A Grand Experiment

This evening, I embark on a grand adventure. A journey to rival that of Odysseus himself. An epoch with the potential to define a generation. Legends of this sojourn will echo through the ages. Tales will grace the lips of a thousand troubadours in an endless soliloquy.

Or I am going to put some liquid in a receptacle and wait a long damn time.

Either way, it’s gonna be f**king awesome… fine, it will be at least marginally interesting. The point is, I’m excited and I will be documenting the process on this here blog.

It is now that I realize I have neglected to share even the most basic details of this tantalizing enterprise. As you may know, I recently returned from a trip to 10 day trip to Israel. I returned with two significant additions to my worldly possessions: a tattoo and a bottle of Israeli New Make Single Malt. New Make, in case you’re not familiar, is un-aged whiskey.

When I arrived home and set about to sampling the whiskey, I was less than impressed. It was, in a word, regrettable. So, what is a man to do when his whiskey is less than he had hoped? Age it, obviously.



Delete Facebook

Facebook is a horrifying den of trolling, hyperbole, and toxicity. Ben Kenobi would likely call it a hive of scum and villainy. In short, Facebook is the worst. The list of reasons to detest Facebook are legion and well-trodden. Yet, recently there is a new outrage du jour.

Cambridge Analytica has reportedly collected data on as many as 87 million Facebook users which it used to target ads for various political candidates including Donald Trump in the 2016 election. According to most people in the media, they cracked the code on mind control and were able to make people vote for the Donald.

How did they do this? Whenever you use Facebook to login to an app or service (like those personality quizzes), that app gets access to some of your data. How much access is determined by what permissions the app requests. Some apps don’t request any of your personal information, some apps get access to everything you put on Facebook (including the things you have set to only be seen by you).

Cambridge Analytica took advantage of this system. They partnered with the developer of a personality quiz and scraped all of the data that quiz takers gave to the maker of the quiz. What kind of information did they get? Theoretically, they got your name, date of birth, work history, education history, favorite TV shows, favorite books, favorite movies, family members, friends, political views, photos, likes, comments, everything you have ever posted, and much more.

However, it’s wrong to think that they got all this information by ‘stealing’ it. Facebook users voluntarily gave all of this information to them. Nothing Cambridge Analytica did violates Facebook’s terms of service. In fact, nothing they did was even unprecedented. The Obama campaign used the same data mining tactics in 2008 and 2012.

With all of that said, Facebook is still the worst. There are dozens of reasons you shouldn’t use Facebook. But I understand that just deleting your Facebook account isn’t terribly practical. So I wanted to highlight some things you can do to reduce your exposer to the blight.

Turn Off Facebook’s App Platform

Facebook’s app platform is the biggest privacy hole that you probably didn’t know existed. When you log into an app or service, they get access to a massive amount of your data. Disabling the entire platform is the best way to plug that hole.

You can do this by opening Facebook (on a desktop) clicking on the ▼ icon in the top right corner > settings > apps > “apps, websites and games” > edit > turn off.

Review the apps connected to your account

If you aren’t willing to completely disable the app platform, then you should review all of the apps that are connected to your Facebook account and delete any that you don’t use.

To see all the apps connected to your account, open Facebook (on a desktop) and click on the ▼ icon in the top right corner > settings > apps.

Delete the Facebook App

I can’t even begin to explain how horrifying the Facebook mobile app is. Don’t believe me? Open your battery settings and I will wager that Facebook is one of the heaviest consumers of your battery life even if you don’t use it much. Not only does the app eat your battery, it gives Facebook hooks into your data at a very deep level. Through the app, Facebook is able to access your location, contacts, installed apps, microphone, camera, and schedule (and that’s just what they admit to accessing).

If you delete the app but still want to use Facebook, you have options. You can add the Facebook mobile website to your home screen by going to Facebook and clicking share > add to home screen > add.

You should always be wary of free services. A good rule of thumb is that if you aren’t paying for a service, you’re not the customer, you’re the product. Odds are, if you can’t identify a business model, the model is to sell your data to advertisers.


International Whiskey Day 🥃

The first whiskey I ever ordered was a Jim Beam at an open bar at Hooters (never do this, for many reasons). I asked the bartender to add a dash of water because I read somewhere that it opens up the flavors of a whiskey (which is true). The result was an abomination. She returned with a 12 Oz. beer glass with, I assume, 2 Oz. of Beam and 10 Oz. of water. Needless to say, 10 Oz. of water doesn’t open up sh*t in 2 Oz. of Jim Beam. Which is why you should never, ever ask a Hooters bartender to add water to your whiskey.

Following this horrendous misadventure, I followed the traditional (at least, I call it traditional) path of the whiskey novice: drowned in Coke  → cocktails (Manhattans and Old Fashioneds) → on the rocks → neat (the way God intended it). I also followed a fairly standard progression of whiskeys: Jim Beam → Jim Beam Black → High West Double Rye → Henry McKenna 10 → Monkey Shoulder → Laphroaig 10.

With the help of two homeless-looking guys and a lot of well-spent time, I know enough about whiskey to look like an ass-hole in any bar. When I get interested in something, I dive in head first. Whiskey has been no exception. From the fermentation, distillation, and aging process to the government regulations that impede distribution, I am fascinated by whiskey. For example, did you know that, in Single Malt whiskey, “Single” refers to the number of distilleries while “Malt” refers to the grain (100% barley)? Or, did you know that many states’ primary, if not exclusive, retailer of spirits is the state government in the form of ABC stores?

A lot of people don’t like the taste of whiskey. I can understand why. Few people would find the idea of drinking something that had been sitting in a barrel for 4 or 6 or 12 years anything but a deeply undesirable proposition. Fewer still when informed that this concoction is basically poison. But even if you don’t like the taste of whiskey, there are still plenty of reasons to love it. In fact, even if I didn’t care for the taste of whiskey I like to think that I would still find it fascinating.

Whiskey is a treasure trove of interest. If you love science, whiskey is a result of complex chemical reactions discovered (mostly by accident) over centuries. If you love history (like me), the history of whiskey is one of the richest niches in history I have yet found. If you work in government (also like me), the history of government policy aimed at whiskey production, sale, and consumption is filled with fascinating twists and turns. In short, I am convinced that no matter your interests, whiskey has something to offer.

Afterall, as Mark Twain reflected, “too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”


Ducking Autocorrect ​🤬

Few elements of iOS are more often lampooned than autocorrect. Criticisms which are broadly justified. After all, how often does someone use the word “ducking” as an adjective? I can’t count the number of times that I have inadvertently typed “New York” because I hit ‘n’ instead of ‘m’ when I was writing the word “my.” Yet, autocorrect is one of the most powerful, and overlooked, features in iOS. Not only does it correct typos, it can be programmed to turn any shortcut into a phrase. This may not seem terribly useful at first blush, but let me explain how you can leverage this tool to save you time and keystrokes.

You may not be aware of it, but you can actually create a dictionary of text expansion shortcuts in the settings on your iPhone. Go to Settings>General>Keyboard>Text Replacement. To create a new shortcut, just click the + icon in the top right corner. It will then allow you to enter a phrase and a shortcut. The shortcut is what you will type and the phrase is what it will be corrected too. For example, by default, “omw” corrects to “On My Way!”

Now, you might be getting an idea of how this could be useful. You can correct “ty” to “thank you,” “ilu” to “I love you,” or “thx” to “thanks.” But that’s just the beginning! With just a little creativity, you can turn those simple time-saving shortcuts into uber-powerful, workflow altering tools! I use four types of shortcuts on my iPhone: text expansion, Unicode, emoji shortcuts, and a fourth type of shortcut that is harder to describe.

Text Expansion

As a text expansion tool, the build in functionality is fairly limited. You cannot include line breaks or any kind of text formatting or HTML in expanded phrases–features available in TextExpander and similar application. Yet, it can be extremely useful in spite of these limitations. In fact, this is the most practical and time-saving uses for the text replacement feature. For example, “eml” is replaced with my personal email address and “weml” is replaced with my work email. “phn” is replaced with my phone number. Here are some other shortcuts that I use and have found useful:

  • “addr” → home address
  • “cfa” → “Chick-Fil-A”
  • “lrm” → a paragraph of Lorem Ipsum
  • “xmas” → “Christmas”
  • “pa” → “Patriot Academy”


Unicode symbols are basically more simplistic emoji. They are font characters such as stars, arrows, greek letters, and other symbols. I find these shortcuts especially helpful when I am taking notes on my phone. Especially my right arrow shortcut. It expands “-)” to →. I use lots of arrows when I am taking notes as a shorthand for ‘leads to’ or ‘results in.’ Another that I often use is “apl” to the Unicode Apple logo (). Here are some other useful Unicode shortcuts I use:

  • “tm” → ™
  • “str” → ★
  • “L>” → ↳
  • “pisig” → ΠΣΑ
  • “cmd” → ⌘

There is a great app for accessing and using Unicode characters on iOs called Simbol. You can use this to browse and find some characters that may be useful to you.

Emoji 🤯

Unlike Unicode, I don’t need t explain Emoji to anyone. They are practically a language unto themselves at this point (They even have their own dictionary). But given the fact that there are now hundreds of canonized emoji, scrolling through the iPhone’s emoji picker can be a flustering task when you are hunting for an oft-used character. Apple tried to remedy this with the recently used section but it can be hit or miss. One very useful trick is to convert old-fashioned emoticons into emoji. For example “:)” corrects to 🙂 or “XD” corrects to 😂. Here are some other useful examples to get you started:

  • “(:” → 🙃
  • “B)” → 😎
  • “>:(” → 😡
  • “:O” → 😱
  • “<3” → ❤
  • “</3” → 💔

Another useful way to use text replacement with emoji is to use shortcuts to input symbols. I use this on my calendar. I like to use emoji in calendar events to make the name shorter. For example “Coffee with Savannah” is ” ☕ Savannah.” Another useful set of shortcuts are the check mark and the X. I use these in emails to communicate when a task has been completed. I put my shortcuts in brackets but a quicker way would be to prefix them with an ‘x.’ I.e. “[pn]” becomes “xpn.” Here are some of the shortcuts I use:

  • “[x]” → ✔
  • “[n]” → ❌
  • “[i]” → ❗
  • “[ii]” → ‼
  • “[am]” → 🇺🇸
  • “[pn]” → 📞
  • “[mt]” → 👥


Sometimes you use a word a lot that isn’t actually a word or a word that should be capitalized but isn’t by default, you can create a shortcut to fix that. For example, I work at the Mercatus Center. Mercatus is latin and, therefore, not recognized as a word by my English keyboard. By default, iOS corrects “mercatus” to “Markets.” This can be fixed by creating a shortcut where the phrase is “mercatus” and the shortcut is “mercatus.” Additionally, the “mercatus” should be capitalized. This can be accomplished by capitalizing the phrase portion of the shortcut. Thus, a word that was previously incorrectly autocorrected, is now corrected and capitalized. Here are a few examples of how I use this strategy:

  • “aggie” → Aggie
  • “aldi” → Aldi
  • “ar15” → AR-15
  • “cpac” → CPAC
  • “montview” → Montview
  • “qi” → Qi

Another use of this strategy is to outsmart autocorrect if you regularly mistype a particular word. For example, I often hit the “n” key instead of the “m” key when I am typing the word “my.” For some reason, autocorrect does not identify this as my intent and, instead, capitalized “NY” assuming that I was referring to New York. But I circumvented this by creating a text replacement shortcut where the phrase is “my” and the shortcut is “ny.” Here are some other uses for this strategy that I employ:

  • “haga” → haha
  • “heyb” → hey
  • “lil” → lol (I rarely talk about rappers, so this doesn’t create an issue for me…)
  • “northb” → north

This last use for text replacement is unique to each person. Very few of my shortcuts will probably be useful to you. But if you think through words that you often mistype or that get wrongfully corrected, you should be able to identify a few ways to leverage this tool.

I would love to hear from you about clever little hacks that you are using with text replacement! If you have any that you have been using or if this post inspired you to think some up, tweet at me! (@KyleGriesinger)


On Armistice Day (Veterans’ Day)

On the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the howling carnage of the Great War came to a long-awaited — and desperately prayed for — end. It had been the grisliest and most gut-wrenching war in human history. Flesh had given way to steel and gas and shell on the ever-fluctuating — yet never moving — battlefields of Verdun and Flanders and the Somme. The ‘war to end all wars,’ to ‘secure a lasting peace’ and a ‘new world order,’ had petered out with little lasting change achieved and having laid the groundwork for the next global conflict which would lay waste to Europe and claim the lives of millions of brave men and women.

That is the backdrop and forgotten history of Veterans’ Day. It was begun as a way to honor those who served and died in the Great War. Traditionally, the Armistice has been celebrated by wearing a poppy on one’s lapel. It was celebrated by virtually all of the Entente powers (England, France, the United States, and Australia among others). In the United States, it was renamed Veterans’ Day and exists to commemorate all veterans, living and dead.

15-year-old me with my Grandfather. Rocking the jorts (it was a different time…)

Which brings me to my point. Happy Veterans’ Day. My grandfather, Gerald “Sarge” Griesinger, served in the Korean War. He operated a listening post on an island in the South Pacific. He rarely talked about his time in the service. Actually, I don’t think we ever discussed it. Yet, I have always been inspired by his service and I am incredibly proud of him to this day. He passed away several years ago, now. I wish that I had gotten the chance to know him better. But the two things I know beyond any doubt are that he loved his family and that he loved his country (and that he had strong opinions about how yard work ought to be done, but that’s unrelated).

In any event, be sure to thank the Veterans in your life and those you pass on the street. They have sacrificed so much for us. They deserve our undying gratitude. As Kipling put it:

“There is but one task for all;
One life for each to give.
What stands if Freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?”


Podcast: Keep Cool Like Coolidge w/ Kyle Griesinger

I had the privilege of joining my good friend Remso Martinez on the Remso Republic Podcast to talk about America’s greatest ‘do nothing’ president, Calvin Coolidge. He was a man of few words and fewer actions. Which made him America’s greatest president. An all-around badass, contemporary conservatives would do well to imitate his reservedness, devotion to principle, and devotion to the American creed.

I’ve heard the GOP called a million different things, “the party of Reagan” and “the party of Trump” to name a few. Attaching Reagan to the GOP implies the party stands for one set of ideals that may be different than if you said the party embodied Trump’s populism. The names at the end of the day don’t matter but the ideas do, and at least talk around the water cooler implies libertarians and conservatives are wanting a certain silent president’s method of government to come back. This week I’m joined by Kyle Greisinger from Outset’s Young Guns to discuss how young Republicans are trying to make Calvin Coolidge cool again.

For some fun facts about Coolidge go over to The Republican Standard where you can get additional notes.


On Barbecue

Being from Texas, I have strong opinions regarding the smoking of meat. Barbecue is the sacred tradition of my people. From the cattle ranchers perfecting brisket to the Germanic, Polish, and Czech infusion of sausage, Texas is barbecue and vice versa. When you live your life in the holy land of smoke rings and pits, you grow accustomed to a certain level of quality; a quality not easily found in other parts of the country. A fact which I quickly discovered when I moved to Virginia in 2015.

The ‘best’ barbecue in Lynchburg—where I moved in 2015—was from Dickey’s. This was the consensus of everyone I spoke to in the area. Including my fellow texpatriots (people who has left their native country of Texas), much to our disappointment. It seems that the great state of Virginia has not been informed of the Gospel of Smoke. Thus, I have set about to rectify this cruel trick of fate.

1. There is only one true style of barbecue.

Pipe down Kansas City, Memphis, and Carolina. Texas barbecue is the one and only true style of barbecue. (Oh, and while we’re talking about states, Arkansas, ‘side’ means it goes beside the barbecue. Get that coleslaw off your sandwiches. You’re embarrassing yourself.) K.C., no one likes that spicy ketchup you call barbecue sauce. Memphis, see my side-note directed at Arkansas. Carolina, Vinegar? Why? The fact that theses pretenders to the crown of smoky glory are chiefly differentiated by the bases of their sauces, proves that they are, in fact, pale imitations of the one true barbecue. Which brings me to the second law of barbecue.

2. Sauce is a crutch.

Barbecue sauce is the autotune of the smoking process. Its purpose is to cover up shoddy craftsmanship and sub-par flavor with a sugary sweet syrup that takes your mind away from the bland nothingness in your mouth. Sauced barbecue is to real barbecue, as Miley Cyrus is to the Eagles: a pale imitation and a miserable successor. True barbecue should be imbued with enough flavor from the smoking process that to smother it in sauce would be, rightly, considered laughable.

3. Pork is not barbecue. Period.

Nor is chicken, lamb, turkey, or—god forbid—fish (looking at you K.C.). With the exception of fish, these are acceptable sides for real barbecue but contemptible substitutes. What, then, is real barbecue? Beef brisket. End of discussion. In its purest form, barbecue is sliced or chopped brisket; nothing else. Ideally, served with a half-loaf of thinly sliced white bread and coleslaw, potato salad, green beans, and onions as sides.

You should now be wondering where you have to go to get this mouthwatering barbecue I have described. The answer is simple: Texas. It’s not hard to find good barbecue in Texas but if you want the best, you will need to venture off the beaten path. Kruez Market in Lockhart, Texas is the best barbecue you will taste this side of heaven (it is universally accepted that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will, in fact, be beef brisket). But, if you can’t make it to this beef oasis between Austin and San Antonio, here are some other options that will suffice:

  • Pecan Lodge (Dallas)
  • Franklin’s (Austin)
  • Black’s (Lockhart)
  • Cooper’s (Llano)
  • Smitty’s Market (Lockhart)
  • Gatlin’s (Houston)

Try any of these and your life will be forever changed.


“The Testing Time” by Paul Harvey

One of the most distinctive voices in the history of radio, Paul Harvey was, in many respects, the soundtrack of my young life. His broadcasts still echo in my head a decade later. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. Never has there been anyone more deserving of the honor. His passing was a sad day for me; made sadder by the fact that so few people of my generation knew who he was, had never heard that distinctive “hello Americans” or “this is Paul Harvey, good day.”

I recently came across this recording of a message called “The Testing Time” from the early 1960’s. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“…And now you know the rest of the story.” 
— Paul Harvey, 1918-2009 —


Thoughts on Tomi Lahren

In case you missed it, Tomi Lahren has regained control of her Facebook page. Which means that we are about to be inundated with new ‘final thoughts’—though, one has to wonder why they are ‘final thoughts’ if they’re now the whole show. Tomi lost her gig as Provocateur-in-chief at TheBlaze recently over some comments she made on The View. This post will not address the comments she made—which have been addressed and refuted thoroughly. Rather, it addresses what I view to be the deeper problem with Tomi and what she represents for modern conservatism.

Shallow Conservatism

I have not cared for Tomi since she first skyrocketed to popularity. The very first time one of her ‘final thoughts’ videos meandered into my timeline I wrote her off as a flash in the pan that didn’t have the intellectual heft to last long. I must admit, I made a serious miscalculation—not just about Tomi, but about the whole 2016 election and possibly the modern conservative movement as a whole. I honestly believed that conservatives would see through her platitudes and recognize that her conservatism was inches deep. Conservatives didn’t want intellectuals, they wanted firebrands. Rather than gravitating to the pages of the National Review or The Wall Street Journal, they flocked to the Facebook page of a fiery upstart whose shtick was going on-air and lambasting liberals, millennials, and anyone else who opposed her views.

The people didn’t want reasoned, measured conservatism; they wanted bombastic, exaggerated pragmatism. Conservatives didn’t just want to win, they wanted to decimate and destroy. They wanted revenge for decades of insults, put-downs, and ill-treatment. I think this points to a deeper, systemic flaw in the current conservative movement—something I will write more extensively on later.

The Tomi Problem

Returning to Tomi, she offers an object lesson on why it is so important to have a reasoned and holistic worldview [1] and ideology. Please note, I do not mean that conservatives must or should be ideologues; only that they should hold to an ideology and allow it to inform their views on all issues. This is where Tomi erred. Tomi seems to hold to a conservative political ideology but she does not understand the philosophical roots of that ideology, and she does not allow it to guide her on all issues.

Conservatism has a certain set of underlying presuppositions. Chief among them, that the individual—created by God—is of inestimable worth. As such, the protection of human life is the first and predominant purpose of government. Whenever government fails to protect human life, it necessarily fails its first responsibility. Tomi, knowing only the platitude of ‘limited government,’ fails to make such a nuanced distinction. She does so because she does not have a thorough grounding in conservative thought and philosophy. She should recognize that that prohibiting abortion is a limited government position because, in doing so, government remains within its proper jurisdiction—protecting the life, liberty, and property of the people.

Sadly, Tomi is a conservative Icarus. Like Icarus, filled with hubris, she flew too near the sun. Someone once said, “when your visibility exceeds your credibility, you are heading for a fall.” This perfectly illustrates the ‘Tomi’ problem. Her worldview does not operate as a unified field of truth which is comprehensive and applies to all of life including all political issues. In short, her ideological foundation is insufficient. When you gain a platform, be sure your foundation is deep enough to support it.

[1] For and understanding of what I mean by ‘worldview,’ see the first section of Dr. Glenn Martin’s essay “Biblical Christian Education: Liberation for Leadership.


I know most of you don’t understand what it’s like to ask “is dad coming home?” instead of “when is dad coming home?” That’s ok. I don’t expect you to. I know most of you have never had comfort your sister because she’s afraid her dad won’t come home. That’s ok. Not everyone could do what my dad does. 

But here is what I do ask, next time you decide to take to Facebook and bash the police, take a minute and think about it. Remember today. Today the sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters of four Dallas Police Department Officers are weeping because their police officer went on shift and isn’t coming home. The loved ones of 7 others will have nightmares for years, as some of them will put the uniform back on because when duty calls, the police answer. And think about the families of the thousands of officers around this country who want just one thing in this life: for their police officer to come home. 

Here is the other thing I ask: take a few minutes today, go on YouTube, and search “police officer attacked by suspect.” If you think that cops just are out there preying on black men then you need a wake up call. Are there abuses? Yes. Are there bad actors? Yes. However, they are few and far between. But you need to understand that at any moment in a police officer’s interaction with a suspect, things can, and often do, go sideways. Police are a target. The nature of their job places them in harms way. Until you understand that, until you’ve seen cops shot, beaten, run over, and killed in the line of duty, I’m sorry, but your criticism carries no weight with me. 

A lot of people say their dad is their hero, but mine really is a hero. David Griesinger is the most caring and compassionate man I know. He spends most nights in a squad car protecting the people of Grand Prairie, Texas. Grand Prairie is about 20 minute from downtown Dallas. My dad will put the uniform on for his next shift and he will continue to do his job despite the shadow of four fallen and seven wounded officers. Why? Because my dad is a hero. When everyone else is running out, you can find him running in, along side his fellow officers. When duty calls, the police answer.

So send up a prayer for my dad and for all the police officers who’s only wish is to come home to their family tonight. Send up a prayer for the spouses who can’t help but worry. Send up a prayer for the kids who have to ask the question no kid ever should–is daddy coming home? And send up a special prayer for the ones who got their answer late last night.