Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick-No Treat

                       The first portion of our local waterfowl season usually finds Mid-Atlantic hunters sitting in the blind in little more than a long sleeved camo t-shirt and a fleece vest. Late October can offer temps in the mid 60's on opening day. One may even have to swat the odd misquito that lingers in the marsh.   
Fast forward to mid-January. You are sitting in a goose pit and it is cold. "Colder than a grave digger's ass" as my grandfather used to say. You are wearing thermal long underwear under fleece lined gore-tex camo pants and boots with 1000 of Thinsulate. Your coat is high tech camo inuslation from Cabelas.You are sporting a fleece camo hat. You have $35.00 gloves on your hands. Sadly, after sitting all morning in a goose pit or duck blind, your hands can still get cold. Cold hands can lead to bad shooitng. Cold feet can lead to a miserable experience. Many of the hunting catalogues offer expensive propane heating devices tailored to waterfowl hunters. Rather than mess with compressed gas I stick to a trick I learned from one of the old guys in my hunting Club.
    The trick is simple and cheap. Get an old coffee can..remove the label, cut the top off and place a can of sterno inside. With the sterno lit you can place the can on the bench seat of the blind or in on a shekf in front. The sterno generates enough heat to do the job. Sterno can be found at the grocery store or a hardware store. This set up provides plenty of warmth to toast up your hands or toes and is cheap, light weight and reasonably foolproof. You can even put a piece of chicken wire over the top and heat up your tea or coffee if the thermos is losing the thermodynamic battle. When the damp wind is wipping across the marsh or field and the temperature is 19 degrees, holding your digits over this little device can be the difference between a good and bad hunt.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Opening Day-Duck Season

   5:30 A.M. comes pretty early when you sit around the table sipping Bourbon and laughing with the boys until Midnight. But once you rub the residual effects from your eyes upon remember it is opening day and excitement takes over. For me, this was especially true because I am breaking in my new dog Genna. This was to be her first official duck hunt. I had trained her from the blinds with shot and call and dummies. Nevertheless, you want to see how the dog performs under game-time conditions. Suffice it to say she performed admirably. The shooting of the guys in the blind...not so much.
   The conditions were good. The birds were there. The hunters were perhaps rusty. It ain't easy to get the lead when the ducks are screaming by with wind behind them. It is a tough pass shooting challenge. We knocked a few down but missed a few. Said misses lead to good natured critique and jokes which passes the time in the blind. It is all part of waterfowling. The wood ducks on my tailgate are testament to a few accurate shots.

   The evening before the hunt found the Club Members around the dining room table. We dined from Spode sporting motif plates I donated to the club which you can see in the photo.This china  classes up the table setting a bit. The table topics ran to off season fishing, some Obama bashing,rail bird hunting, haggling and arguing about blind assgnments for the morning and how to distribute hunters with dogs so each blind had  a retriver. The approach of "Sandy" was also of interest and the World Series also got some air time.
  Genna was a delight in the blind and I think she has loads of potential. I hope to get another day of huntng in before this short firat season closes. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 29, 2012


While the Eastern Seaboard battens down to deal with Sandy, some Americans carry on. A friend of mine sent me this photo of the Old Guard performing their duty at the Tomb in this nasty weather. This is a picture of dedication and adherance to duty and a ceaseless show of respect. I find this inspiring and humbling.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Opening Day

    We had "early teal" season last month. Tomorrow the regular duck season opens in Delaware. I will be down at the Club early this afternoon. I will try and get in a little dog training before the crowd arrives.

   I will be preparing dinner for the members...a traditional eve of the opener repast. The menu is roasted Virginia ham, mac n cheese that I made from scratch last night, collared greens with porter and molasses and home made corn bread. Certainly there will be cocktails before dinner and Bourbon will be poured.

   After dinner I suspect there will be interest in the World Series on the big screen and I will shoot some pool with the Gunnery Sergeant while watching. We will draw for blinds and be ready for shooting 1/2 hour before sunrise. We also have to check the decoys, bag a few dozen for transport and make sure we have oars and life jackets lined up for each boat at each blind.

   The weather will be warm. The tide should be cooperative. Now, if only the birds will be as well.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Virginia Races

Tomorrow will find many of the top Steeplechase horses,jockeys and trainers in Virginia for the International Gold Cup Races. This is a picture of my wife and me with our box seat tailgate at this race meet 4 years ago.
I will follow the results closely because the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup races are on November 4th and some of the horse who succeed tomorrow will be coming North.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fellows for Fellow Blogsmiths

"Nice to see you again YWP, grab your hat, we need to meet Brohamma at that little Italian joint in South Philly."

One of the ancillary benefits of this Blogging gig is the chance to meet some very interesting and engaging people. On Labor day weekend my wife and I dined al fresco with The Trad and his Golf Foxtrot. My meeting with Maxminimus has been recounted in prior posts and was somewhat legendary. The photo nut and rugby afficiando from Brohammas has been to the fights with me. The Epic and I keep trying to meet but have not connected.

In 2 weeks the gent(YWP) who writes Boxing the Compass will be in town. We guzzled cocktails and beer together a while back on a humid evening here in the Quaker City...he is from Purtian Boston so we both pissed  the tenets of our civic forefathers that night.

YWP makes a triumphant return to Philadelphia . We are planning on dining at a great little old school Italian  restaurant in South Philadelphia, and we will be joined by Brohama.Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friday Night Fights

"Heavyweight Joe Cusumano of Virginia Beach, but now fighting out of PA, man-handled Philly's Zeferino Albino in their four-rounder. Cusumano, 18 pounds heavier, won the first two rounds, but Albino often swung for the fences, trying to test the Virginian's chin. However in round three, it was Albino's chin that would be checked. Cusumano used his booming right hand to drop Albino twice in the round. Both times the Shuler Gym fighter got up and continued, but he would have no chance of earning a decision. But after the knockdowns, Albino was less willing to go for the knockout, and easily ceded the final round. The two did rumble after the final bell, but the result was obvious."

This is the commentary provided by John DiSanto of regarding my Heavyweight's fight last Friday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

We All had A Lovely Time Tailgating At The Game

What a lovely crew of Giant and 49ers fans. My beloved Quaker City owns a fair share of bad press for sports fans. However, this video seems to be convincing evidence that ill mannered fans and spectators are native to the Left Coast as well.
Presumably, this cadre of Niners and Giant's fans had finished their tea sandwiches and champagne, polished off the stawberries and creme, and then decided to "slum it" with a bout of fisticuffs..

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Guest Post

I recently received an e-mail from one of the readers of my Blog. He requested an opportunity to do a guest post. The subject and content he suggested is something I have not touched on in any prior posts. Nevertheless, this is an issue of vital relevance to those of us who shoulder shotguns a couple hundred times per year. I thank Mr. O'Connor and urge all you hunters and shooters to pay strict attention.

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can. Check out my new blog at!

Why Every Hunter Needs to Protect Their Hearing

Living without your hearing can be incredibly difficult. Unfortunately for most hunters, hearing loss is very common unless they take the proper precautionary steps to prevent it. Protecting your hearing while you are hunting is incredibly important and is essential for anyone who goes hunting on a regular basis. The reason for this is due to the fact that you will be losing loud guns at close range, making your ears susceptible to hearing loss and damage.

Before you go out hunting, it is important that you consider the benefits of protecting your hearing. Your hearing is incredibly precious and is more fragile than you might think. By just wearing earplugs or noise-reducing headphones, you will be able to prevent hearing loss and extend the life of your hearing for years to come. Losing your hearing may be something that gets in the way of your favorite hobby; so protecting it can mean more years out in the wilderness hunting game. My father who has been a hunter for many years is affected severely by hearing loss. After neglecting his hearing for many years he reached a point of now return. After visiting his doctor and finding out among many other reasons that hunting was affecting his hearing he was surprised. Now in his late 70’s he still likes to get out to the range but always makes sure he has his hearing aid in and has brought the appropriate hearing protection with him. There are a few different ways that you can protect your ears while you are out hunting with loved ones.

Earplugs are great for when you are using guns and loud machinery while out in the field. These small foam products can be purchased for practically nothing at your local pharmacy or sporting goods store. You just roll the foam up into a small cylinder and insert it into your ear canal. The foam will automatically expand and fill the canal, preventing excess noise from entering the ear. This can greatly improve your hearing and prevent major hearing loss, especially if you are using firearms at a close range.

If earplugs are not your cup of tea or if you find them to be uncomfortable, there is another option available to you. Wearing noise-reducing headphones is great for when you are hunting and trying to protect your hearing from excess noise. Plus, these types of headphones can actually help to keep your ears warm if the temperatures outside are frigid.

There is just nothing easier or more important than protecting your hearing for the long haul. While many hunters make sure to wear goggles and all of the right types of clothing, many of them simply forget to protect their ears until it is too late. It does not take very long for you to find good ear protection and wear it when out hunting. You will find that it also makes the hunt more enjoyable because your gunfire is not so deafening. Even if you are not the one who is firing the gun in your team, it is still important that you wear ear protection to keep hearing loss from occurring.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fight Night

My Heavyweight  Joey Cusumano is slated for a 4 round bout against seasoned veteran Zefarino Albino this Friday. Joey has been training hard and sparred world title contender Bryant Jennings again this Saturday at Fred Jenkin's Gym near the border of Brewerytown and Tioga sections of Philadelphia. I went to watch the sparring...and let's just say I was pleased my Caddy was still on the street when I left the gym. This gritty Philly boxing gym has been around for years and has hosted the sweating hopes of countless young fighters. The joint looks like a movie set in its postered walls and jumble of equipment.I mounted the steps and  entered the cavernous room in the ABC Rec Center at 26th and Master. In a Saturday morning uniform of jeans and cowboy boots and crisp white Oxford, I am instantly made for what I am to the guys busting their asses developing their jabs and right cross...a white boy with cash behind a kid. But some of the looks say... I may be a cop...come to check on something from the 'Hood. I remove my Raybans and nod some diffident hellos to some of the guys I know. Jenning's manager has met me before but looks me over with a jaded eye and caution. As a manager I stand with folded arms observing my fighter battle in the ring during the sparring session. While I make mental notes about jab speed and counter punches and balance,nearby, young sinewy black kids slam the bag and shadow box and get in shape for a fight they hope will come.These kids are in incredible shape and form and they go at their training hard as Hell. They have deltoids like grapefruits and balled- up biceps on lean arms...six pack abs...dread locks..taped hands...sweaty and tough. One of the fighter's 4 year old son scampers about whacking everything below knee-height with a purple foam "noodle" and yealling yah-yah.
You can feel glances shot  at you. Perhaps they think the white guy with the boots and the "phat" Rolex will notice them and want to add them to the Stable. Maybe it is just a "what the fuck is that cracker doing in my gym on Saturday morning." Most of these kids are what are called "ordinary" fighters. They may assemble a decent amateur record and they may scrap away for a $500 purse for a 4 round Club fight. They dream of a title shot on TV...some hope to stay out of the joint..or not go back. Some hope to escape the shit job at Aramark at the stadium or hoisting cartons at UPS.Whatever their purpose, you can see the dedication in every skip of rope and rotating hand on the speed bag.

This evening Joey and I attended the Press conference for the Friday fight. Bernard Hopkins' trainer was there. Joey wanted me to take a picture with him and he obliged. Joey is a big,tough Italian kid. He has identical hopes and dreams to the kids I saw on Saturday. The difference is Joey may realize his.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Menswear Post

Settle down all you clothes obsessed bloggers. This is not verbiage about Flusser or J. Press or even Woolrich. This is a heads up to Waterfowlers. When hunting season is always prudent to get your gear out and check it for wear and tear. There is nothing that will ruin a hunt faster than finding out the hard way that your waders leak.
Picture this: It is 5 A.M. and you make your way to the marsh. You load your decoys in the boat and prepare to launch. As you wade out into the water to climb aboard, you are knee deep in frigid water. Suddenly, your right foot feels quite damp and cold. Crap! You have a leak in the boot of your wader. You are now going to be miserable all morning. Your wet, cold foot may even screw up your shooting...or at least you can use the excuse for missing a slow in-coming locked up mallard at fisrt light.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Title Shot

Being a boxing manager and afficianado of the sweet science, this mock fight poster really appealed to me and literally made me laugh out loud. I am also keenly interested in this political match-up and the outcome. I will spare you my proclivities regarding which candidate I want to see in the Oval Office come January. Those of you from my small and disturbed audience have probably guessed my leanings based on the content of my ramblings.

With that Heavyweight takes to the ring next Friday here in Philly for a 4 round bout vs. Zefarino Albino. Joey is training hard and is ready to rumble....I wonder if these 2 politicians can say the same.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Over the Summer, the coach of my son's high school lacrosse team resigned. The athletic director of the school has asked the Booster Club to create a committee of parent's to assist in interviewing new candidates. Each class will have a representative. My son is a Sophmore and I have been asked to take part in the interviews....which are tonite. I played lacrosse for this same high school years ago.One of the other consultants is a former superstar All American who I played with .He was a Senior when I was a Sophmore. He went on to set records at Johns Hopkins. I think his input will be invaluable.
 My son plays for this High School. The region is loaded with high school talent and the local schools are incredibly competitive. I have posted before about this area having 2 of the top 5 high school lacrosse teams in the nation...including No.'s 1 and 4. This atmosphere makes the selection seem even more important.
The kids in this program need a solid coach. They need discipline and they need to be motivated to want to play hard and win. Some of that was lacking under the prior coach. The stakes are thus fairly high for this process. I know one of the candidates personally and believe he would be an excellent choice. Tonite I have to see if either of the other 2 candidates would alter my opinion.

One thing I have to remember...and perhaps try and impress on the decision this: Just because you were a great player it does not mean you can be a good coach. I have learned this in lacroose. I have also learned this in professional boxing. Great boxers are not necessarily good teachers or coaches. A coach is much more than just someone who shows you how to play the game. I hope we can make the right choices tonite.

Monday, October 1, 2012