Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lodge Cast Iron Charcoal Grill Review

...the first of many many steaks, hamburgers, chicken quarters & hot dogs...
Patience (which I sometimes lack) is necessary,
along with some bricks...

For three summers on now, the little Lodge grill is every bit as good as you'd expect any Lodge Cast Iron product to be, and as a product subject for review,  I can't think of any better.

Now that the grill had a good bit is tasteful scrutiny, I can say I'm very impressed with it, it's worth every penny, but I will add... you have to be a dedicated grill master to really allow this cast iron wonder to strut it's stuff.  I've learned you must have patience. In this hurry-up world of "dinner-in-an-instant", learn to be patient and let the coals heat up the grill... the cast iron is THICK, it takes a bit of TIME for the grill to heat up.
But once it does... OH MY!

The biggest surprise I've had is the small amount of coals necessary to grill for a crowd, and once everything is cooking HOW LONG this grill stays HOT. For it's size, you can feed everyone, you can grill twice as long as you'd expect from other portable grills. What it lacks in grill space, the Sportsman Grill more than makes up in ability to grill steak, after steak, after steak, 'dozens of hotdogs, a flock of chicken... all on a single small bag of charcoal. The grill is perfect for "Cook to Order Grilling", no "come & get it" heaping pile of meat here, it's a grill that allows a personalized one or two at a time grilling experience.  This grill really shines if you wish to have a really hot grill, ready to cook, for a long period of time.

The Grill gets HOT! Smart idea to set it on something.
What also sets this grill apart from the thundering herd of outdoor grills & cookers, is the need to plan where you will be grilling. As most grills go, this one puts out a LOT of heat, and being a short, squat, Hibachi grill, the potential of it becoming a branding iron to wooden picnic tables or truck tailgates is there. If you don't have something sacrificial under it, you will leave a mark to remember the occasion. I just use some small bricks to set it on.

Room for two REALLY large steaks!
Finally, a stiff wire brush and an application of vegetable oil goes a long way. The Lodge Grill comes pre-seasoned, however with cast iron having an affinity to rust, especially if exposed outside for an extended period, it's wise to always take a stiff wire brush to the grill after things cool down to knock off any "leaven's", and add a very light coat of vegetable oil to the grill surface. This adds a moisture barrier, and further builds up a patina of carbon each time you fire up the grill. If you're like me, living in the hot humid south, it might do even better bringing the cleaned up grill inside out of the elements. Not that rust is that big of a problem mind you.... most often just a pass with a stiff wire brush is enough before you fire up.

I'm very happy with my Lodge Sportsman Grill, it's taught me patience, which REALLY has improved my grilling!
Holding hungry crowds at bay wasn't easy...
I nearly forgot. three years ago, I was so happy with a new acquisition,  I made a short video of it's first "unboxing" if you will.  Earned a gift certificate for Bass Pro Shops, enabling me to pull the trigger on a Lodge Cast Iron "Sportsman" Hibachi Grill, something I'd always lusted for but never thought I'd ever buy... just way too extravagant for the likes of me.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Memories... Operation Desert Shield Walt Disney Christmas 1990

Me, Mark Jones, & Clint Stringer picked guitar as often as we could outside the MWR tent. We got asked to play when Walt Disney came to tent city to shoot their Christmas show. Our favorite gig was our command performance for the 1st. SOW Christmas Party!

Hard to imagine, but it's been 24 years since Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm.  This Christmas, I wish to offer to everyone who served over there, and was out in the desert at the time what they missed if they were not near a TV set... Walt Disneys 1990 Desert Shield Christmas Parade.

I discovered this VHS Tape in my Parents things. They taped it because I was deployed, & one of the guitar pickers playing in the show. It thrilled them to tape the show & preserve it for posterity.
This is edited excerpts of the 8th Annual Walt Disney World Christmas Parade live telecast, which particularly feature the Men & Women service members deployed into the Gulf. Original air date Dec. 25th. 1990 
The video is dedicated to all who deployed, and especially those who might not have had the chance to watch it when it originally aired. Thank you Walt Disney for your commitment to our Military Families everywhere.
Putting things in perspective, while rapid success of Operation Desert Storm is what most focus on nowadays, Operation Desert Shield had a far larger impact on the American psyche for a greater length of time. 
Ater the first deployments in August of '90, until the fighting began mid January of '91, Americans were gripped with the fears of thousands of American causalities, and the expectation of a long protracted war against a fierce, battle-hardened enemy who had chemical weapons, and the willingness to use them.
By Christmas day 1990, when this originally aired, America was coming to grips with Saddam Hussein posing with frightened children, serving as human shields, & demonstrations in the streets, opposing our involvement in a foreign "War for Oil", and the continual debate by legislative leaders, who questioned every step the President & the Pentagon was making each & every day.
All of this happening while thousands of troops were being deployed to fight battles that had even the experts assessing a 40-50 thousand causality rate. All that makes the video even more endearing, and the effort by Walt Disney to present the family side of our commitment that much more special & commendable.
As it was 24 years ago, so it is now, Merry Christmas to all a long way from home, our thoughts & prayers are yours.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Product Review: OSI Medical Supply Modules & Advantage II Personal Vehicle Aid Kit

Being prepared to respond to injury or trauma takes on a serious role in anyones plans, perhaps the most serious thing needed to be done. For serious prepping, you need serious medical gear, the kind of medical gear which can save a life in a moment.

For the general public, store-bought First Aid Kits are a good choice for skinned knees & cut fingers, but not the serious choice for life threatening wounds, burns or physical trauma which can quickly lead to a terminal condition if swift medical attention isn't rendered quickly & effectively. For this you need professional trauma gear, the kind found in a Combat Medic's Aid Kit, an EMS first responders Go-kit, or gear you'll find in use by law enforcement out on patrol.

That's exactly what Officer Survival Initiative, (OSI) offers to the general public. OSI is NOT your Momma's Medicine Chest. OSI has been a industry leader in offering Medical Trauma Kits for EMS/Fire, Law Enforcement & Military Agencies, and recently, offering a specialized product line to the public. Now you have available a line of Medical Supplies suitable for giving aid on a Battlefield, in a Natural Disaster, or on a Beat. Got Trauma? OSI gear DELIVERS!

OSI Medical Care Modules
Are you assembling a custom BOB, or have tactical plans that demand specialized medical supplies? Look no further than OSI's line of  Specalized Trauma Aid Modules.
Trama Center in a bag

Choose from Module Kits covering Bandages &Dressing Care, Serious Bleeding, Chest Injury, even Pandemic & Disaster Personal Protection Gear. Compact & specialized, each module allows you to mix & match your own selection, based on YOUR needs, no longer having to get gear you DON'T need, just to get the gear you DO.
OSI also offers customized Module Packaging on a per client basis. Contact them direct, they'll build up modules at your direction.

Advantage II Personal Vehicle Aid Kit
In the real world, the place we all are most exposed to traumatic injury is behind the wheel of an automobile. Imagine how important it is to have medical gear that can treat injuries moments after an accident, not several minutes before Police or EMS can arrive.
That's why OSI has introduced the Advantage II Personal Vehicle Aid Kit.
With trauma injuries, stabilizing a victims burn & bleeding injuries is critical. Punctures need to be plugged, bleeding stopped, burns dressed & treated. Advantage II covers all that in SPADES!

Inside the Advantage II Ballistic Nylon Clamshell Bag, is a full complement of:

Sterile Gloves
Combat Tourniquet
4" Dressing
HALO Chest Seal
Compact Trauma Shears
Compressed Gauze
CPR Face Shield
QuikClot Package

The Advantage II includes a sturdy Velcro Harness to attach to the back of any vehicle headrest, out of the way, yet fully accessible.
OSI also offers a MOLLE harness for mounting the Advantage II to any MOLLE equipped pack or bag.

If it burns, oozes, or bleeds, the Advantage II can treat it, stabilizing the victim until help arrives, which may be all the difference between dealing with a trauma survivor... or a trauma casualty.

After reviewing the Advantage II, it's now taken a permanent place on the back of the headrest of my daily commuter, and the store-bought First Aid Kit, with the band-aids & roll of gauze, is back in the medicine chest.  OSI has the gear to save your rear!
-by Robert Hawkins / APN Product Review

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Using the Blogger App for iPhone...

Finally making it into the 21st century. Now I'll have the chance to post directly into my blog from my iPhone. Nice little app! Got a iphone and want to blog... it's easy with this app! You can get it here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

KC3VO's 2kW ham radio backpack amplifier gets the attention of the FCC! This is a preview from ARVN's "Dayton Collection" from the 2009 Dayton Hamvention. This clip comes from the "Unauthorized" Dayton TOUR. Details at