Not so long ago I bottomed out. It was a hard stoppage. If you’ve ever been out on the desert, driving too fast on nominal roads, and suddenly high-centered your rig in the rocks, you’ll have some idea what this felt like. There were some nasty scraping sounds as my skid plate dragged over the rocks, followed by a solid “kathunk” and a jaw-jamming loss of forward movement. Things on the backseat ended up on the dashboard. My seatbelt locked up like a parachute harness and there might have been some whiplash. It was all quite unexpected because I was actually at a dinner party.
Retired Special Forces warrior Greg Walker, author of 16 books and frequent contributor to Soldier of Fortune, Black Belt magazine, and Running Iron Report, returns to the bunkhouse for an hour of great conversation with Craig, Jim, and “Oil Can” Rathbun. The boys discuss a host of topics and listeners are in for a treat. From News […]
Years ago, when I was still kicking in doors for a living, serving search and arrest warrants and chasing dopers of various sizes, shapes, and ethnic origins, I began keeping a book of personal debriefs. I did this because I cared deeply about — and still train scrupulously in my civilian incarnation — small unit tactics. When I was in the big leagues – the regional Narcotics Task Force — I was generally number one through the door on warrant services, which is both an art and a skill, and in every case extremely dangerous because one never knows what awaits on the opposite side, and also because narcotics enforcement is not synonymous with good tactics.
We can, sometimes, be forgiven for falling in love with ourselves. That’s only true because at the end of the day we are all we’ve got, and as a pure survival mechanism, pouring a little love on ourselves may actually be a good idea. I hadn’t contemplated a life or death situation in some time when I set out on our first morning to hunt an elk out of the towering mountaintops that surrounded our little drop camp. I hadn’t contemplated 18″ of snow overnight, either, and so as a debrief point its good to remember that complacency can be, and often is, deadly.
The cynicism of the National Football League is apparently boundless. After taking a break from mostly not watching the game – we were visiting with friends and there was some great food on the table and even better conversation in the next room – I was intrigued by the prospect of both Shakira AND Jennifer Lopez appearing in stages of near nudity on the halftime show. Most everyone knows that the halftime show is designed to pander to our basest instincts – wardrobe malfunctions and penis guitars – so what red-blooded American with a mouthful of chili would miss a chance to see that?
A few summers ago, while lounging around the Munich Airport waiting for a flight to Reykjavik, I bought a book: “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World,” by Peter Frankopan. Frankopan is a senior fellow at Oxford University, and has written a convincing reassessment of world history. It is also a poignant and extraordinarily well-considered forecast of our possible future as a broader, Western culture.
My wife and I were down in Bend, Oregon, the other day, to visit with some friends and to spend the afternoon watching the Oregon Ducks smash helmets with the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. I had no dog in the fight – my alma maters are both mired in long-term football mediocrity — so instead of pulling for one side or the other I played the role of annoying snarky guy while munching on some terrific jalapeno poppers and perfectly smoked – and I really do mean perfectly — short ribs. It was a great afternoon full of delightfully low-brow conversation.
Join Craig, Jim, and “Oil Can” Rathbun as they welcome teacher Judy Larson into the bunkhouse on the historic Figure 8 Ranch for Running Iron Podcast Number 14. Presently a middle-school teacher on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, Judy brings her considerable experience to talk all things education and to provide an insight into the challenges and rewards of a life in public education. Plus, as a bonus, listeners will learn about Judy’s daughter, who is an accomplished musician presently studying and playing in the castles and fortresses of Europe.
On the same afternoon that I zipped my grandfather into a body bag – he was fortunate to die at home, in his own bed, and the last words he heard on this earth were my grandmother saying she loved him — I inherited one of his old rifles. It was a single shot .22 with a scope from the old regime – decent glass in its day – that he used to teach my father and uncles to shoot in their sprawling back yard in North Hollywood. Under the house he built a pistol range.
As I was reading and writing last night–sketching various attempts at an end of the decade post, I came across a wonderful passage from “The Powder River Expedition Journals of Colonel Richard Irving Dodge.” This was a book I bought myself for Christmas because I maintain an abiding interest in that period of our history and also because I have a long-running fascination with immediate accounts written by the people who were on the ground when events unfolded. That’s true from Caesar to Tacitus, from Samuel Pepys to the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and beyond. I buy them and read them whenever I can.
In this episode, Craig, Jim and “Oil Can” Rathbun are joined in the bunkhouse by Dr. Larry Len Peterson. The author most recently of “American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West” Dr. Peterson has published numerous highly regarded biographies including “Philip R. Goodwin: America’s Sporting and Wildlife Artist”; “The Call of the Mountains; The Artists of Glacier National Park”; and “Charles M. Russell: Photographing the Legend, A Biography in Words and Pictures” among others. He is the recipient of the 2016 C.M. Russell Heritage Award, two Western Heritage Awards, the Scriver Award, The High Plains Book Award, and the Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. In addition to being a recognized scholar of the history and art history of the American West, Dr. Peterson is an award winning scientist, physician, and cultural historian. Please join us for a fascinating interview with a truly remarkable guest, Dr. Larry Len Peterson.
At 0700 it is dead calm and coal-mine dark here on the Figure 8 Ranch. I’ve got a cup of tea on my desk and just came in from feeding the horses. My face is still cold. From the window where I work I can see the merest outline of the ponderosas, and a soft yellow light spilling out of the barn where I leave the stall lights on for the horses. The light glows yellow on the ice in the paddocks. I can’t prove it, but I think that light works for the horses the same way a night-light works to settle the nerves of children afraid of the dark.