Category Archives: Manly Arts

Rule Five Persistence Hunting Friday

It’s something of a shibboleth among some casual students of early humanity that early people were persistence hunters; that is, they ran their prey to ground.  As evidence these folks point out some traits humans have that most mammals don’t, like developed gluteal muscles, long legs with thick Achilles tendons and, not least of all, using sweating instead of panting to cool off during exertion or in hot weather.

But now it turns out that might be utterly wrong.  Excerpt:

The theory that persistence hunting played a crucial part in the evolution of man was first suggested in 1984 by David Carrier, who at the time was a doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Carrier’s idea was based on the observation that man is one of the only mammals that cools itself by sweating. Most four-legged mammals pant to cast off heat, which doesn’t work nearly as well when running. Carrier concluded that if our early human ancestors could chase an animal long enough, the animal would overheat and collapse with heat exhaustion, and the humans could step up and dispatch it easily.

Carrier’s idea was picked up and advanced by the Harvard paleoanthropologist Daniel Lieberman. “As for anatomical, genetic, and paleontological evidence, there are so many derived features of humans that make us good at running and which have no other function, they clearly indicate humans were selected for long distance running,” Lieberman wrote in an email. He has noted that those features — arched feet, short toes, wide shoulders, long Achilles tendons — seem to have originated around 2 million years ago, around the time when the genus Homo evolved and our ancestors began making meat a regular part of their diet. Persistence hunting, he’s argued, might have been the evolutionary driver.

However:

Henry Bunn, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has said more than once that a person would have to be “incredibly naïve” to believe the persistence hunting theory. Bunn recalls that he first heard discussion of the theory at a conference in South Africa, and he realized almost immediately that if you are going to chase an animal that is much faster than you, at some point it will run out of sight and you will have to track it. Tracking would require earth soft enough to capture footprints and terrain open enough to give prey little place to hide and disappear.

When he heard of the idea, Bunn had just been in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, one of the areas where it is thought that Australopithecus, our first upright walking ancestor, evolved into the first of the human genus. He knew the terrain was probably not soft during the time period discussed by the persistence hunting theory. And it was mixed savanna woodland, not open plain. It’s highly unlikely that primitive humans would have been sophisticated enough to track under those conditions, Bunn and his co-author, Travis Pickering, also of the University of Wisconsin, argued in their first paper questioning the persistence hunting theory.

Plus, Bunn had spent time with the Hadza, a modern-day group of people in the Great Rift Valley who are thought to live much like their ancient ancestors did. The only time Bunn ever knew the Hadza to run was when they were fleeing pelting rain, angry bees, or marauding elephants — and maybe occasionally to scavenge.

Speaking as a modern hunter, I can confirm that most modern humans hunt from ambush, or at least, by stealth.  When I was a young man hunting whitetails in the forested hills of northeast Iowa, I generally hunted by ambush; I had a few tree stands scattered across the Old Man’s place, or sometimes I would still-hunt by moving very slowly and quietly through the timber.

Nowadays, in the more open, much wider country I hunt in the Rockies, I generally hunt by spot-and-stalk, although sometimes loyal sidekick Rat and I will take a position along a water source or a low saddle between two big drainages and watch for a while.

The main point is this:  Most predators don’t use any more calories than necessary when hunting, and in that, humans haven’t changed much since the Pleistocene.  Survival in nature is a simple matter of ensuring that, at minimum, calories in equals (or, preferably, exceeds) calories expended.  One of the better ways to do this is to make sure you expend the least amount of calories possible, which means ambush or stealth hunting.

There are a few exceptions (wolves come to mind) but not that many.  And if we can derive any conclusions about human behavior then from human behavior now, I’d suspect Henry Bunn is correct.  Read the entire article and see what you think.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Here’s a fun little mental exercise.  Should dueling be legal?  I’m not talking about sparring on Twitter or in the comments section of some news story.  I’m talking honest to gosh, 18th century-style, pistols at ten paces dueling.

Dueling has been illegal everywhere in the United States, indeed in most of the Western world, since the early 19th century at least.  But let’s set aside our ingrained prejudices for a moment and ask ourselves, in a society that honestly and completely exists under the concept of liberty – should it be?

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Two men (or women, or one of each, whatever) have a serious disagreement, one which cannot be reconciled by any normal means.  Courts have been unable to arrive at a settlement acceptable to both.  Counsel has failed.  They are well and truly at loggerheads.

So both of them, as capable, competent, consenting adults, in full possession of their faculties, agree to pistols at sunrise to settle the dispute.  They meet in a field with their seconds, who oversee the loading of the pistols; they take their places, step away from each other on the count and, when indicated, turn and fire.  One is killed, the other emerges the victor.

I’d use these, just for the sake of tradition.

Now – answer me this – what crime has been committed?

Oh, yes, I know there is a statutory crime committed.  But has their been a moral crime?  Both parties went into the affair knowing that death was a likely outcome.  I’ve read that back when the code duello was more commonly practiced, it was considered the gentlemanly thing to do to just pink your opponent in the arm or leg and claim victory without fatality, but fatal injuries were a normal outcome; it even happened to one of the more famous of our Founding Fathers.

But even in the event of a fatality – what qualifies this as a crime?  Both parties agree.  Both parties know the likely outcome.  Both parties are, presumably, competent to make the decision.  If we are truly to be a society that values personal liberty, we must also be a society that allows people to face the likely consequences of that liberty.  Dueling may be an extreme example of that, but it’s no less a valid one.

So.  Should dueling be legalized?  I’m inclined to say yes.

Animal’s Daily Big Cat News

Mountain lions are causing some problems in the Colorado ski town of Edwards.  Excerpt:

Colorado wildlife officials issued a warning for the residents of Edwards this week after discovering a pride of 8 to 10 lions has been “roaming” neighborhoods in the area.

In recent days, residents have stumbled upon several animal carcasses and at least two attacks on dogs have been reported. The recent increase in mountain lion sightings prompted officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to alert the Edwards-area to be on high alert.

“This is a troubling situation and we are very concerned for the safety and welfare of the people in this area,” CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke said in an online statement Thursday. “We ask everyone to take this warning seriously.”

The CPW encouraged locals who spot a big cat in a residential area to alert them immediately and to keep a safe distance.

“We urge residents to be extremely cautious because lions are large, powerful predators and can be very dangerous if they’ve lost their natural fear of people,” CPW District Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita added in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation very closely.”

Based on information they’ve recieved so far, officials believe there are two female lions that are each traveling with a litter of 3 to 4 juvenile lions — though the young lions are “nearly full grown, as large or possibly larger than their mother,” the CPW said.

First of all, this isn’t a “pride.”  Mountain lions are solitary creatures, excepting when a mother lion still has kittens with her.  This is two female cats with almost-grown kittens who happen to have overlapping ranges, which isn’t unusual.  These are also the least likely lions to cause trouble with humans, being smaller and less aggressive than the big toms, who have larger ranges and tend to stay away from humans.

But it’s still concerning.  Small children and most pets are well within the prey size range of a 100-pound female lion, and like most apex predators, lions see other animals as either a threat or potential prey.  In most of Colorado, lions aren’t threatened by humans.

In all my years of woods-bumming in Colorado, I’ve encountered black bears several times but have only laid eyes on two lions, both at a distance, although I’ve tracked a couple for a ways before being “made” by the lion.  The answer for the boonies is simple; carry a sidearm.  Shooting an overly aggressive lion or bear isn’t often necessary.  Especially in the case of a lion, the noise of a major-caliber pistol fired into the ground will most often see them off.

The best answer, though, is for the Colorado Division of Wildlife to loosen restrictions on the hunting of lions.  As noted above, apex predators see other animals as either a threat or potential prey.  Historically, mountain lions aren’t a threat to humans when they see humans as a potential threat.  Hunting the lions will have that effect.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Mountain lions don’t attack humans often, but they do sometimes.  And it frequently ends up bad for the human.  But not in this case.  Excerpt:

A Colorado jogger fought off a mountain lion in the foothills of Horsetooth Mountain on Monday, suffering severe bites before he killed the wild animal in self-defense, authorities said.

The man, who was not identified, was jogging on a trail on the West Ridge of the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a mountain park about 66 miles northwest of Denver.

The mountain lion attacked him from behind, biting and clawing the man’s face, back, legs and arms, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources said in a joint release, late on Monday.

However, it was not disclosed exactly how the jogger managed to kill the animal, and no one from the CPW or the Larimer DNR was available for comment early Tuesday.

Responding to a question on Twitter about whether the jogger had used any kind of weapon against the create, the CPW confirmed that he had not. 

Instead, he fought the animal off using just his bare hands.

This was a lucky jogger, for a couple of reasons.

A mature lion.

First, the lion was a juvenile.  So smaller, and inexperienced.  Experienced lions kill by ambushing their prey and delivering a precise bite at the nape of the neck, severing the spinal cord and killing instantly.  If this had been a 180-pound, three or four-year old tom instead of a yearling, this guy would have been dead before he knew what hit him.

Second, because it was a juvenile, it was likely wandering and looking for a territory, and therefore probably not in very good condition.  Plenty of young lions die of starvation or disease while looking for a territory, and it’s not unusual for young lions to take on prey outside their normal range.  Like people.

At any rate, this anonymous jogger did good; he kept his wits about him and fought back, which is recommended in lion attacks.  Fortunately he’ll come out of it with no more than some scars worth bragging about, and a great story to tell.  I for one would gladly buy him a beer just to hear that story.

Rule Five Get Woke Go Broke Friday

I saw this a while back but didn’t comment on it right away, but a conversation with a friend today got me thinking about the story some more; namely, it seems that Levi’s, of all companies, has jumped on the “OMG ASSAULT WEAPONS” bandwagon.  That won’t hurt them as badly as it would have forty years ago, for reasons I’ll go into in a bit.  Excerpt:

American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday the launch of a new campaign aimed at preventing gun violence.

Company President and CEO Chip Bergh penned an op-ed for Fortune magazine saying business leaders have a responsibility to speak up on issues that threaten the American “fabric.”

“We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” he wrote. “While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option. That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention.”

Mr. Bergh said the company is stepping up its gun control activism in three areas: First, by creating the Safer Tomorrow Fund, which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants to boosting gun control groups; Second, by partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety and Michael Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety; And third, by doubling the company’s usual employee donation match to organizations aligned with the new Safer Tomorrow Fund.

The company will also pay employees for their political activism, for up to five hours a month.

I don’t like the trends of companies overtly virtue-signaling; if you’re in the business of making jeans, then just make jeans, and talk about nothing more than how great your damn jeans are.

And, once again, a would-be gun-grabber trots out the “gun violence” horseshit.  Now, to be fair, that term is also used by plenty of people who should know better, but the fact is that there is no such damn thing as gun violence.  There is only violence, planned and perpetrated by people, and that’s all.  It’s beyond dumbassery to use a term like “gun violence” when nobody, anywhere, ever, refers to “knife violence” or “fist violence” or “hammer violence.”  It’s only when firearms are involved do people’s brains fly right out.

Still.  One would think that antagonizing gun owners would be an ill-advised move for a company that makes blue jeans, a garment worn by plenty of working folks who like guns.  But I doubt this stance, tedious and stupid though it might be, will hurt the Levi’s brand sales much.  Why?

Because actual working folks shopping for tough, comfortable, durable working garments haven’t been buying Levi’s for years.  Starting about the time I graduated high school, Levi’s became the “style” jeans, mostly worn by townies.  The working jeans market these days belongs to Duluth Trading (my favorite brand), Carhartt, and Dickies.

That gives Levi’s some room to engage in dumb virtue-signaling.  So, fine, go for it; I don’t think it will change anything all that much.

Rule, Britannia No Longer

Someone, please tell me this is a parody.  Assuming it’s not; when did the British become such a bunch of enormous pussies?

Rule Five Off-Road Friday

Here are a couple of tidbits from Ford, the automaker of choice here at the Casa de Animal; first, the 2020 Bronco is finally getting a tease, and the 2019 Ranger is on its way.  Excerpt (Bronco):

When Ford first announced in 2017 that it was bringing the famous 4×4 SUV back, it only confirmed the name. The image reveals the Bronco to have a boxy, upright shape, a short-ish wheelbase, and minimal overhangs. We do know that it’ll challenge the all-conquering Jeep Wrangler and that it’s based on the 2019 Ranger.

The return of this proud old name is exciting – we still recall with great fondness our two Broncos, a ’74 and a ’92.  The first, the Green Machine, was a great truck – manual everything, sheet metal and vinyl interior, and it would damn near go up and down trees.  The second, the Dark Horse (black Bronco, Dark Horse, you get the idea) was bigger, more comfortable, and had an automatic transmission and transfer case, was damn near as capable off-road and much more suited for highway travel; the Dark Horse took us on outdoor adventures from Wyoming to the Mexican border, from Utah to the Mississippi.

But, as Ford informs us, the new Bronco will be based on that new Ranger, and that’s the subject of a little concern, at least to yr. obdt.:

It’s a real truck. The Ranger sits on a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame with six cross members. Suspension components of note include a double A-arm front suspension and monotube front dampers. Traditional leaf springs and shock absorbers help control a solid rear axle. Power steering will be electronically-assisted.

This Ranger gets frame-mounted steel bumpers with steel bash-plates and tow hooks. Two cab and bed options are available, but only one wheelbase is offered. SuperCab Rangers will have the longer of the two beds, while SuperCrew (full two door) Rangers will only get the shorter bed. Metal trim pieces over the wheel wells can be color matched or accented with a handsome magnetic grey color. The tailgate, front fenders, and hood are all aluminum, in keeping with one of the F-Series major brand identifiers. Engineers say that the Ranger has been tested to the same durability standards as the F-Series trucks.

That’s all good, but:

The only engine offered for the North American Ranger will be a 2.3-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger. The crank and rods are forged steel. It will be mated to the 10-speed automatic with three overdrive gears co-developed with the folks at General Motors.

This isn’t an engine that will develop a lot of low-end torque.  It’s a car engine; a truck needs low-end torque.  But this is the real kicker:

The FX4 pack brings Ford’s Terrain Management system, a system first found on the ultra-capable Raptor. It has four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand. Grass/gravel/snow simply numbs throttle response. Mud/ruts carries with it the throttle numbing, while also throwing the drivetrain into 4-Hi for truck stuff. Sand activates 4-Hi, tells the transmission to grab the lowest gear possible, and relaxes the traction control to allow some wheel slip.

In addition to the Terrain Management tech, a system Ford calls Trail Control will debut on Rangers outfitted with the FX4 Off-Road package. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system. Trail Control will allow the driver to set and maintain a low vehicle speed (1-20 mph) while traveling through less-than perfect trails on the way to the next adventure.

Here’s my concern:  All these electronic gewgaws are not desirable, for two reasons:

  1. They allow the driver to get into touchy situations without first requiring the driver to develop any real knowledge of their vehicle’s capabilities, and without necessarily developing any real off-road skills.
  2. All that high-tech stuff will break, and it will break at the worst possible moment – say, when you’re up in the back end of Firebox Park south of Eagle, ten miles from the county road.

I’m not sure why someone can’t build a simple, tough utility with a manual transmission, manual hubs, crank windows, and a small-block V-8.  My first Bronco, the Green Machine, was great because of its light weight, short wheelbase, 302ci V-8 and manual everything.  It was simple, easy to clean, easy to maintain, and tough, tough, tough.  Build a truck like that today, sell it for around twenty grand, and I bet you’d have people lined up to buy them.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my Rojito for woods-bumming.  It’s a tad underpowered, but the 1999 Ranger was still available with damn near manual everything, and that’s the way I like it.  I’ll probably go look at the new Broncs when they come out, but I’m prepared to be disappointed.

Animal’s Daily Civil War News

Here are two takes on a possible second American civil war:

Why Democrats Would Lose the Second Civil War, Too

And:

Think They’ll Never ‘Come and Take’ Your Guns Without an Armed Revolt? Think Again

Here’s a relevant excerpt from the first:

There are two Civil War II scenarios, and the left is poorly positioned to prevail in either one. The first scenario is that the Democrats take power and violate the Constitution in order to use the apparatus of the federal government to suppress and oppress Normal Americans. In that scenario, red Americans are the insurgents. In the second scenario, which we can even now see the stirrings of in California’s campaign to nullify federal immigration law, it is the blue states that are the insurgents.

The Democrats lose both wars. Big time.

And the second:

So what will you do, dear AR-15 owner, when the ‘Cheka’ comes for your neighbor, and you know the laws are on the books to prosecute? Will a “buyback” and “amnesty” be enough to convince YOU to acquiesce? You’ve got a job, a wife, kids to raise. When they “come and take it,” is your family worth risking? 

No, when they take your guns there will be no civil war. There will be no large-scale revolution, because liberals are experts at pushing that Overton Window enough not to shock the system. Like frogs in water that’s about to boil, people won’t jump until it’s too late.

Of the two scenarios, I am (sadly) inclined to believe the latter.  Why?

Because I honestly don’t believe most American gun owners are quite ready to join an armed insurgency.  I’d like to think I’d be willing.  I know quite a few of my fellow veterans would be, enough to make things pretty hot for the would-be tyrants.  But in the end?

Fifty years ago we were a nation of outdoorsmen, farmers, tradesmen and woodsmen for whom strength was their stock in trade and for whom marksmanship and woodcraft were taken as a given.  Now?  We have a generation grown up on the Internet and game consoles, and while many of them are ardently pro-Second Amendment (yes, really) how many of these mall ninjas would give up their homes and all their possessions, taking the risk of being shot on sight, to go forth and join a cause where the odds are stacked against you?

I sure hope I’m wrong.  I sure hope we never have to find out.

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.