Happy Birthday Jackie Chan!

Do I really need to tell you who he is? He’s…he’s Jackie Chan.

His movie career started as a stuntman in movies starring some guy named Bruce Lee. After the untimely death of the world’s greatest Martial Arts movie star, studios were wanting the next big thing. Actually, they just wanted a carbon copy of Bruce Lee. But instead of the next Bruce Lee, Jackie gave them the first Jackie Chan. And the world is a better place because of him. Celebrate his birthday by watching one of his movies!

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The Cigarette Lighter

The weirdest experience I’ve ever had with a lighter was when I was eating breakfast at Braum’s (which is never a good idea) and a woman came up to the table where my friend and I were asked if either of us had a light. I said “yeah, I do, actually.” So she took it, promising to return it as soon as she was finished smoking her cigarette outside. It was like in the old movies when the gorgeous woman asks for a light and the properly prepared gent with the lighter offers to light it for her in the fancy nightclub…except nothing at all like that. This was at Braum’s.They serve greasy food and messy milkshakes. The floors are always dirty, the tables are always dirty, the air is dirty. I’m not a fan of that place. I do like their milkshakes. Back to the story. This lady wasn’t the diamond wearing doll-faced gal either. She was a customer at Braum’s. I didn’t want the lighter back. So my friend and I left.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, except, perhaps, the fact that I don’t smoke. No one in my family smokes.

So why do I carry a cigarette lighter?

Fire has been vital to humanity since prehistory. Now that anyone can buy this power for a couple of dollars, everyone underestimates its significance.

Survival is impossible without fire. Like my last post states, I think having a handkerchief is important for survival. But you won’t last long at all without fire. I just saw Bear Grylls on television last night and he said to build a fire before searching for food and water. So I feel validated. And remember the Goofy Movie? If their car didn’t have a cigarette lighter, that can would’ve stayed cold. I don’t think they even make cars with cigarette lighters anymore. Another reason to have one in your pocket like me. And don’t think the wilderness is the only place you’ll ever need a lighter. Every year in most American states and most countries of the world, there’s something called winter. It gets cold. I’ve read stories of people getting stranded on highways during harsh winter nights and all they could do was take shelter in their broken down car until daylight. Fortunately, some of these people had emergency candles (which I also recommend) and cigarette lighters. That one little flame, with a window slightly cracked for oxygen, kept those people alive in temperatures well below freezing. By the way, I also keep a heavy blanket in my car at all times, and recommend you do the same.

I’ve had a few splinters in my life, and will get many more before I exit. To dig them out of one’s flesh, they need something small and sharp. Those small sharp objects need to be sterile. Running it through a flame is a great way to quickly purify the needle. Were you thinking of Lindsay Lohan in Parent Trap just then? I was. Sterilizing a needle is good for emergency surgeries in survival situations too, like when Jedediah Smith was mauled by a bear and his buddies had to sew his face back on. I hope that never happens to anyone reading this.

Maybe this was too generalized. I can’t think of anything else. I was hoping to have more for you.

If you happen to hear some beautiful music and you’re just moved to do it, you could pull out the lighter and wave it around to show your support…? I have no idea why people wave lighters at concerts. I did that one time when I was singing with a group of college students and got in trouble by one of them. She was an RA (I don’t know what they’re supposed to do. I think they’re hall monitors for college) and informed me that lighters were not allowed on campus. She could’ve fined me for having it on campus. I’m even allowed to carry a lighter onto an airplane. They don’t let me take fingernail clippers on the plane, but the lighter is okay. So I think I should be allowed to have a lighter on a college campus. But that’s not your problem. I place my paranoia of apocalyptic survival at a higher level of importance than their paranoia of my lighter.

I’m surprised by the numerous times I’ve used my lighter in everyday situations. Lighting birthday candles, revealing invisible ink, burning messages from secret agents, igniting fuses of smoke bombs, burning witches at the stake, burning copies of Twilight, etc. You’d be shocked by how much you use a lighter if you decide to get one yourself. I hope you know I was joking about all of those things in the last sentence. It’s hard to joke on the internet.

But almost every time someone sees my lighter, they ask “why do you have a lighter?” like it’s a bad thing.

Let’s recap. The reason for a lighter is for fire. Fire warms, protects, illuminates, cooks, boils, purifies. Fire is a foundational need for humanity. We have fancy gas-powered and electric lights and ovens and heaters, but these are less stable than we want to admit to ourselves. Having that little lighter in my pocket gives me a survival advantage that I won’t easily give up.

So the question should not be why do I have a lighter, but why don’t you?

The 5 Types of Knives from Office to Adventure

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Since the beginning of civilization, blades have been the simplest and greatest tool in man’s battle against the wilderness. As time progressed and mankind advanced, the knife improved as well to match the need. It was a given understanding that everyone owned a knife. Only in the past twenty years has society deemed the knife a terrifying weapon, banishing it from the belt and pocket of the everyday man. Modern society has demonized the knife, which is slowly opening a rift of inconvenience and impracticality. To help you avoid falling into this rift, I have composed a list of knives ranked by level of convenience. In all the photos shown, each of these knives is less than five and one half inches (This is the legal limit in the state of Texas. Check your own state knife regulations) and legal to carry everywhere. (With the exception of certain government buildings)

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Superlight: I describe a superlight as any folding knife with a blade under two inches in length. While these blades have very limited use in everyday life, they make up for this by being nearly weightless and altogether discrete and convenient to carry. They can be stocked in a back pocket, hooked on a key ring, or tucked in a sock without a second thought. If you’re looking for a tiny, unnoticeable knife to open letters and trim clothes tags, then these compact blades could suit you perfectly.

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Utility Blades: A utility blade would be any knife with multiple functions. These knives can have dozens of attachments and, on occasion can present tools that I’m not sure the makers even know what they’re supposed to do. These knives certainly have a great convenience value without taking up much space in a pocket or bag. I would recommend a twenty dollar Swiss army knife to everyone. These knives tend to be cheap, durable, and all around a classic trademark blade for any adventurer.

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Light Folders: Any simple folding blade with a blade in the two to four inches range, I deem a light folder. This is about the largest knife any average citizen will ever need. It can open boxes, cut packaging and rope, or just be a nice pocket decoration to try and blend in with the rest of your crazy knife-toting friends. Though these blades are not typically high-performance knives, I find that anything from a lockless knife to a spring lock can do most jobs perfectly well.

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Heavy Folders: My personal favorite, heavy folders are any knife above four inches which possess strong locking mechanisms and some degree of quality steel and handle reinforcement. As folding technology and durable light weight material advances, the use of these knives is becoming nearly limitless. If you don’t mind putting up with a little extra pocket weight and a lot of terrified glances from your friends and co-workers, these knives can fulfill just about any cutting requirement needed. I have personally felled small trees with the use of the knives above. Though one should be hesitant to pull these knives out, for fear of frightening the faint of heart, just knowing you have the power to chop down a tree in your pocket can make your day feel just a little better.

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Fixed Blades: Although knife laws allow for such blades, I would rarely recommend these blades for every day carry. You could have a foot long sword folded up in your pants and no one would notice or care, but once you show them five inches of blade nestled in a scabbard on your belt, things go bad quickly. Though these knifes win out in durability and ease of access, the flashy nature of a big fix blade knife often scares people, rendering them useless in the field of discretion. Though it is your right to carry any blade within legal length, I would recommend, for the sake of convenience and general civic courtesy, to stay on the discrete side and make sure any fixed blade you carry is less than four inches. The three knives above are legal to carry in the state of Texas, though I have never opted to do so, simply because I can carry a blade of the same length and similar strength folded in my pocket. No muss, no fuss, and no police called.

This being an opinion article, I can only give you a recommendation. Weighing the options, the choice is yours. If you want to carry a five and a half inch fixed blade and have people run from you like gazelle from a tap dancing lion, then that is your prerogative. As well, if you want to carry a micro knife that can barely do the job of an overgrown fingernail, then that is what you may do. If you want to carry six dozen massive folding knives all over your person like a doomsday prepper just robbed the Joker, then you can do that too. (I’m one for the latter) With this little bit of information, I hope you will be able to make an informed decision when you finally do decide to get a knife to carry. And, by all means, please do get a knife.