This category contains 44 posts

The Magic Club

I’ve posted before about my childhood foray in legerdemain.  Magic.  Sleight-of-hand.  Conjuring.

While I enjoyed a certain status in my childhood neighborhood – performing at kid’s birthday parties, and all – it was a lonely proposition.  There were no other kids nearby who loved magic as I did.  Of course, this was pre-Internet.  And I was too young to drive and go into Phoenix to the Rabbits In Our Hats Club.

The Summer between junior high and high school my leg disability developed.  Crutches and a leg brace for a year.  And I missed my first semester of high school as a result.  I was hanging around the neighborhood a lot, including my friends – most of whom were younger than I.

And something magical happened.  We formed a magic club!

Looking back, it might have been because I was the oldest and that was my thing, but who knows?


THE MYSTIC CRYSTAL—– The guy in the tux is Guffaw!

We named it THE MYSTIC CRYSTAL.  The name gleaned from the song Aquarius lyrics ♫Mystic Crystal revelations…♫.

Jim, his younger brother John, John’s best friend Steve, and, later, David M and Ken.

There was a constitution, officers, dues, meetings, a newsletter and food!

Our officer’s titles all were prefaced with the beginning The Great Almighty (in an effort to resemble a men’s lodge or secret society).  I.E. the treasurer was The Great Almighty Keeper of the Dough!  :-)

We met monthly, rotating through the respective member’s homes.

Practicing magic, hanging-out, BS-ing, eating food, talking about girls.  Sometimes (if a piano was present) David M. would play for our amusement.  We made a club sign, silk-screened t-shirts (which we erroneously called bowling shirts) and spent much time goofing-off.

And we attended the annual International Brotherhood of Magicians chapter banquet.

And we would discuss and plan our first magic show, at length.

But we never performed, as a club!

Some of us did some charity shows; some made a few bucks semi-pro.

But we just never got around to performing as a group.  Certainly family and school activities took precedent.

Upon reflection, I, for one, continue to be astounded that all of our parents allowed us to get together, monthly, often on a school-night, to eat snacks and goof around as only boys in junior high and high school can!

I guess they saw it as harmless fun, versus popping our collars, wearing leather jackets and smoking cigarettes on the corner until all hours of the morning.

The club lasted from 1966 to 1971.  And we all eventually went our separate ways.  College, marriage, children, divorce.  Life.

Afterward, Ken did perform for a few years professionally as a clown!  At least one of us made the cut…


AMEN, Sistuh!

Roberta X(from the lovely, talented, and geekily knowledgeable Roberta X, in part…)


Everyone running for the Democrat nomination wants to turn a large number of gun-owning citizens into some kind of Federal criminal, with the only question being, “felon or malefeasant?”  But only one of them has hands-on experience in the kind of police-state tactics it would take to make that work, and in making them palatable to a population of people who could reasonably be expected to be skeptical.

Meanwhile, most of GOP’s hot prospects are sellin’ various flavors of Return-to-Jesusland* and shippin’ out the Dangerously Brown (a difficult trick — y’know how there are so many guns in the U.S. that no power could ever grab ’em all?  Imagine if those guns had volition didn’t want to be found…).  I’ll grant that there are serious, good reasons — including humanitarian ones — for a more secure and better-patrolled border; it’s this business of plannin’ to comb through the population and root out a “dangerous element” often referred to as “parasitic” that stinks on ice to me — and it should to you, too.  Do you recall what kinds of societies had any success at that kind of thing?  Do you realize what it takes to make it work? (Ahem, “Papers, please?”)  Did you sleep through World History class?

This is one of the lousiest candidate pools I have ever seen. Mr. Bloomberg is the worst of them — worse than Mr. Sanders, worse than Mr. Trump.  If he enters the race, I may have to vote in the Democrat primary just so I can vote against him.
* Except this country never was. The American Revolution can be cast as a kind of dialogue between the Enlightenment/Age of Reason ideas that pushed it and the Great Awakenings that bookended it.  From that angle, the Establishment Clause of  First Amendment represents a brilliantly common goal: neither party was desirous of a State church.  Thus the United States was explicitly made a safe place for believers and nonbelievers of every stripe.  This is a delicate balance and has been maintained with varying degrees of elegance and civility though the years.  We should fear any politician who feels a mandate to Do Good — especially if he or she believes it was granted by Divine authority.

There’s really nothing further to say on this subject.

The Warrior Ethic

What Happened to the Warrior’s Ethic?

Via comment by Anonymous on Confederate flag prompts school lockdown: Student   (SERIOUSLY? – Guffaw)

David Yeagley

A good man who posted many Confederate pieces.  He left us way too soon and may you rest in piece, brave warrior.

Yankees respected Confederates. Why must we despise them today?

Back in 2006, my wife and I went to a friend’s house to watch Oscar De La Hoya fight Ricardo Mayorga for the World Boxing Council light–middleweight boxing championship. My wife was unfamiliar with professional boxing and was taken aback by the trash talking between the two foes, which HBO recapped during the intro to the show. “You’re going to be my bitch in my bed anytime I want you,” was one of Mr. Mayorga’s more printable insults.

Mr. De La Hoya won handily with a 6th round TKO, to the delight of many fans and my wife as well.

But, to her surprise, the fighters embraced after the fight and appeared to let bygones be bygones.
“You are a great fighter, a great champion,” Mr. Mayorga said. “I apologize for everything I said to you.”

How, she wondered, could everything be so easily settled?

The fact is, settling grievances through combat is pretty common. Kids at schools everywhere still “take it outside” and are often friends afterwards. Fighters in the boxing ring, the UFC, and other combat sports routinely find their grievances settled after a fight.

This is sometimes referred to as “the warrior’s ethic.” If a problem can’t be talked out, it can be settled by combat, often followed by mutual respect between winner and the loser.

David Yeagley, who spoke several times at American Renaissance conferences, was a Comanche activist who understood the warrior ethic:

While I believe in ‘The Warrior Ethic’, I do not believe it applies in all combat.
If someone was trying to relieve me (or my family and friends) of Life or Property, for example.  Assuming we survive, and the miscreants are in handcuffs, being prepared for extraction to the local jail (or hospital), I would have no thought of shaking their hands and exclaiming “good try”, or some other nonsense.
And certainly, those who are trying to relieve us of our Liberty deserve no ‘civil handshake’ after the ‘festivities’ have ended.
These are not hockey matches.
And, I don’t expect a handshake from the Gestapo as the boxcars pull out of the station…
h/t Brock Townsend

Dude, I Want That!

Back-in-the-day, in a previous lifetime, I was married.  And, ‘the wife’ and I, like most young married folk, were poor.

NOT living on the street-out-of-dumpsters poor, but we weren’t yuppies…

And we spent much of our free time off together window shopping.  We would adjourn to one of the nicer malls and walk around, people watching, and looking agog at the clean, shiny goods in the various stores.

Most ALL of which we couldn’t afford.  It was cheap entertainment.

Now, here it is 35-ish years later.  I’m divorced (although my ex-wife lives about 1/4 mile N.E. of me, and we remain friends).  And walking long distances on tiled concrete is not something my legs and feet tolerate very well.

SO, as with many other things, I ‘live’ on the Internet!

Now, the nice thing about this (aside from wearing boxer shorts whist ‘window shopping’) are the myriad of shopping locations – Amazon, EBay, L.L.Bean, Brownells, Duluth Trading, Dillon Reloading.

But wait, there’s MORE! (as they intone on late night TV).


and DUDE I WANT THAT!  :-)

Now I don’t know which came first – and I really don’t care (nor do I receive anything from them, FTC!), but these carbon copies of each other are wonderful merchants who market to MEN (and like-minded women) all manner of things through their respective retailers.

Subcategories in Uncrate

Subcategories in Werd


Just what every guy with spare funds needs to fritter about a weekend afternoon, purchasing everything from ecofriendly toothbrushes and razors, to rye whiskey and SUVs!

Or, if you are like me, just windows shops…

Everything that’s old is new again!

And Now, For Something Completely Different…

(apologies to Monty Python fans who thought this post was about them!)

Long time readers (all 6 of you) probably remember I was once an amateur/semi-professional magician, and that magic is a memory of my youth that warms my heart.  With that in mind, please enjoy the following:

(BTW, Harrison Ford uses language NSFW!)

h/t Doc in Yuma



Courtesy of Claire Wolfe…



Aren’t they slick? And sleek. And tough. And Kershaw quality all the way. We’ve just gotten these customized, Ken Onion-designed spring-assist folders. Check them out in our store.

TZP president Brad Alpert (of the Missouri Bullet Company) chose them personally, and as soon as I heard he’d selected a Kershaw I knew they’d be good. The two Kershaws I own are as sharp and beautiful as when they were new (and that’s despite the fact that I got one of them at a garage sale from somebody who’d put it to hard use). This one’s going to be a classic.

Need I say: get ‘em while they last. :-)


THREE-YEAR MEMBERS, don’t forget! If you’re a 3-year Founding Member, you get 10% off all TZP store purchases (excluding our CafePress and Queensboro stores). If you’re a Premium Founding Member, your discount is 15%.

You must be logged in to your account to get the discount, so if you don’t yet have a login, create one. If you didn’t get your introductory email with login instructions or you’ve lost track of it, contact us at tzpstore-at-zelmanpartisans-dot-com and we’ll see that you get the info.


Custom kippot to come: At the suggestion of one of our supporters, we’ll be adding TZP custom kippot (aka kippahs or yarmulkes) to the store around Independence day. Watch for them. These will be quality linen kippot with an embroidered TZP logo. Great conversation starters. (And depending on how irreverent your sense of humor is, you don’t even have to be a Jewish man to wear one. Or two.)

We apologize. Quite a bit of outgoing TZP email has disappeared into the ether. We hope to fix this soon by moving to a new server. In the meantime, if you didn’t get a receipt or other acknowledgement from us, it’s most likely our problem and we’re working on it.

Snail mail payment option available: A few people have said they will not or cannot use PayPal. If you want to join TZP or buy from our store, we now have a snailing address for taking orders. Contact us at tzpstore-at-zelmanpartisans-dot-com and we’ll email the address to you.


We’ve been so moved by the support you’ve given TZP right from the beginning. You should know what we’re planning for the future. First order of business, as you see, is to keep good, informative blogging going while also creating some steady income through memberships and product sales.

With that in mind, we’re focusing on building an excellent store. Not a big store, but one featuring quality goods you can’t get elsewhere. When that’s farther along we’ll undertake our first special project. What will it be? Video? Campaign? Book? A line of user-friendly booklets (like the late, great Gran’pa Jacks from Aaron’s JPFO)? We don’t know yet. When that time comes we’ll probably ask your help in determining the best project to educate, excite, and keep the Zelman legacy strong.

We’re aiming for slow, but steady and responsible, growth. Meantime, everyone involved with TZP remains a volunteer. From the officers to the writers to order fulfillers, everyone’s here solely out of commitment to the cause.

Thanks for being with the Partisans.

(Now go grab yourself a knife.)

I LUVS me my Kershaw Blur!  And covet pretty much every other Kershaw I’ve seen.  And how great to honor Aaron Zelman.  (and FTC –  Kershaw gives me nothing save fine knives at a good price!)

h/t The Zelman Partisans

Walking In A German W(u)onderland!

I’ve always liked miniature stuff.  (Insert rude joke here)  H-O train sets when I was a kid; stuff near impossible to make tiny.  My ex spent many years crafting dioramas of rooms, scenes from antique homes, complete with carpet, furniture and art.  All to scale.  Not in my skill set.

I marvel at people’s ability to craft such things.  Perhaps because I was never any good at it.

A friend pointed me to this You Tube video of a German marvel that is becoming a major tourist attraction:

This tiny wonder brings millions to Hamburg, Germany every year!  And is constantly be added to and tweaked.

I suspect I’ll never get to see Europe, but, THIS would definitely be on my itinerary, were I to go.

(Well, this and BEER!  :-) )

h/t Judy

Because MAD MEN…(NSFW)

The last and final SEVEN episodes start tonight!


(Yeah, I know, I’m a dirty old man!)

The ubiquitous and intense (and sometimes sexy) show, which reveals for us mores and folkways of Madison Avenue in the 60’s and 70’s is back.  Complete with the political incorrectness, drinking and smoking in the workplace, and sometimes the degradation of women.

It was a different time.

We have evolved.

But we still like women.

Death Of The Cinema

dvdI remember as a child, the whole fam damly (as it was sometimes described) being shuffled into the station wagon, and off to the movies!  Usually, a drive in theater.  They were ubiquitous, and readily available in the Arizona weather.  Much of the time, they were an extension of the TV-as-babysitter, translation:  put the boy in from of a moving picture and he’ll go out like a light!

Then later in my youth, being dropped off at a Saturday afternoon matinee, with a friend or two, and funds for goodies – what a way to get them out of the house and from under foot.  The only rule was call when the movie let out (translation:  make certain you had a dime left from that fiver!)

Being a self-described child of TV, when gadget-addict friend Bob P. (one of the many Bobs) announced he had a videotape player/recorder, I knew something was beginning to change.  This Magnavox machine took VHS tapes, but no standard had yet to be decided upon, and tapes made upon it wouldn’t play on later standardized VHS machines!  It also had vacuum tubes as part of it’s construction, weighed a ton, and cost about $1000 (in 1975 dollars)!

Thus began the slow decline as technology continued to develop, and people began renting Beta and VHS tapes, (remember Laserdiscs?) then DIVX, then DVD, and now can see many movies/TV shows via the Internet and BlueRay.

And the audience figured out that while the kids used to hang out in the back of the Vista Cruiser in their jammies, and the adults dressed up to go to the theater, it was just more convenient for all to stay in the living room in their jammies.  (Or boxer shorts, in the case of my Dad.)

And cheaper.

And you didn’t have to trudge across a gravel-laden parking lot in the dark to a grimy snack bar restroom, either.

And while the drive ins have mostly faded away, now the indoor theaters are as well.  Few want to pay $15+ each for a seat, plus another $20 for drinks and snacks, when they can watch Netflix or Amazon at home in their skivvies.

Another childhood dream of a secret agent meeting place in an nearly empty theater is going away.

And teenaged fantasies of making out (or more) in Dad’s station wagon now have to be redirected.

Declining Theater Attendance @ a 20 Year Low

h/t Flavorwire

(FTC – Magnavox, Amazon and Netflix have given me nothing!)

♫ Unremarkable ♫

That’s what we are. ♫  (with apologies to the late, great Nat King Cole)

From Caleb @ Gun Nuts:

Carrying a gun does not make me special. It doesn’t make me different, it doesn’t make me a sheepdog, and it shouldn’t be treated like an occasion. The act of every day concealed carry should be no more interesting or dramatic than the act of buckling your seatbelt, washing your hands during flu season, or changing the batteries in your smoke detectors.


Stop treating CCW like it’s special. It’s not. You’re just carrying the most effective tool available to defend yourself from violence. It’s a fire extinguisher. There’s nothing special about keeping a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink. I want owning and carrying a Glock 19 to have the same level of remarkableness as owning a Toyota Camry.

You should really go to the link above and read Caleb’s entire editorial.

He is correct, of course.  Unless you are military, spec ops, civilian police or private security, you are NOT a sheepdog, superhero or James Bond.  You are just a piece of flotsam out there taking some responsibility for your own protection.  Good for you (as far as that goes) but your adrenaline and bp shouldn’t go up just because you gear up.

Putting on an IWB holster should be no different than picking up your keys or clipping your folding knife in your pocket!

There is no big red S on your chest.

not superman

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw



guffaw1952 (at) hotmail (dot) com

What ‘They’ Are Saying About Guffaw…

"Guffaw is 'controversial' " - Vietnam-era Green Beret 'Doc'

"One of my favorites, I love the old P.I. stories. They have a nice Mickey Spillane feel to them." - Siddhartha

" avid arms man." - Natalie

"Old Private Investigator Entertainment. OPIE" :-D - North

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x 4 ! Thank you North, Tango Juliet, ProudHillbilly and Fill Yer Hands!

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"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

Penn Jillette

“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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