Monday, December 7, 2009

Hot Tuna at the Beacon 12-05-09

By now you guys must have figured out that I'm a big fan of HOT F##KING TUNA!!!!

Saw the show with my friend Mike. My son was supposed to come with us, but he came down with the flu.

It snowed on the way while I was driving into Manhattan. Add in all the holiday traffic, and all the changes in the traffic patterns that have been enacted by that shithead Bloomberg and his entourage of alleged geniuses, and getting up to the Beacon in time was little short of a nightmare.

But hey, at least I lucked out and found parking within minutes of getting there!

A quick burger at the Utopia Diner, and inside we went. One little hitch though.....

They FRISKED everybody!! I mean not for anything, but the Hot Tuna crowd is made up essentially of ex-hippies in their 50s and 60s.

Not exactly your typical troublemaking crowd.

Suffice to say I wound up having to toss one of my knives in the garbage bin!

Ahem, you'll note I said one. Heh, heh, heh......

Anyway, after several Jack Daniels and listening to Loudon Wainwright (the 3rd) handle the warmup, Hot Tuna came out SMOKING!!!!

And they didn't let up for the rest of the night. Two solid hours of Jorma and Jack proving that even at 70, they've still got it!!

What a night!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blues Traveller at Tarrytown Music Hall 10-07-09

Once again unto the breach at the Tarrytown Music Hall!! Without a doubt this place is my second favorite venue, breathing hard on the heels of the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan. I tried to upload a video of the show to the blog, but things just weren't working out, so I decided to put up the picture and include this link, to Youtube, where I was able to upload the video.
Enjoy folks!!
BTW, to DR, you should really like it, there's plenty of harmonica in there for you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Dungeon" Seminar - Cane Seminar Part 2

One more from the Seminar. Using the cane in a two-handed grip to fend off someone trying to grab you by the lapel or throat. This method was not specifically Bonafant, but was how to use a bar smash, combined with the Fairbairn rake across the midsection, or a thrust to the solar plexus (or gut, face, throat, etc.) to make your attackers day more than a touch miserable.

By the time the seminar was over, even with hand and wrist protection, most of the guys had sore/banged-up wrists and forearms.

Ah yes, a good time was had by all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Seminar In "The Dungeon" 10-19-09

A Seminar that involved Close-Combat techniques held in a location that has a lot of historical importance to anybody who has ever trained with the late Carl Cestari. If you've ever even seen a Cestari video, you'll probably recognize the venue.

This clip shows a close-in, reverse-grip method of using a cane (or walking stick) against an assailant. The method comes from a book written by a man named Bonafant in Argentina, sometime around 1912.

The instructors are the irrascible Ralph Grasso, and the indefatigable Clint Sporman!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Boker M3 Trench Knife Reproduction Review

I recently acquired a reproduction of the M3 Trench Knife, as manufactured by BokerUSA. The M3 was originally issued in 1943, went through a couple of minor modfications in 1944, and by the end of WW2 it ceased to be manufactured as a knife, and was finally issued as the standard issue bayonet for the M1 Carbine. Since I'm here to review the knife, rather than go into a lengthy discourse on it's history, I will simply provide the following link for those of you who are interested: I'll get right to the point (excuse the pun), this knife is a very well made, faithful in detail reproduction of the knife that you usually see adorning the ankles of members of the 101st Airborne in most pictures that show up in books about the history of WW2. The knife blade is 6-1/2" long from the front of the guard to the tip. There is a small ricasso at the base of the blade which makes the effective cutting length 6-1/8" for the primary edge of the blade. The overall shape of the blade is similar to a double edged dagger, however the secondary edge along the top of the blade (normally the spine) is just about 3-1/2" long. The spine of the blade that runs from the guard to the start of the secondary edge is a full 1/4" thick. The blade is made of SK-5 high carbon steel. It has a phosphate coating to protect it from rust. This is a solid, beefy knife that was designed for hard usage. The handle is made of the stacked leather washers that were common to US military knives of that period. The washers are machined into an oval shape that fits the hand, is extremely comfortable, and provides an excellent grip. From the back of the guard to the base of the handle measures just over 4-7/8". The guard itself is 1/8" thick, and when you add it all up, this gives you an overall length of approx. 11-1/2" A quick note about the guard before it slips my mind. The overall length is 2-1/2". The portion of the guard that cover the "top" of the blade, which is to say the side of the blade that has the spine and the secondary edge, is curved forward at about a 45deg. angle. Accordingly, when you hold this knife in a saber grip, it is extremely comfortable. Unlike knives where the guard is just straight across, your thumb is not jammed up against the back of the guard, thereby causing discomfort and compromising your grip. The knife is held together at the bottom of the handle by a 3/8" thick oval metal plate with a rectangular slot cut into it that allows the tang of the blade to slide into position. A small hole drilled through the sidewall of this plate and into the tang allows for a steel pin to be inserted. I can assure you, this knife is solid as a rock. OK guys, enough with the details and minutiae, it's time for the fun stuff. As I stated above, this design of the handle provides an excellent, comfortable grip. Whether using hammer, saber or icepick grip, this knife will stay in your hand. It is slightly handle heavy, with the balance point being about 1" behind the guard. The design lends itself more to thrusting/stabbing as opposed to slashing. From the factory, both edges were above average sharp. Oddly enough though, the secondary edge was actually better than the primary edge. It took about all of 2 minutes on my ceramic sticks to bring both edges up to their real potential. I tried thrusting on multiple layers of cardboard, and on an old duffel bag filled with carpet remnants, old clothes, and rags. The average penetration was in the 3" to 4" range. Factoring in that I screwed my arm up about a month ago installing an air conditioner at my parents house, I probably could have gotten better results than those. On cutting/slashing tests against cardboard, the results were good, but not spectacular. I attribute this primarily to the thickness of the blade. It has been my experience that when cutting cardboard, thin blades and/or serrated blades, are the way to go. On the other hand, when I attempted to slashing cuts against canvas material that was wrapped around foam covered tubes, I did get better results. My testing leads me to conclude that M3 shines primarily as a thrusting weapon. As manufactured by BokerUSA, the M3 is supposed to sell for a cost of $99.95 MSRP. Upon scouring the internet, I've seen it going for prices ranging from $49.99 to $74.99. In my opinion, even at the $99.00 pricepoint it would be worth the money. Considering some of the poorly made junk for sale these days that is being sold for hundreds of dollars, the Boker M3 is a solid value. It is a well-made, faithful reproduction of a fighting knife that would serve either the collector, or the active duty military person, equally well.

NOTE: I originally wrote this review about a year ago and posted it in a limited number of online forums. Seeing as how my blog seems to getting more attention than I ever suspected it would, I decided to republish it here. If I can bring more attention to the well-made and reasonably priced products being manufactured by Boker, I will consider this minor effort on my part as a job well done.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Boker/Los Banos G4 Review

Chad Los Banos. If you're into knives, and you don't know that name, then you've obviously been living under a rock for the last 3 years or so.
I believe he started out with a little number for Spyderco called the Lava. It did fairly well, but for some reason, he and Spyderco parted ways. Fortunately for the rest of us knife enthusiasts, some enterprising soul at Boker saw potential in Mr. Los Banos' next project.
A little number called the Sub-Com. To say that this design took off would be a major understatement. Numerous variations later of that model, along with about a half a dozen other designs (assorted folders and fixed blades), bring us to the point of this exercise in Cutlery Evaluations.
The G4!
I received my copy of this hot little number a little over a week ago, and I've been carrying it ever since.
First things first. For a folder, this is fairly large knife. The official specifications indicate that the handle is a full 5", and the blade is 3 7/8". Put it together and yes, the knife has an official OAL of 8 7/8". However, being the obsessive sort, not to mention the fact that I do engineering work and technical drafting for a living, I broke out the old ruler and checked for myself.
Boker was a tad off, but not by much. The handle length was spot on, but the blade was a whole 1/16" of an inch short!
I did mention that I was the obsessive sort didn't I?
I can assure you that the missing 1/16" has absolutely no negative effect on the knifes' cutting ability. The blade is made of 440C ( my personal favorite) and has a black coating on it as what I can only assume is an additional rust inhibitor. The blade shape is probably the most eye-catching fact about this knife from an aesthetic point of view. It is a modified Wharncliff. I say modified because on a typical wharncliff, the back, or spine if you will, of the blade normally drops downward to the point in a gentle arc.
Not so with the G4.
The spine on the G4 drops downward from the handle in a straight line for a distance of 2 3/4" at an angle of about (?) degrees, and then drops very abruptly downwards from a point 3/4" from the tip at about 45 degrees. The blade edge comes straight out from the handle in typical Wharncliff style, and where the edge and the spine drops down to meet it forms an acute angle that produces an amazingly sharp, strong point. It's sort of like an offset dagger point.
OK, now it's fun stuff and testing time.
I've carried and used this knife for just over a week now, and to be blunt, I'm very happy with it. I've used it around the office to open boxes, trim newspaper articles, open packaging, that sort of thing. Around the house, I've used it for yardwork, opening mail, and in the kitchen for cutting meat, and slicing and dicing assorted vegetables and potatoes. About the only thing it didn't do well was slice tomatoes. The blade was just a wee bit too thick.
For social work, I tested it on my "usual suspects". Wood, my old training dummy, through heavy rope and synthetic cord, and on my favorite testing device, my faithful old army surplus heavy canvas duffel bag that I keep filled with old carpet and assorted remnants of clothing such as jeans, shirts, and the odd leather vest or two.
Let me tell you, for slashing/slicing and hacking, the wharncliff style blade is very underrated. The potential damage you can do with this type of blade has to be seen to be believed.
As for thrusts/stabs, I drove this knife into 2" thick pressue-treated lumber, and got almost a full 1" penetration without damaging the blade. The lock held up like a champ. On the duffel bag test, I got full penetration to the hilt though the canvas and a section of rolled up rug that was inside.
The odddly offset point that I mentioned above goes right in with no effort.
When I first saw the knife, I was little disappointed to see a liner lock. It's not my favorite style of lock on a folder. I was also concerned at how much it protruded from the top of the handle. However, as I examined it I wound up deciding that my concerns were unfounded. The liner that seves as the lock, sits directly on the center line of the back of the blade and locks ups tight and solid. I also tried to to twist the blade with one hand while gripping the handle and twisting it in the opposite direction with my other hand. I wanted to see if rotational stress with my finger on the protruding portion of the lock would cause it to slide out of p[osition and allow the blade to close. I have seen this happen on other knives.
I'm very happy to report that it did not happen with this Boker. The lock remained in position and the blade stayed where it belonged. I even broke down and did a test that I normally don't do because I think that it's excessive, and not reflective of a real world situation, but I decided to try it anyway.
I gave the G4 a spinewhack test. I did it several times, and the lock hel d with no adverse effects at all.
I was impressed!
Now, they call this knife the G4 because the clip can be positioned for tip-up, tip-down, left or right side carry.
In other words, G4, 4 Grips. The knife comes with a small L- shaped tool that allows you to back out the three screws that secure the pocket clip to the handle. It also allows you to adjust the tension on the pivot pin so that you determine how much effort you want to use to deploy the blade.
The handle is flat, and made up of two slabs of G10 synthetic over a two stainless steel liners. At first glance I thought that the handle would be a little slippery. However I was pleasantly surprised when I wrapped my grubby little hands around the handle and found that the stippling that was molded into the G10 slabs, in conjunction with the three elliptical shaped grooves that were cut into each side of the handle provided a secure grip that left me little short of amazed. Even when I was test the knife for it's thrusting abilities, I felt little or no slippage, even on the pressure treated lumber.
At 5.4 ozs. this is a moderately heavy folder. However despite ithe weight, the flat shape allows it to ride quite comfortably in the pocket of a pair of jeans, even when sitting or bending. The weight distribution is handle heavy which allows the knife to move quickly in the hand. The knife is opened by way of a dual thumbstud that projects out from the blade more than adequately to allow for a positive contact with your thumb.
As amatter of fact, if there is one thing about the knife that I would change, it would be to actually eithe make the studs a litle smaller, or else just put in a single thumbstud with a torxscrew that would allow you to place the stud on whichever side of the blade you prefer depending on whether you are left or right handed.
In closing this review, I would just like to say that Chad Los Banos has once again shown that he knows how to design a knife that is meant to be used, and not just looked at and admired in the comfort of your home. I would also like to say Boker Knives has succeeded in executing this design for sale and distribution. The continuing improvements in their products over the last few years has been phenomonal.
I look forward to many more collaborations between Boker and Mr Los Banos.
The Boker/Los Banos G4 has an MSRP of $39.95. However if you shop around on the internet, youshould be able to pick it up for somewhere between $27.00 and $30.00.
Take my word for it, whether for EDC, camping, general use, or for defending yourself, the G4 is worth every penny.

How The Hell....

....Did my blog get to almost 12,000 hits?

I'm not that popular. I mean really, aside from a couple of memorials, a few knife reviews, some disaster stuff, and a running commentary on my musical choices (Tuna and Blues Traveller), there's not really that much stuff here.

Go figure!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hot Tuna Strikes Again!

Went to see Tuna with my friends T.C. and Mike on Sept 6 at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Great venue. Built in 1885 and designed by the same guy who designed the Macys Department store at 34th Street in Manhattan, The acoustics in this place are amazing! The only drawback being that in 1885, there were apparently a lot of short people around. I say this because at 6'-0" tall, the balcony seats were definitely not designed for me.

Hey, it was still a great time, and next time, well I'll just make sure I get orchestra seats! (I looked, there was a LOT more leg-room down there!)

Friday, March 27, 2009


September 6, 1920 - January 21, 2009

Goodbye Dad.