This is Bistek al la Mexicana a common dish found many places. There are several places I get this some better than others but all real decent! Kind of a tomato based sauce with generally pretty tender pieces of beef and a fair amount of it. The rice is pretty generic but the frijoles can be something else. This also includes as many fresh made in front of you tortillas you want and brought to you with a smile. Something like this costs around 50-60 pesos or $3. The squeezed as you watch orange juice is 20 and brings the price up a bit but worth it. Nothing in the States I've ever had compares to this not even close plus it'll cost 7-10 smacks. I don't know what I'm going to eat when I return. It will be an adjustment as I do this so much that is go into Puerto Vallarta on the south side and have me a excellent lunch with "real" Mexican food not the slop I get back there. I do not plan on eating out much at all only at maybe three select places. Pricey yes but worth it because it's so good. I threw away so much money last summer eating way overpriced shitty food. Several times the food got thrown away as well. The whole of Mexico is an eating machine I tell you. I'm gonna miss this.

I feel good and and think the higher temps and humidity contributes to that. It's the same every time. After a month or two you realize and say " Hey I feel pretty damn good!"

Just as important I believe the food made fresh with wholesome fresh ingredients as well contributes to that. Get off the bus in town the food smells everywhere make me hungry just like that.


Iowa Guard/Col. Hapgood And OTC

OTC has made two posts on the Iowa Guard doing training exercises in a small town by the name of Arcadia. They are here and here. The story was seen at Texas Preppers and then OTC made those two posts. The article referred to came out of the nearby newspaper in Carroll,Iowa about this training exercise here.

Let's get this out of the way first. Col. Hapgood is owed an apology by me. I could go back and change what was written but no way can that be done. I called him a liar based on what was in the article without knowing enough about it. There are still issues that remain unanswered to me that are important and hope to have a better understanding eventually of how frequent these exercises occur and who makes the decisions on them. I totally respect Col. Hapgoods dedication and service to our country and offer up a sincere apology.

After reading the piece in the Carroll paper I e-mailed Butch Heman who wrote it but have not heard back on whether he had any more information. Googled Iowa Guard and e-mailed an address asking this-

I understand that similar training exercises have been performed in other places. Could you tell me how much this is done or point me in a direction to find out. Was the canceled exercise in Arcadia a local decision or was the decision to hold this made somewhere else outside of Carroll?

A response came and it was from Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood who was mentioned in the article. The response from the Colonel is below in it's entirety with permission to use it from him.

Thank you for your interest in the Iowa National Guard and for your
thoughtful comments. Your email regarding the proposed training event was one
of the most civil we received-the majority accused the Iowa National Guard of
all kinds of "treasonous" behavior and often the writer employed profanity,
accusation, and even a few death threats.

The bottom line is that as no active duty bases exist in Iowa, and as the
Iowa National Guard's primary training center, Camp Dodge, has a very small
MOUT site (Military Operations in Urban Terrain), in order to simulate with
any realism an urban environment that our Soldiers will operate in while
deployed in combat to Iraq, Afghanistan, or other possible locations, we work
with our communities to utilize neighborhoods and towns. We've been
partnering with our communities over the course of decades in Iowa and we
consider this type of training event as very routine business. The citizens
and city leadership of Arcadia are very supportive of our Soldiers,
completely support the training, and are excited to be a part of the training

The training event has not been canceled. After review of the proposed
training by the unit and battalion leadership, they've decided to shift the
training focus to squad and platoon-level proficiency, which requires less
training area and can be held at the unit's armory site.

This specific unit, Company A, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry has previously
deployed to Afghanistan, has unit members who have also deployed to Iraq, and
the unit has received a training notification from the Dept. of Defense that
it may be mobilized again for combat in the near future. It is our sacred
duty as an organization to prepare these Soldiers to the highest degree of
readiness before we send them into harm's way. And you would be hard-pressed
to find greater patriots or stronger advocates and protectors of the U.S.
Constitution (including the Second Amendment) than the men and women of the
Iowa National Guard.

Thank you for your support of our men and women.

Best regards.

Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood
Public Affairs Officer
Iowa National Guard

I responded with this-

Thank you for your response. Most have not heard of these types of exercises in that they are intended to prepare these men for duty outside the US.

Given the political climate of these last years you may understand why so many have taken a dim view on this.

The piece in the Carroll paper made no mention of the history behind this and the intended use of this exercise.

It appeared to me this was training for possible action here in the states if required but no matter what it can be used here as well if ordered.

I do not agree with this at this time and it appears the writer did somewhat of a disservice to everyone in framing this into something that it was not.

I am one that happens to believe economic conditions in our country will become such that actions by local guard units may be ordered to keep the peace-I sincerely hope not but chances are better for that happening then ever before.

It does seem to me training such as this in small towns in Iowa does not fit in with what will be experienced for real elsewhere.

May I have your permission to use this response from you in my blog. I posted on this story two times and was not very nice. By doing so it will clear up what many are thinking and will post a link to the site I originally saw it and send you the link to my post as well. I will also make an apology to you in the one post I made.

It just seems to me this type of training is not right and appears to be geared against civilians here in this country. If you could share anything else to dispel that idea that would help because that is why people are so pissed off.

I'm sorry so many were nasty to you and even though I disagree at this time until I know a bit more I respect your position and I thank you for your service to our country.

His response back was-

Feel free to use my response in your blog. We are preparing our men and women
to the best degree of readiness by utilizing the resources we have-it's that

If you grew up in Iowa you have an understanding of who we are and what we
stand for, contrary to what folks outside of the state assume.

Best regards.

Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood

Still unclear to me on how much of this type of training is being done in the states and by who exactly orders these exercises. The way the article was written it seemed to me and I'm sure a lot of others who read this the effort by the guard was aimed at civilians in this country and was not geared to fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. There was much room for confusion in this article and Mr. Butch Heman who wrote this gets a link to this post.

All of us want these men to be prepared as possible for what they will be facing in our two major wars we are involved with but none of us want the military preparing to battle us.

Please offer your thoughts on this.


  1. Ooooh, dahlin.
    The Col.'s a lifer asshole.

    whaddaya spoze was his point mentioning the 2nd Amendment? We could spend a long evening drinking scotch and discussing it...

    There is no place in any part of the world that we have NOT already invaded that looks anything LIKE an Iowa town. I was out there in that part of the world--Peshawar--in the '60s a little. If they wanted to train in 'authentic' terrain, I know some pueblos out here where I live --abq, nm-- that much more closely resemble the architecture and "urban" topography of central and southwest Asia...

    Don't make the mistake of believing Obama being CiC is going to fundamentally alter any plans already in train. Remember how they treated Clenis, even BEFORE Monica...The military's grip on the country has not relaxed.

  2. I'm not convinced, not by a long shot.

    I am sorry, but I suspect that if LCOL Hapgood is ordered to take his troops and enforce martial law on a U.S. town, that's exactly what he will do. I do not understand what training in an Iowa town has to do with either Iraq (desert) or Afghanistan (mountains and desert).

    Something still smells not quite right.

  3. This does have an aroma for sure. Of course he would follow orders as they all would probably.

    I e-mailed the fellow from the paper and challenged him to do a follow up to clarify some things. Have not heard anything from him.

    Will try to find out more about this type of "exercise" as I'm curious plus it's important too.

  4. RNC in New York, RNC in Minneapolis, The DNC in Denver, The WTO in Seattle, tghe protest in Portland Oregon, the troops deployed on soverign soil, the anti riot, semi lethal weapons program.
    I don't usually screw down my tinfoil hat but I can see a bit of a pattern here.
    It's nice that you had a discource with this guy because you have no facts.
    I see a pattern and I wouldn't believe a word out of this guys mouth if I was standing behind him while he ordered a cheeseburger at McDonalds.

  5. The National Guard typically does have shortfalls in training and training resources. My guess is that maybe someone got a little too creative here.

    It's also not unusual for the press to not look into the history of the operations they're reporting on. A few years ago, I saw a BBC article on an exercise in Korea that was supposed to be provocative for some reason. The U.S. command there stated that they run the same exercise every year. This was, in fact, true. I attended one of those exercises back in the '80s. They were an annual event in all the intervening years. I wrote as much to the BBC, including explaining that I'd been there at the time. I also suggested they visit Jane's and ask them about it.

    They never printed anything more on the subject, leaving it to sound like this was something the U.S. had just dreamed up. I've learned over the years to never assume that the press will ask the obvious questions.

  6. This was a rewarding link to follow.....