, but I’ve found a new jeans maker that supports my preferences (and my somewhat expanded, late-middle-age body) better and more comfortably.  That new jeans maker, of course, being Duluth Trading Company.

I recently bought a pair of their Men’s Ballroom 5-Pocket Jeans.  These things are great!  The name “Ballroom” derives from the extra gusset sewn into the jeans right where the denim meets your nether regions; it adds a little space in precisely the right spot, greatly increasing comfort and flexibility.

There’s more.  These jeans’ waistband is lined with stout canvas; the front pockets are heavy canvas as well.  The hem of the pants legs are likewise lined with canvas.  The denim is heavy, strong and tightly triple-stitched at the seams.  The fly zipper would not be out of place on a big canvas wall tent.

These jeans are comfortable, durable and tough.  I’ve found a new brand.  I’ll be trying more of their products as time goes on; I think next I’ll try the Men’s Free Swingin’ Flannel shirt.  I’m a big fan of flannel shirts for cool weather – flannel is, after all, America’s fabric – and these look like good ones.

Also, Duluth Trading’s commercials are even entertaining!  Give ’em a look, True Believers.  This is some good tough stuff.

I’m a Lumberjack…

Over at The Daley Gator, blogger pal Doug Hagin had an article (rightly) criticizing Bill Nye, the engineer who pretends to be a science guy; but the thing that jumped out at me was this photo.

I commented:  Regarding Lumberjack Guy above – look at those soft white hands! This gomer has never been near an axe or chainsaw in his life. The “outdoor” setting is probably at the edge of the parking lot for the photography studio.

We see plenty of these types around now; flannel and neck-beards have suddenly become popular among Millennial townies.  What will it be next – camouflage and Confederate flags?

Hey, everyone has the right to wear what they like.  I tend towards boots and my big gus-crown cowboy hats, even when bumming around town.  Now I grew up in a rural setting, and have run many a chainsaw and axe in my life – still do, from time to time.

But I can’t help looking down my nose a little bit at douchebaggery like that exhibited by the guy illustrated at top.  Wearing flannel and a neckbeard doesn’t make you manly.

Doing manly things, practicing the Manly Arts – that does.