Monday, September 28, 2009

Fear & Loathing at Ragged Rock Ridge

We were a few miles out of Sperryville, doing 90 mph along State Route 231, when the acid kicked in . . .

The American Spectator's Annual Pig Roast at Al Regnery's rural estate, nestled among the Virginia foothills of the Blue Ridge, has become notorious as a scene of wicked right-wing depravity. Imagine an event that mixes the worst elements of Haight-Ashbury during the summer of '67, imperial Rome during the reign of Nero, and the infield at the Talladega 500.

Exactly what they do to that pig before it's roasted . . . well, Al doesn't need a bunch of PETA pests protesting next year's event, so I'll leave that part to your twisted imagination.

Among the non-porcine delicacies available, this year's event featured Virginia's own Wasmund's Single Malt Whiskey, of which I tasted a mere half-teaspoon, having sworn off strong spirits after the infamous 2000 Christmas party at Ralph and Millie's.

As usual, the firing range was open, with a choice of firearms and free ammunition for those who forgot to bring their own ordnance. (I fired four rounds from a .40 semi-auto pistol before it jammed. I cleared the jam and handed the pistol back to the rangemaster. "Oh, you can fire more," he said, to which I replied, "Nah. That's fine. I just wanted to be able to say I did it.")

Alcohol, firearms -- oh, almost forgot the tobacco. Richard Miniter, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, was smoking thick black Dominican cigars. But that's not exactly what you'd call "news." No one's seen Rich without a cigar since fourth grade.

Rumors that shortly before sunset I was seen hot-dogging a Yamaha quadrunner up the mountainside at full speed are neither confirmed nor denied.

Road Rage and Earlier Departures
Blog buddies Smitty and Track-A-'Crat had been invited as my guests. They arrived about 3 p.m., but for some strange reason skipped out before five o'clock. However, I didn't know this, because Ragged Rock Ridge is at least 20 miles from the nearest place you can get cell-phone reception.

My own arrival had been unfortunately delayed by a long detour when a Virginia State Trooper blue-lighted me near Front Royal. Most folks would give at least 5-to-1 odds against outrunning a high-performance Crown Vic in a 2004 KIA Optima, but it's not about the car, it's about the driver, and if I'm doing 110 mph and he's coming off a dead start . . .

Well, you do the math. At any rate, when I showed up about 5:30 p.m., the boom-boom-boom from the firing range was so heavy, I thought somebody had accidentally lit the fireworks finale before it got dark. (No fireworks, Al? If I live to see next year's event, we'll do something about that.)

Just as I was getting out of my car, legendary conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie's big Lincoln Continental came rolling down the muddy driveway, and I signalled him to lower his window. From what Viguerie told me in our brief conversation, I gathered that the proceedings had already descended into the customary bacchanalia, and Viguerie was probably wise to leave before the scene got too weird.

This may explain the early departure of my blogger guests. The annual Pig Roast is not for the faint of heart. Spectator staffers are the most hard-partying bunch of outlaws in the D.C. press corps, and the Pig Roast is for them what the '65 Labor Day run to Monterrey was for the Hell's Angels.

Hannibal Lecter Sends His Regrets
Perhaps I should have warned my guests about the intensity of the Pig Roast experience. When I called Smitty later, he didn't answer; probably too traumatized by the frenzied madness that occurs once every September up on that hill. Folks around Sperryville won't go anywhere near the place at Pig Roast time, what with the rumors of cannibalism, human sacrifice, bizarre pagan rituals and so forth.

Wherever you find guns, cigars and whiskey, good-looking womenfolk are sure to be flocking 'round, and I had my camera handy for the occasion. Of course, most of those photos won't ever see the light of day. At least let's hope it never comes to that. "Extortion" has a very narrow legal definition, and my Samoan attorney is perhaps overzealous in pursuing libel actions. At any rate, out of several dozen pictures taken at the Pig Roast, here are the tiny handful of photos that don't actually show anything illegal, immoral or unethical.

New York conservative activist Nina Rosenwald and Spectator editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. Although you can't actually see anything unethical in this photo, not all conflicts of interest can be proven photographically.

Spectator advertising manager Catherine Ruddy is single and, even with Virginia's finest single malt available, still prefers white wine. Call 703-807-2011 to place an ad or propose marriage.

Wlady Pleszczynski, babe magnet and editorial director of the Spectator, fends off unwanted advances from the magazine's advertising manager. Wlady handles all letters-to-the-editor, and has been known to reply to letters of complaint with a brief note informing the complainers that he's already reported them to the FBI.

Kerry Picket of The Washington Times and W. James Antle III, associate editor of the Spectator. Notice the Sig Sauer 9-mm semi-auto holstered on Kerry's right hip. Notice the insane fear in Jim's eyes.

Audrey Regnery, myself, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, and Alfred S. Regnery, the Pig Roast host and publisher of the Spectator. If Taranto looks like he's had a bit too much of the Wasmund's Single Malt, you should have seen him earlier, when he was reportedly skinny-dipping in Al's catfish pond.

As we were departing the event, Taranto's car was ahead of my KIA on the narrow dirt road, until I pulled a Dale Earnhart move, passed him on a blind curve and left him eating my dust. He ain't been linking me enough lately . . .

Well, I'm off to Kentucky to cover the Sparkman murder, about which Dan Riehl offers his own speculation. Looks like I'm running a bit late, if I want to be filing datelines from Clay County by noon, so I'll probably have to make the run at full speed. If any of those Virginia troopers along I-81 want to try their luck again, we'll see if they can catch the KIA.

Maybe I'll be a tad late getting to Manchester, Ky., but don't worry. Probably just another high-speed detour along the backroads. HTTJYUB.


  1. Fires a .40 caliber which jams after 4 shots and is proud to say that he "did it". Misidentifies what appears to be a Glock as a Sig Sauer in a photograph. What kind of a real southern boy doesn't know firearms better than that? I am beginning to suspect that despite his very public persona that RSM may be more of a yankee than any of us suspect.

  2. Yes, we had to eject by 1630 or so.
    Possibly we can synchronize schedules next time.
    Oh, wait...

  3. We suck (although you were arrived at least two hours later than you initially thought you would, as well...)!

    Would've been awesome to have the whole afternoon there, then gone to Kentucky as well, but I had a friend's leaving party back in DC. And I had a foul hangover.

    Next time!

  4. Too bad this event was scheduled for after your Kentucky outing -- you could have packed the KIA full of real whiskey for the return trip.

  5. Us red-necks up here in Ohio should try this. We got plenty of hogs and guns.

    By the way, the nomenclature for pistols and rifles is different for historical reasons. You fired an "automatic" pistol. "Semi-automatic" is a rifle term.

  6. I fired four rounds from a .40 semi-auto pistol before it jammed

    You're not going to like this, but you obviously "limp-wristed" when firing the weapon.

    Married with children, eh?

  7. Hey, Jim Antle is a friend and former colleague. Glad to see he's hanging around in such good company!

  8. There! Photographic evidence of you associating with racists!

    The Frogger