Monday, June 25, 2007

ROAD TRIP>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>and I was up at about 0530 so we could leave early, but sleeping beauty would not awaken, so I went back to bed. As it is, Brendan awakened at 0730, and we will be out of here within a few minutes. I figure we will hit Saranac lake by about 3:30 at the latest with no traffic, but then again we have to drive through the NY Metro area to get out of here.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Little Or No Blogging This Coming Week For Me...

...that is until next weekend. The Road rip takes off tomorrow, and I kind of doubt I will be at many, if any, motels with a computer for me to use. Sorry about that, but I will post about the trip once we get back next weekend.

All the best,
Glenn B

Road Trip Upon Us - Almost Packed...

...for the road trip. I have almost everything in the Corolla's trunk with a lot of room left over in the back seat. If I can get the larger of our two coolers into the trunk, and it is not that large, then the smaller one will come along too but in the back seat. I have about 6 bottles of water in the freezer to use later for our ice. Keeps it neater using bottled water, and when it melts it sure goes down icy cold. If I can find the room, I will put a few more bottles into the freezer overnight.

Right now I am hopeful I remembered anything we might need. The only thing I think we need one or two more of are flashlights. I think I only have one of my mini-maglights, but there are more around to be found in the house somewhere. All our other gear, with the exception of a rifle, is already in the car. That rifle, by the way, will be our Henry Survival rifle as trunk space is a premium and I want it in the trunk out of sight. Hopefully no one steals my car tonight, that would be a bummer; but I sleep lightly, and I will have the dogs and shotgun ready just in case anyone wants to try.

As for the trip route, we will plan it somewhat as we go along, but I have decided on some areas to I would like to visit and to show to Brendan. For starters, and subject to our whims and fancies of any moment, we will head up to Saranac Lake and spend two nights there. From Saranac Lake, we will be close to Ausable Chasm, and the Ausable River and some excellent trout fishing. If we decide to leave, I have some ideas after that, the next stop being Geneva, NY at the north end of Seneca Lake. This would put us nearby to Taughannock Falls State Park, and I would like to visit there to see if Brendan can duplicate his catch of a few years back when he caught a nice Brown Trout there. I am hoping to spend one night in Geneva, then move onto Niagara Falls the following day. Brendan has never had the pleasure of seeing Niagara falls as did his sister some years back. I think he will like it, and we may also take a cruise on the Erie Canal while in the area. Then the next night's stay is yet to be determined, but it has to be on the way back home as this would be Friday night, and we have to be home by late Saturday. We will see where we land on that last night; just the same as on most of the others it will depend upon what we feel like doing and where we feel like going. I guess really not being sure of where we will be going is one of the fun things about a road trip, even if I already have a route planned out. As I said earlier, it could all change based upon our whims and fancies of the moment.

I am figuring that hotels, yes we will probably stay in hotels each night of the trip (I pretty much have ruled out camping), and for the first two nights I have reserved rooms in the Best Western at Saranac lake. For the next night, it will be Motel 6 in Syracuse or Geneva, that is if we go the route I have in mind. Then it will be Holiday Inn (a free night from credit card points, and the last hotel stay I will get for those points in a long time based on how slowly they build up). Then the last night who knows, but something not too expensive. I look at it this way, Motel 6 would be fine again if we can find one on the way back home through NY or PA. I know there is a nice one in Binghamton, and my bet is Brendan would probably like to visit my uncle's old neighbors, and some fishing spots, from when he owned a farm up that way. I have been to some Motel 6's that have been horrendous but now have discovered that if you do not see the ACCOR decal on the door or in the office of the Motel 6, then it is a franchise, and not a corporate run Motel 6. All my bad experiences with Motel 6 have been at franchised ones, not at the ones displaying the ACCOR Motels insignia. I avoid the franchises like the plague. The ACCOR Motel 6's are usually very clean, with small but adequate rooms, a small pool, and free telephones for local calls, and cable TV with HBO. The people working at them are usually very nice. They are priced pretty inexpensively. One other thing I like about them is that they allow pets. Sure other hotels allow pets, at least some of them do, but do they allow these. Motel 6 let me keep this guy in my room after Brendan and I caught him in Arizona near Madera Canyon 4 years ago. It was a Sonoran Gopher Snake, around 5 1/2 feet long (click on the pic for a larger view). Yes Motel 6 does have its good point as far as I am concerned. Besides that, I look at a motel, especially on a trip like this, to be little more than a place to stop and sleep. If clean, safe, dependable, and reasonably priced then I will stop over there if along the way especially since I do not have money to burn on fancy hotels. Yes all I can think about is the washing machine I just bought, the mortgage, the college bills, and such. Yikes, but the road trip goes on, and I will scrimp and save by going to Motel 6.

Well, just a bit more to get packed. Then I have to clean up my animal enclosures. Thank goodness my wife Linda will care for all the critters for 5 days or so. She does not have to do just about anything with the snakes, but does have to feed the tortoises, the turtle, the hamsters, and the mice (5 tanks of mice alone) while we are away. She is a good woman putting up with all of this especially since she does not like any of my choices of pets.

Later for all of you, be back next weekend.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No News, No Current Events, No Politics...

...on my mind today; I couldn't focus on any of that with our upcoming road trip so near. I did some shopping at Costco, picked up a 4 foot long folding table at Lowes; and then came home and worked in the garden for a couple or few hours. After that I enjoyed a couple of heffe weisse biers. Then I got to the chore of packing for our upcoming road trip. Of course, Brendan has not been anywhere around the house today - probably with his girlfriend, but it sure would be nice if he had packed. I guess he will be busy packing tomorrow after work. Well I have all my clothes packed, and I think I have all the fishing gear we need. Now to pick a rifle of two to bring along.

I don't have any hotel reservations yet, and only one sleeping bag, so I don't know if we will be camping out or sleeping in beds in some motel. I guess it depends on where we point the Corolla when we drive away from the house. I almost cannot wait. Five days, maybe 6, on the road and having fun.

As for the rest of the night, well I guess supper is overdue, so I am about to eat. I just made myself a sardine sandwich on super heavy multigrain bread, and I slathered it with horseradish mustard. That should go good with one more heffe weisse bier. Then off to slumberland, so I can get up early tomorrow to finish my chores and our packing.

All the best,
Glenn B

Worrying About A Stranger...

...is not something I do regularly, but I have been a bit worried lately. As you may remember, I signed up with Soldiers' Angels awhile back. That meant I got assigned to a particular soldier in the U.S. Military for, I think, the next year. In that year it will be my responsibility to write to him at least once a week (or was that monthly?), and to send a care package now and again. Since being assigned to a soldier (mine is in Afghanistan) we have written to each other a few times. he is stationed in a Forward Operations Base (FOB), and I imagine he sees some action now and again quite often. I mailed out a care package to him earlier this week, or late last week (my memory is shot), and I also emailed him again. he has not replied to my email, and that actually has me worried. Can you imagine being pretty worried about someone you have never met, and probably will never meet; it is a fairly unique feeling. This is not like hearing about someone on the new, and then being concerned, this is more like being worried for a member of your family. Maybe not quite as strong as if he were an immediate family member, but certainly stronger, much stronger, than someone you hear about on the news. I guess this is because there has been that communication between the both of us already, and because we have been attached through the Soldiers' Angels Program as a sort of a team. I just hope he is okay, and that he stays that way. I guess I wish him to be home soon and safe, but until then that he do his job with bravery and honor.

All the best,
Glenn B

Visitor 5,000 - Thank You...

...and thanks to everyone else who has stopped by for a visit. I guess I don't get those mega individual page view hit numbers that other sites have, but I do seem to generate at least a little interest (it took almost a year to get this many page views, I think 10 months). Oh well, its fun, and if you read it, I'll keep writing more of it.

I had two other views of note lately: #4,080 was done by some at the NRA, and another recent view was from Toyota.

The info on number 5,000 is below, just in case it was you (whomever you maybe).

Ballseyes BoomersBy Details > Visit DetailVisit 5,000


[<<] [>>]
Domain Name

(Unknown)
IP Address

72.14.193.# (Google)
ISP

Google
Location

Continent
:
North America
Country
:
United States (Facts)
State
:
California
City
:
Mountain View
Lat/Long
:
37.4192, -122.0574 (Map)
Language

English (U.S.)en-us
Operating System

Microsoft WinXP
Browser

Internet Explorer 6.0Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
Javascript

version 1.3
Monitor

Resolution
:
800 x 600
Color Depth
:
24 bits
Time of Visit

Jun 22 2007 10:09:56 am
Last Page View

Jun 22 2007 10:09:56 am
Visit Length

0 seconds
Page Views

1
Referring URL


Visit Entry Page

http://ballseyesboomers.blogspot.com/
Visit Exit Page

http://ballseyesboomers.blogspot.com/
Out Click


Time Zone

UTC-8:00
Visitor's Time

Jun 22 2007 7:09:56 am
Visit Number

5,000

Now if only I could figure out how to promote this blog well enough to get 50,000 individual page views in the next year.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ballseye's Firearms Training And Tactiics 3 - Acquiring Your First Firearm

You have decided to take up shooting, and you already have learned the firearms safety rules, and you have learned some firearms nomenclature, and you have signed up to receive instruction from a person who has been certified as a firearms instructor. Good for you, you have gotten started.

There is now a decision to be made about which type of gun to buy yourself. If you are lucky, your instructor will supply the firearms with which you will learn to shoot, and he/she will have a good selection on hand for you to try out. Maybe you are already done with the training and ready to buy a gun for yourself. Maybe you have not yet started the training and need a gun to get through it. Whatever the situation, if you want to get your first gun I have some suggestions to help you out. Note I said gun as opposed to gun(s). Sure you can bring multiple guns right away. You can go for lessons in which an instructor wants to teach you how to shoot them all in the same class, or if done with your classes you can you can go all out and buy a as many as you can afford, but that is not what I think works best. So what do I recommend? I recommend getting that first gun, keeping it simple at first, and after you become somewhat proficient with that one type of firearm you learn how to shoot others. In other words go to take a class on pistol shooting, or revolver shooting, or rifle shooting, or shotgun shooting, but not a class on all aspects, at least not for your initial training. Or if done with your classes get yourself one type of firearm and make yourself proficient with it before moving on. Keeping it simpler at first will make it easier throughout the learning process even as the process becomes more complicated; and note the learning process with firearms is an ongoing one, it does not end after your initial familiarization classes.

Starting with one gun will not only keep the learning process simpler, it will also keep your selection of firearm for the class simpler; or will keep it simpler for you to become more proficient after the initial class has ended. It also will be much less expensive at first, meaning the price of additional firearms can be stretched out over a longer time period, and that you will have more money for range time and ammunition purchases.


Now, if you go this route, you need to decide which type of shooting you want to learn first in order to determine which type of firearm you need to buy. It would be good to ask your instructor for some recommendations, not so much as to brand, but as to the type and the specifications within that type that he/she suggests to accomplish the type of shooting you will be doing. In other words, if you are going to learn how to shoot primarily for self defense while legally carrying a concealed firearm (always do anything with firearms legally), then you will want to learn how to shoot a handgun. If instead you want to learn how to shoot because you plan to start duck hunting, or clay pigeon shooting you would want to learn how to shoot a shotgun. Likewise if you were going to learn how to shoot to be able to go out on your first elk hunt, you would likely want to learn to shoot a rifle. Once you have figured what general type of firearm you need from among the rifles, shotguns, handguns, you will then want to figure out which more specific type of firearm you want to buy.

The breakdown from 'General Type of Firearm' to more 'Specific Type of Firearm' (of those commercially available) goes something like this:

Rifle


Shotgun

Handgun.

Now taking rifles as an example, there are more things to consider.

Rifle Sub-divisions: Among the rifles the next choices are: muzzle loader or breech loader. Muzzle loaders being akin to rifles used by the pioneers. These are broken down generally into percussion or flintlock. If you go more modern, which would be my suggestion, then your set of choices would be modern rifles that shoot either centerfire or rimfire cartridges. This would then be followed by action type, such as: bolt action, semi-automatic, or lever action. Then you would decide on the caliber you would want to shoot, one that would be suitable for the purpose at hand. These are fairly general distinctions about which anyone who is an instructor can give you reasonable information; and you can get many more opinions at the range and out of gun magazines and forums. Still though, you should make up your mind based upon the recommendations you receive, don’t let someone else pick for you.

After you have something general in mind, then comes the fun part of actually selecting a firearm based upon things like: brand name, reliability, how it feels in your hands, of what the stock is made, the type of finish used for the gun (stainless steel, blued steel, Parkerized{a black military style finish that is supposedly more rugged than bluing}, and so forth), how much ammunition it holds, whether or not it is legal in your area, and unless you are much better off than me financially there is always price to consider.

Shotguns: The above also goes for Shotguns, which come in the same basic action varieties as do rifles; but there are also double barreled shotguns that come with side by side and over/under barrels.

As for handguns, there basically are revolvers and pistols. Revolvers are all, as far as I am aware, multiple shot handguns, having a cylinder that holds from about 5 to 10 cartridges in individual chambers. The cylinder revolves bringing a fresh cartridge in its chamber in line with the barrel for each new shot. Commercially available pistols, in general, come in various actions from single shot, to bolt action, to semi-automatic. Those that are repeaters are usually box magazine fed, the bullets get loaded into the magazine, and the act of firing the pistol results in a fresh round being entered into the pistol’s single chamber, which is at the back end or breech end of the barrel, ready for the next shot. You usually can also load a pistol with a single shot directly into the magazine, and this is one of the reasons IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO PROPERLY MAKE SURE A GUN IS LOADED OR NOT WHEN YOU HANDLE IT.

My recommendation is to keep the first gun simple, no matter what basic type you pick from among the rifles, shotguns and handguns. I also strongly recommend you buy as high a quality firearm as you can afford. Bear in mind that buying quality does not necessarily mean you have to buy a firearm with every option that is known to mankind. Just buy pretty much a basic model of the one you have decided upon. I will say though that one decent option some recommend is an adjustable sight. With a rifle these sights are a must, with a shotgun it depends on the type of shooting being done, and with handguns, at distances out to 15 yards, it should not matter much one way or the other for your first gun. I do not recommend telescopic sights on a beginner's firearm. Get to shoot it well with iron sights, then proceed to optical glass sights, it will just get you to be a better shooter overall.

Once you have decided which gun to buy, buy the gun from a local reputable dealer. I say to do this from a local dealer because that way you can check out the gun before you buy it, whereas if you buy from an online dealer, you only see the gun after you have bought it. I also say, go to a reputable dealer, this so you do not get hosed. Check around and compare prices for the same exact gun. Then check out the gun itself. Does it feel good in your hands, does it appear to be blemish free, does it operate properly, is it easy to take down for cleaning, and so on. Have the dealer demonstrate all of this to you, and handle it yourself (presuming you have already learned firearms safety and how to properly handle a gun). You may want to ask someone who is more knowledgeable about guns to accompany you to the gun store, you might even ask your instructor. Then once purchased, take it to the range as soon as possible after purchase and test fire it; if you have not yet learned how to shoot, wait to do this with your instructor. Some gun stores have their own ranges where you can shoot used models, or loaner guns they have in stock. If you are buying a new model they have in stock, see if they also have a loaner you can shoot first, to see if you like how it handles, before buying the new one – this of course presuming you already have learned to shoot somewhat or have your instructor with you.


You may be getting the picture that should you go to a firearms shooting class, you will want to be able to go to a basic class where the guns will be supplied by the instructor, then after you learn how to shoot somewhat well, you buy your own. This is my recommendation as I find that buying one first, then learning how to shoot, is often a mistake. Learn how to handle and shoot safely, then go out and make your decision on which specific gun to buy, it is better to buy while somewhat knowledgeable.

I don’t think that I mentioned yet whether or not to buy a new gun or a used one. Used firearms are often great deals, but also can be big headaches if they were not well maintained. Sometimes it is easy to tell if they are in good shape, other times it is not so easy. A new gun is less likely to be a headache, at least in my experience. New guns usually come with warranties, and manufacturers almost always have parts in stock for currently available new guns, and you are just about assured that the new gun you are buying will handle modern day ammunition pressures whereas some old guns cannot handle modern ammunition. Yes I strongly recommend a new gun for your first purchase.


Of course, if someone like dad, granddad, or uncle Ernie, is giving you an old and well maintained gun for your first one, be very happy, and use that one. Sometimes shooting doesn’t get much better than learning how to shoot with a gun that has been passed down through the family (but remember make sure the gun is safe and fully functional before shooting it). My daughter and my son both learned to shoot using my guns, and there are not many things better at making me feel as if I did something really good for, and with, my children than passing along the knowledge of how to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

In a future rant, I will probably give much more specific info on acquiring a gun, and how to choose different types, and how to check out used guns, but for now I am keeping it simple for the beginner. Of course the beginner may have some questions, and that is one way to use the comments section of this blog. Until next time, enjoy safe shooting.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ballseye's Firearms Training and Tactics 2 - Learning To Shoot…

…can be undertaken for a number of reasons. You may want to learn how to shoot for self defense, for competition, for hunting, as required by your job, or just for fun. Whatever the reason, learning to shoot can usually be lots of fun; but you do need to think safety (see my first rant in this series), and you do need someone else to teach you how to safely handle and shoot firearms. Sure you can try to teach yourself, but that would be like a defendant in court who defends himself, he has a fool for a client.

I recommend that you arrange for someone to teach you who is not only knowledgeable in firearms safety, and how to shoot, but who has been in some manner certified or otherwise qualified to be a firearms instructor. The National Rifle Association (NRA) offers courses in firearms training through its network of NRA certified instructors. If you choose one of them to train you, shop around as I found that prices for such training can vary markedly. I imagine there are other organizations who certify firearms instructors to whom you could also go to seek out a person to train you.

Some of the reasons you want a certified instructor to train you is because they do this professionally, because they know or should know what needs to be taught to you, and they have been trained in how to train. In other words they are a whole lot more likely than the average Joe Shooter to train you properly without leaving something out, and without teaching you bad habits. Of course I am not saying that the average Joe Shooter could not sufficiently train you, but yes I am saying that proper firearms training is more likely to come from someone who has been taught by a professional as to how to train others.

Whoever trains you should begin with firearms safety and nomenclature. For example if they tell you to keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot, they should also be telling you what is a trigger. A good instructor does not assume that you know these things, or that common sense dictates anything about firearms and their use to you. In order to learn about firearms properly and safely, you need to be taught about them from step one, by a competent trainer, it is that simple.

As a student you need to resign yourself to the fact that the instructor probably knows more than do you, and this is often true even if you are an advanced shooter. You have to allow yourself to be taught. Do not enter a training situation with a hostile attitude toward the instructor, or with an attitude that you already know it all. This would be quite counterproductive and could wind up in loss of a life. Instead, go into the classroom with an open mind. Expect to learn new things or to get a refresher on things. If you are a new shooter, you will of course learn new things, but an old time shooter also needs to go into the classroom with an open mind. As you receive instruction, ask questions if there are things about which you are uncertain. Participate in the learning experience as much as practical. Make sure that you are satisfied that you understand what is being discussed or exhibited before you move on. Remember you are learning about something, that if done properly can be lots of fun, but if done improperly can result in needless injury or loss of life. While it can be fun, it is also deadly serious business.

While in the classroom pay attention not only to the instructor, but to the questions posed by other students. Make sure to attend all of the classes, always paying attention while in the classroom or at the range (which in fact could be the classroom so to speak). Study at home whatever handouts you are given in the classroom. If you already have one, don’t take out your firearm at home and start practicing anything you learned in the classroom until you have fully completed the classroom. Remember too, some things are never practical or safe to do at home with firearms.

When you take whatever written and practical shooting tests that you will be required to pass, always follow the instructions given to you by the person in charge of the class; and make sure you pay full attention to them before proceeding with anything, especially before handling a firearm. Don’t cheat on written tests, it really only goes to make you less proficient, and more unsafe, with firearms.

While handling a firearm in the classroom, or while on the range, never anticipate the commands of your firearms instructor. There are a couple of very important things to understand about the previous sentence. Yes the firearms instructor is in charge of the range and the people on the range. His instructions are to be taken as commands, and unless you want to be booted off of the range, you had better obey them. While you need to obey those commands, no you should never anticipate those commands. No matter how many times you go to the range for instruction, no matter how many times you have heard a command like “Ready on the left, ready on the right, commence firing” never anticipate something like that and start to shoot ahead of the actual command to do so. It could just be that the instructor says: Ready on the right, ready on the left, commence – CEASE FIRE” because he suddenly became aware of an unsafe condition.

Keep in mind that if the command CEASE FIRE is ever given, by anyone at the range, you stop firing and stop immediately. I will not, in this rant, go into more particulars about that in which you will be instructed because that will be up to your instructor, and because I need material for other future blogs.

As a new shooter, expect a class of at least three days in length, at least a few hours per day, before being qualified as a shooter who can go out on your own to shoot at a range or in the field. Some instructors may do this in one day, others in a week. Three days would be a good rule of thumb to cover the essential basics. After you might want to take more advanced training, or you may just want to shoot on your own. I recommend lots of practice in what you were taught by your instructor before you move onto a more advanced type of shooting. Spending one day a week at the range is a good goal to set, especially for newer shooters, but you may be able to maintain proficiency by practicing once a month, especially if you are an experienced shooter.

As to the type of gun with which you, as an adult, should learn to shoot, I recommend a firearm in just about any caliber you want, and for which your instructor is or has been certified with the exception of the really big calibers. Learning pistol or revolver shooting can be done with anything from a .22LR caliber up to a .45, but I would recommend a 9MM pistol, or .38 Special caliber revolver, each with at least a 3.5 to 6 inch barrel. I say this because of the less expense of shooting these, the availability of guns and ammo, the fairly easy recoil experienced by the shooter (enough to respect but not to fear), and the decent sight radius of guns with those barrel lengths. As for a rifle, you can learn to shoot with just about any caliber, but again recoil is a factor. Get one in something that is considered medium recoil when you first learn to shoot. Shotguns, relatively speaking, are much like rifles in the recoil regard, but you can use reduced recoil loads if you decide to get a larger gauged shotgun.

Of course, you can do all the same (except the shotgun stuff) with a .gun chambered in 22LR except for experiencing a decent amount of recoil; and guns chambered in .22LR are often relatively inexpensive, and the ammo is often very inexpensive. These are good guns for adults to use as first guns when shooting. Rifles, revolvers, and pistols in .22LR are great starter firearms for children. I would recommend a Bolt Action Rifle repeater (with box or tube magazine), chambered in .22LR, to start off any child in the world of shooting. This way when starting out you can use it as a single shot, and advance with the same rifle to using it as a repeater. Make sure the rifle fits the child, youth models are often available. I guess I should note that children 9on average in my opinion) as young as about 8 or 9 can be safely taught to handle and shoot firearms, but they require an added safety rule: NEVER HANDLE A FIREARM UNLESS MOM OR DAD OR YOUR FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR GIVES IT TO YOU TO HANDLE. Children shooters require competent adult supervision at all times.

There is plenty more to learn, but I leave it to your instructor to teach you in the real world, and to my future blogs to explain such in the virtual world. Of course, if you have questions, leave them in the comments section, and if I can answer them, I will do so.

Always follow the safety rules, and you will probably have years of fun shooting.

All the best,
Glenn B
aka: Ballseye

Summer - Heck That Means A Road Trip...

...is upon us, or at least the time to take one certainly is upon us. Brendan's last day of school was yesterday, I have vacation that starts on Saturday, and we hit the road on Monday (or maybe Sunday afternoon, after he gets out of work). I sort of figured that this year, instead of doing something far away and over the hills, we might just keep it local sort of, and visit upstate New York. Of course, this will require driving pretty far away, and over lots of hills, but you get my drift.

New York State has a lot to offer in the scenery department, and it has a lot to offer the outdoorsman. Along those lines, if we actually decide on upstate NY as our road trip for this year, we will probably go hiking, herping (looking for things like snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders), fishing, swimming, canoeing, and so on. There will also be lots of other things to do, and we may go sight seeing at places like Fort Ticondaroga, Ausable Chasm on the Ausable River (and we will fish there too if we visit it - can you say nice trout), Brewery Ommegang (if we get over that way, near Cooperstown you can bet this will be one of my stops), Howe Caverns, and whatever. We only have 5 or 6 days to enjoy, and we will probably cram in as much as we can. Then you never know, we may just find one place that is paradise for this trip and stay there. One of the great things about a road trip is the spontaneity with regard to places you visit, and things you do.

I will start getting ready tomorrow night. I have a list all prepared of the things we will need. A car that is fueled up, cash and credit cards top the list. Maps are optional; I mean heck this is a follow you nose kind of a trip, so who needs maps! After those I figure I'll bring along some things like:

5 days worth of clothes
Raingear
Fishing Gear (poles, reels, full tackle box, minnow traps, minnow bucket, aerator, nets)
Fishing licenses
Ice Chest
First Aid Kit
Flashlights
Tent
Sleeping Bags
foam ground mats
Lantern
A couple of rifles (so we can have a blast if we get bored)
Ka-Bar Knives
Handgun (I like to have protection)
Pepper Spray (so we taste better if a bear eats us)
Maybe a live catch animal trap (for nature study purposes only, so we can see what was eating our food, and keeping us up all night, if we camp out)

Well, you get the idea, we are off to have out of doors fun. I only hope all this junk fits in the Corolla so I don't have to take the Taurus.

If we do head upstate instead of to some other state, I figure we will try to make it to Lake George or a bit north of there on our first day. That will get us close to a lot of places to which I'd like to take Brendan. Then again he may have some other ideas. We will see what happens once we put the car in gear.

I guess a road trip kind of precludes a lot of blogging, if any, being dome by me while we are away. If we stay in any hotels with a computer that has Internet access, I will try to bring you up to date, if not, well then I guess I'll blog about it on our return home Friday or Saturday next week. I'll still be blogging up until the day we depart though, which will likely be Sunday or Monday.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Deg Days of Summer...

...no that was not a misspelling, we call them the degs. From your left to right they are Sprocket (our very old lady), Hexi (as can be seen needing a leash to stay in place otherwise she is off like the wind to the neighbor's yard), and Pepe (not named for anything Mexican despite being a Chihuahua, he was actually named after one of my wife's favorite cartoon characters - Pepe Le Peu).

I just took this picture out in the yard, when by some quirk of fate, I was able to get them all to sit relatively close to one another, and likewise get them to face the camera at the same time. Being that it is the first day of summer, I figured I would dedicate it to the degs, since summer is the time of those good old dog days. Hmm, wonder if the powers of the Summer Solstice had anything to do with getting them to sort of cooperate for this shot?

Whatever, I may just have to see if I can get them used to this sort of a thing, maybe I can get some rally nice pics of them together in the near future. my wife would love that, as she loves these 3 stooges quite dearly despite the fact that they cause as much trouble as the 3 stooges every now and then. Then again the whole family loves them, they are adorable as far as we are concerned.

All the best, and happy Midsummer,
Glenn B

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ballseye's Firearms Training And Tactics 1 - Firearms Safety

Oh where to begin on such a subject without sounding like a kindergarten teacher. Well at the risk of sounding like just that, I will start where anyone who teaches about firearms should start, and that is on safety.

Many folks out there who teach others how to shoot, will tell you there are what they call "The 4 Rules". They will try to convince you, and probably will convince you if you are a newcomer to the world of firearms, that these 4 rules are the bedrock of firearms safety. They may tell you how Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote them up in one of his books. Then they will tell you all about Colonel Cooper. Then they also may tell you these 4 rules are all you need to be concerned with concerning firearms safety. If they tell you that these rules are all you need be concerned with, or are primarily all you need to be concerned with, then they are, in my opinion, absolutely wrong! There are quite a few more cardinal rules of firearms safety to which you need to adhere devoutly.

Now before any of you firearms aficionados, and lovers of the recently deceased Colonel Jeff Cooper, get all bent out of shape thinking that I am debasing your idol or hero; or that I am not qualified to speak about firearms safety, allow me to give you some of my background relative the subject. I have been shooting since I was about 9 years old. I learned the rules of firearms safety way back then, which would be about 42 years ago. There were quite a few more rules being taught back then than now. In 1979, I entered the federal service as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. I have also been employed as a Customs Patrol officer, Customs Investigator, Customs Special Agent, and am currently an ICE Agent. I have done temporary duties with the U.S. Secret Service, and with the Federal Air Marshals (this right after 9/11). I have been in armed, and other life threatening, encounters at work. Thankfully not where anyone has shot at me, but I have been whacked with quite a few hard objects, and had one guy try to slice and dice me; and I had one guy take a small chunk out of my arm by biting me after he tried to grab my own revolver to shoot me. (Hmm, I guess there was one time at work then when someone did try to point a gun at me, but was not successful.) As part of my collateral duties I was assigned as a firearms instructor for about 14 years. I was also assigned as a Confrontational Safety Awareness Instructor (hand to hand defensive maneuvers, and how to avoid confrontation if possible) for several years; and was assigned as a Chemical Spray Instructor for several years. As to firearms, I instructed other agents in how to shoot: revolvers, pistols, shotguns, rifles, and sub-machineguns.

I do not instruct any loner, and have not done so for about 5 years now because I apparently pissed off a boss and they removed me from the job I liked best. It had nothing to do with anything I had done at the range or in my duties as a firearms instructor as far as I am aware, and was more likely to do with my big mouth in the office. I often tell bosses what they do not like to hear, which is the truth about how things are being done at work. When it sucks, I let them know in no uncertain terms. I can only imagine this is why I was told not to report to the range any longer, because it happened right after a conflict with one of my bosses under the newly formed agency known as ICE, and there was plenty about which I was remarking at the time, therefore there were a few bosses pissed off at me. They still refuse to give me a reason for all this, and I have stopped asking. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

Despite no longer giving instruction on my job, I still train relentlessly with firearms. I also teach my son how t shoot rifle and shotgun. Last year he went on his first ever big game hunt. We went to Maine on a semi guided bear hunt. When the guide had everyone in camp shoot at a target to make sure they knew what they were doing, Brendan (my son) shot right through the center of the bulls eye. He was the youngest hunter in the group. I could see that the guide thought it was a fluke and he asked him to shoot at the target again. Right after the 2nd shot, the guides dad sounded off with two words: "he's ready". Brendan had another shot that had touched the first. He got a bear on that hunt, shot it exactly in the kill zone, right through the heart. In addition to a successful hunt, let me tell you he handled the firearm safely at all times. This was commented upon to me by the guides more than once, and I can assure you had he been unsafe, the hunt of a lifetime would have ended immediately. I am a stickler for safety with guns. As you will learn, I have made my own mistakes with them, and you can bet I have learned from them.

I digress. Okay, back on subject a little more directly.

Firearms safety is the responsibility of almost anyone who picks up a firearm, who stores a firearm, who displays a firearm, or who simply owns a firearm. Note I said almost anyone. If a toddler picks up a firearm, well then firearms safety is not his/her responsibility is it. Yet someone is responsible for safety with said firearm, and is responsible for allowing the baby to get hold of it. Think about it.

Whenever you handle, store, display a firearm, or firearms, there are certain safety rules to follow in order to help assure that no one is These rules have been around for many, many years. They are not difficult to learn, and they are not that numerous that you cannot learn them all relatively quickly. You will see there are quite a few more than 4 of them; and with all due respect to the departed Colonel Cooper, how anyone could have reduced them to 4 seems irresponsible to me.

Here are the rules that I believe we must follow each time we are involved with firearms:

1. Learn the rules of firearms safety before handling any firearm or ammunition. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.

2. Get proper training about the particular firearm, that you are about to handle, before you handle it. (That means before you touch a firearm in any way shape or form. Such could just be a briefing from the person handing it to you, or such could be reading the manual that comes with a new gun.) Funny how often people leave out this rule, but it is not funny when you are at the range and see a guy who is totally flummoxed on how to operate the firearms he is handling, and then violates some of the other rules while trying to figure it out. Having such a person point a gun at you is a sobering experience. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life..

3. Each time you handle a weapon, treat it as if it were loaded.

If you are about to do anything but shoot from the draw out of a holster, then check to see if it is loaded or not before you do anything else (hopefully if you are in a shooting from the draw situation you have checked to make sure it was indeed loaded before getting to that point of shooting it). This means even if you already checked, know it is unloaded, and you put it down - even for only a second or two - when you pick it back up you must treat it as if loaded and check again to see if it is loaded or not. In fact you always treat a gun as a loaded weapon in any shooting, showing, handling situation except in certain circumstances such as cleaning it, but even then, each time you handle it, you handle it as if it were loaded and check to make sure if it is or not. When you check the firearm, remove the ammunition - this includes any in a magazine, the cylinder, or in the chamber. Then look and feel to make sure it is empty, do this at least twice. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life..

4. Always point a firearm in the relatively safest direction - and this applies whether it is loaded or not. (I am sure you have heard the excuse, after someone got shot, that the shooter did not know the gun was loaded. Well the accidental shooter just violated rule number 1 and rule number 2; and as you will see, likely rule number 3 too.) Remember too that a safe direction is not always up, or down, or to the right or to the left, or straight ahead. A safe direction depends upon the circumstances in which you find yourself, and some directions may be relatively safer than others in this regard, use the direction you think is safest. Point the firearm in the safest direction of which you can think. Of course there can be exceptions, such as if checking for a barrel obstruction and you have to look down the barrel, but then make sure to follow rules 1, 2 and 4, and even follow this rule until you actually have to look and only do so in a safe place, don't start doing this by turning the gun around with other people in the potential line of fire. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life..

5. Always keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Most guns, in good working order, will not go off unless you squeeze the trigger; some guns in good working order can though, and others with malfunctioning parts can too, so again you see the importance of rules 1 & 2 above. Again, there are exceptions since some guns require you to squeeze the trigger to make them safe or disassemble them (like many Glocks), but then again follow the other safety rules. Carry out this rule concurrently with rule 3 and 2.

For example, you are at a range, you finished shooting, and you have unloaded your gun. You place it on the bench pointed downrange. You get your gun case. You pick up the weapon and point it not downrange but to the right to get it into your gun case. As you do so, you fiddle with the safety, the gun goes bang and shoots the guy next to you. You unloaded the gun, you did not have your finger on the trigger, you were putting it away. What did you do wrong? First of all, you forgot to remove the bullet in the chamber when you thought you unloaded it by removing the magazine full of bullets. This happens, even to well experienced shooters, call it a brain fart - one that can be deadly. Then you laid it down and picked it up again without checking again to see if it was loaded; and it was indeed loaded. Then you pointed it in an unsafe direction while handling and operating it (even if only operating the safety). Then it went bang. Now you are in jail, and someone is dead. Don't think this could happen, just inquire about certain Remington bolt action firearms, because other people swear this is just about what happened to them. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.

6. Make sure that any firearm you are handling is in proper working order before attempting to shoot it. Common sense, you can bet it is not because people assume too much. When going to the range it is always a good idea to make sure the barrel is unobstructed before shooting it. Of course this sometimes requires looking down the barrel, so you had better make sure that you have checked and double checked to see that the gun was unloaded before doing so. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


7. Always use the correct ammunition for the firearms you are shooting. Again, this sounds like common sense, but it is a confusing subject to the new comer what with all the calibers out there. Most guns are marked with what caliber they shoot, but if in doubt ask the manufacturer if possible, otherwise ask a competent gunsmith. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


8. Never mix alcohol or illicit mind altering drugs with firearms; and make sure that prescription drugs do not affect you to the point where you cannot safely handle a firearm. Is this common sense, it should be, but you might be surprised just how many people have a few drinks, or smoke just one, while or before they shoot. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


9. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond. Some may wonder why it took me so long to get to this rule. Well if you are out shooting, and you have not already followed the other rules, chances are you are wounded or dead by now, or that you have wounded or killed someone else.


For example, you are out target shooting, you find a nice hill, and you place your targets along the bottom of the hill, using the hill as a back stop. Not bad, but did you ever check to see what was on the other side of the hill. People often shoot over backstops either because of poor shooting habits, or because of ricochets. Another example is you are out hunting, you see a deer, It walks behind a bush, but then its head emerges. You know your deer, and you can easily figure where its body is located behind the bush. You decide to shoot. The shot misses, passes through the bush and hits the other hunter who was 50 yards away behind the bush and obstructed from your view. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


10. Wear eye and ear protection while shooting or observing someone shoot. Again you would think this is common sense, but I can assure you such is not the case. All too many folks hear a constant ringing in their ears because of gun shot noise. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


11. Always keep your gun unloaded when not in use. In other words when put into storage, even if only for the short term. This is a good idea just in case you screw up on rule number 2 the next time you handle it. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


12. Always store guns and ammunition securely. This can mean either locked away in a safe, or a gun cabinet. It can also mean out in plain view but with a secure trigger or action lock in place. It is best to store ammunition away from firearms. Keep storage as safe as practical, but make sure it is safe. You don't need non-informed persons picking up your own gun and shooting you, or themselves, with it. It also keeps the kiddies safe. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


13. Make absolutely certain that anyone else with whom you shoot, or to whom you allow access to a firearms, observes these rules. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life.


14. Think firearms safety, whenever around firearms, it could save a life. This phrase appears 13 times above. The word ‘think’ appears about 20 times. There really is a good reason I repeated them so many times: The life I save by teaching you to be safe, and to think about firearms safety, may be my own. Think about that regarding your own life, or that of your spouse, your children, your friends, and the stranger next to you at the range - he could be me.

You may want to abide by 4 rules (which are in essence included in the above 14 rules) thinking they are enough, but if you really want to make sure you shoot safely, my advice would be to follow the other rules too. It would take all of about 5 minutes to explain 4 rules to someone, and all of about 15 or 20 minutes to explain the above to someone. Really think about it, and ask yourself: "Would it be worth taking that little extra time, and effort, to make sure the person handling the firearms knows how to do it safer than by just the 4 rules? I think the answer is a no brainer; and I am often surprised at just how many folks disagree with me. You have to decide for yourself. Safe shooting, handling, gunsmithing, collecting - or whatever is our responsibility.

All the best,

Glenn B

Disclaimer Time...

...is upon us, and in that light I have added a new page element to the right. Please read it and abide by it.

As for the reason for adding a page element, let's just say I am a wussy. I am also about to start writing pieces in which I will speak about firearms tactical applications, and training. What more can I say about it...

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Stupid Prank...

...but a prank nonetheless, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,283792,00.html

So I believe the resulting felony charges are really ridiculous in light of what I know about this one so far. We have 150 alarm clocks planted all around the school, and apparently the clocks involved were wrapped with duct tape so that teachers could not easily turn them off when the alarms went off. They were all set to go off at the same time to signify the end of school. Great prank as pranks go, maybe for 10 or 15 years ago or more, but not a bright prank to have pulled off after 9/11. Still, there does not seem to have been a threat actually made or implied. There seems to have been an over reaction to a prank, and then an over reaction to that over reaction ended up in felony charges. Are we all supposed to be good little boys and girls in our youths with our thumbs stuck in the dike, or can we have some fun now and then while others get hosed? Granted maybe someone of these kids should have thought, 'hey maybe someone else will think these are bombs', but maybe an adult should have also thought 'this was just a stupid prank pulled off by teens, and the kids need a good talking to'! Felony charges indeed. Don't law enforcement officers have better things to do to occupy their time and spend our tax dollars?

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Good Book, Death, Father's Day, and taking it easy...

...all came naturally to me today, and I enjoyed the day immensely so far. Basically I took it easy, well that is after watering the vegetable garden my wife's flower garden, the potted plants (all with watering cans), then watering the back lawn with hose by hand, and then watering the front lawn too (I cheated on the front and set a sprinkler out to do the work). I also pulled some weeds for awhile. About the only thing I did not do that I should have gotten done today was to rearrange all the stuff I moved in the basement to make room for the new washing machine. Later for that, but I will get it done this evening.

While the front lawn was being watered by the sprinkler, I sat down with a heffe weisse bier and picked up a book. I just decided that I would take it easy most of the day (nothing new in that for me), but that today I would get some reading done while lounging around outside on the patio, or what passes for one. I actually put on a pair of shorts and sat in the sun too. I will probably pay for that hour spent reading and taking in old Sol's rays; but it sure felt good while I was out there. Tomorrow I'll probably be both well read and very red. As it was, I finished a book that I had started to read at least a few months back. Now before you go and think I finished something like the Count of Monte Cristo (I am only about 1/3 the way through that one) the book I finished could be considered a pamphlet next to that tome. In fact, the one I finished reading today was only 62 pages long; it took me so long to read because I had misplaced it months ago, and only found it this weekend in the basement when I rearragned everything for the new washing machine (I guess some good came out of the old washing breaking down after all).

Despite this book being a short one, it is full of a lot of heady subject matter concerning morality, immorality, art, the life of the artist in the form of a closet liberal, homosexuality, pedophilia, wanton lust, liberalism as being decadent and a cause of immorality, the general decline of society due to a liberal life style being favored by many, and the end result of such to those involved - the book being Death In Venice, and you can guess the outcome.

If you read this book, you will probably realize that the mind of the latent pedophile, and that of the latent or closet homosexual (of years past when homosexuality was truly considered verbotten) are exquisitely described therein, as is the mind of the extreme liberal. In fact the battle between those mindsets, and that of the conservative also is expressed in some detail. The end result of all this is certainly not what you would expect in a contemporary work of fiction, but my guess is that Thomas Mann, the author, was outing his own demons in writing this piece; and it is certainly not a contemporary work, the story being set in 1911 or thereabout. It is my understanding that he used much of his own artistic life to draw upon and to portray the main character, one and the same as the person afflicted with temptations to commit those unnatural and immoral acts. I do not know if he was a latent homosexual, or a latent pedophile, but Mann himself was married with 6 children, and was very conservative at the time, so it seems unlikely as to either. Yet, it seems likely that he at least at some time may have mused about the temptations of such a lifestyle. If not, then he seemingly at least understood, through his ties to the world of art with him being a writer, that extreme unchecked liberalism, of the type often seen among those of the art world, was a road to moral degradation of the worst sort.

Later in life, Mann spoke out strongly against Nazi Germany. Some say that this showed him becoming more liberal because during WWI he had supported the Kaiser. I tend to disagree. I think he realized that extreme liberalism, or extreme conservatism, were both the wrong path to take; though I will point out that I believe the Nazis were anything but the conservatives of the day. Being socialists, and anti everything that Germany had truly stood for in the past (behind a disguise of being pro-German tradition, which had been a conservative but yet very open society) I believe them to have been extremists so far removed from the center as to have come round to the point where the ends bent back around and conservatism and liberalism are so extreme as to be the same thing. In essence they espoused extreme liberalism and extreme conservatism in their dogma. But I digress, and neither Nazism or Mann are my main subject.

Read the book, it is a fast read (if you don't lose it for a few months), and very enjoyable, though I will admit to having had to look up quite a few words. It is a strong piece about morality versus immorality, about dedication to a work ethic as opposed rampant leave of ones work ethic, about self control versus loss of control, about doing good as a member of society as opposed to doing things for a more selfish reason, and about the outcome to expect when a man or a society loses sight of what is right and what is wrong and they forget by which path life should be lived.

All the best,
Glenn B

Happy Fater's day...

...to all of you dads out there. It ain't easy but someone has to do the dad thing; here is hoping you have done it well.

All the best,
Glenn B

Washing Machine Blues part 2

So far today I had the joy of having our new GE Profile washing machine delivered right on time (actually right at the first minute of the 2 hour time span they gave us in which to expect delivery), had nice, courteous, and careful deliverymen; then after they had left I found out the new washing machine probably does not drain properly, which is one of the reasons we got rid of the old one. Seems to be an awful lot of water left under the wash basket once the cycle is over. I thought there may have been a problem when I heard what sounded like truly weird noises coming from what I supposed was the drain pump. Oh well, it maybe going back to Sears soon I think, or at lest they will have to send someone to check it out. If we do not feel comfortable with it, they have a wonderful 90 satisfaction guarantee. In that case, we will just order another one and hope for the best.

As for the 5 year extended warranty we bought, that will go back for a refund first thing tomorrow. Sears sold us a 5 year plan for about $259, about half the cost of the washer. GE offers up to a three year plan and it is only $110, and it kicks in after the 1st year regular warranty expires, not from day one as I believe does the extended Sears warranty. You do the math, I'll go with the GE extended warranty.

Now to rearrange all the things I moved down in the basement, so we can get around again down there. I guess I'll have to move them back into place, then take them out again, once Sears comes to bring us a new washer. A royal pain in the behind, but life goes on, and breakfast is almost done. Mmm, that bacon sure smells good, and gives me something to look forward to on this father's day.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Washing Machine Blues

Spent all of this afternoon getting the basement ready to receive the new washing machine (the old one broke down), which is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. I'll believe it when it is in place and running.

I have got to say it is amazing how much junk can wind up behind work benches and washing machines. The bench was next to the washer. And it is kind of scary as to all the different types of creepy crawlers that live under a washing machine. I am not positive, but I saw one spider that looked very much like a black widow; I know they are not native to this part of the country but then again neither were Lone Star ticks which now abound here.

Oh well, I got the back room of the basement cleaned out in the one corner where the washer will sit. I did not remove the old one from the basement, that is included in the service tomorrow, but I moved it to a place from where it will be easy for the delivery guys to get it without doing a lot of damage to anything. That also let me have time to do the cleaning job in that corner of the room. Once it is in place tomorrow, there will be lots more of cleanig up and rearranging to do in the basement. I thought it was a mess before but with a lot of stuff moved out of the way, with the work bench relocated to the other side of the room,, with a fish tank drained to accomodate moving it easily so I could moe oother things around, the place looks pretty shabby. Hopefully there will be enough time in the day after the delivery tomorrow to clean it all up and have it over with for now. I also hope the new one really is only 27" wide, otherwise it will be a no go. Even 1/4 of an inch more width will be too much, thanks to a pipe that runs near the floor to our boiler. The old one fit, so hopefully so too will the new one.

All the best,
Glenn B

So Democrats Want Us To Drive...

...more fuel efficient cars, and the way they want to make sure we drive them is by demanding that automobile makers start manufacturing cars that will average 35 miles per gallon. See:

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Jun16/0,4670,DemocratsEnergy,00.html.

The goal is to reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. This does not sound like a bad idea, so why does it get me so pissed off when I hear it spouted out by the liberal left. I guess those pictures of them flying around in private jets, and the fact that many of them own multiple gas guzzlers instead of fuel efficient cars are reasons good enough to irk me. About 10 years ago, heck actually 11 years ago, I bought a brand new Ford Taurus (whoopee) not because it would be fuel efficient, but because my family needed a step up in the size of car we had been driving which was a Mazda 323 and our only car at the time. We kept the Mazda which was quite fuel efficient up until about 2 1/2 or 3 years ago when we donated it to the Salvation Army. The Ford was not the best choice I could have made for a second car, so I decided to get another foreign job, well a made in America foreign job anyhow. Guess what we bought. We bought another fairly fuel efficient automobile. One of the reasons I wanted a smaller car was that I like the way they handle, another was that I like the way they sip gas instead of guzzle it. The fact also is that being a hunter and fisherman, I like to do my bit to help the environment. As for gas prices at the time, gas prices were higher than they had been but still not very high when we bought the new car 2005. Since we don't drive as much as the average family with a car, the price of gasoline did not effect my decision much, but I figured the prices would go up, and my guess about further price increases effected my decision somewhat. My wife had wanted an SUV, but finally agreed a small car would be just fine. So we decided on a Toyota Corolla. We got a great deal and away we drove with our new silver Corolla. Today I am quite happy I did so, what with the prices of gasoline, and the fact that it recently cost me $50 to do a fill up on the Ford Taurus (yes we still have that one after 11 years or so), and $35 to fill up the Corolla. I don't recall what mileage the Toyota gets, but it probably comes close to 35 mpg on the highway and that is a blessing at these prices.

Now I would like you, or anyone, to point out to me all of the Congresscritters who drive vehicles like that, especially those among the Demoncrats. Can you show me that the majority of them do so. No you cannot. I wonder is John Kerry one of them, has he sold his veritable fleet of SUVs and big cars? Is Teddy Kennedy one of them, has he sold his boat with the hole in the bottom larger gas guzzling cars and replaced them with compact sized fuel efficient cars? Does Nancy Pelosi usually get driven around in something like a Corolla, or a Civic, or a Prius (spelling?), or another fuel efficient automobile - or in a limo? What is Harry reid driving or being driven around in on a regular basis? Remember the same goes for the Republicans too.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for fuel efficiency, hell it will cost less in the long run for fuel, and the price of such fuel efficient cars will plummet, from what they are now, once they mass produce fuel efficient cars since their availability will then be high. What I would like to see now though are the big blabbermouths in Congress putting their money where their mouths are and going out and selling their big gas guzzlers, replacing them with currently available fuel efficient cars, of which there are plenty - even among those that do not run on batteries. I want to see them replace their limos, and their private flights, used for work travel with public transportation too. If that jerk (my opinion of him) Mayor Bloomberg in NYC can do it, then anyone in Washington DC can do it too. (Fact is that Bloomberg's use of public transportation is about the only really good thing he does that I can see, it saves my tax dollars that would otherwise have gone to fueling his limo.)

Now here is why I am really pissed off: I wonder, whatever happened to teaching by good example? What ever happened to shunning and punishing hypocrisy? These bastards in Congress want us to do what they will not do. They want to force us to drive more fuel efficient cars by forcing automobile manufacturers to build more fuel efficient vehicles, yet they will not change their ways, on that you can bet hard earned money. Should this law pass, and in the near future should the manufacturers all produce cars that get 35 mpg, 50 mpg, or even 100 mpg, most of the politicians will still be driving in the gas guzzlers of that future time. This is, I think, because politicians (redundancy alert) are for the most part hypocrits, or in other words, they are just politicians after all is said and done. I think it is about time to start voting people into office who were not lawyers to begin with, and ones who actually did some type of real work in the real world and who look at things from a practical point of view. That might be a jump start in the right direction, and would most likely keep the government running at a more efficient pace without burning all the bullshit.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tell Me What Is Wrong With This Story...

... and there is a lot wrong with it. Not with how it was told, I am not saying it is bad reporting, I am saying that the events were all wrong (although I cannot figure why this was only reported now instead of a couple or a few weeks back). This never should have happened, and when it did happen, the end result should not have turned out the way it did. Read it at FoxNews.com Murder With Baseball Bat of Mentally Disabled Man Caught on Surveillance Tape in L.A..

First of all, some pukey little punk with a baseball bat should never have had the lack of respect of life to approach someone and hit him with a bat like this. His parents maybe did not teach him morality well enough, or maybe he is mentally disturbed and should be in a nuthouse for life. I would also be willing to bet this is not his first criminal act, chances are he has been arrested before and he is again out on the street.s Yes these things are all wrong. Ultra Leftist logic that leads to feeling sorry for the poor underprivileged minority type sucks big time when it results in things like this, and it ends up like this all to often. Stuff like this is all wrong, and things like this should be much less commonplace than they are in today's world.

What else was wrong in this story, big time wrong? Look at it, read it again. No it is not that a mentally handicapped person was out walking to the store. That is probably a good thing if he was able to do it on his own within reason. Look , read, think. An unidentified passersby called 911 is what was wrong. Sure it was good that someone called 911 to try to get help for the victim, but that is all that anyone apparently did. Of course maybe they came to his aid and that would have been good.

Now think what was bad about how this all played out with the 911 call. First of all, the passerby who called 911 is unidentified. Why is that? Either he/she did not give a name and then left the scene afraid to become further involved; or the police refused to give out the caller's name for fear of reprisals from the assailant. That is very wrong. The good guy who made the call should be willing to give up his/her name to the authorities, and should be willing to testify as to what was witnessed. There should be little to no fear of reprisals, although it is a fact of life that reprisals in such cases happen all to often when someone comes forward as a witness.

There is also something else wrong with the 911 call. It apparently was the only 911 call. What about all those good people driving by in their cars. Surely someone else witnessed this, why did no one get out to help. Why did no one go after the dirtbag. But that is not all that was wrong.

So what else is wrong, what makes this all wrong, what allows for stuff like this to happen again and again? The fact is that we are a society of potential victims and the criminal dirtbags realize this and use it to their advantage. Too many of us are like sheep and when danger rears its ugly head we run away and this is how our society has made us. There could have a very different outcome though, one that could help put an end to such needless violent acts, and to the fears that fill many hearts after they take place. Imagine for a moment, a passerby walking along minding his own business sees this attack about to take place. He yells "Stop, don't move, I have a gun", or he simply draws and shoots the bad guy. Now the bat may have already swung, and the victim may have already been dealt a fatal blow, but the passerby could still have caused this to end differently by shooting the dirtbag. The dirtbags know you are very unlikely to be armed in a place like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston and the like, and they take advantage of that fact often. If, on the other hand, most people were armed it would be a different story, and bad guys would think two, three, four, or many more times before attempting such a crime. If good guys routinely shot bad guys who were committing acts of violence against innocents, the chances are the violent crime rates would plummet. Most of the scumbags who attack people like this are cowards. They do it from behind, they do it to a lone person, they do it because they think no one will oppose them. They will keep on doing it too, that is until the people of America wake up and realize that self defense, and defense of innocent others, is not only a right, it is the responsibility of each and every law abiding citizen.

All the best,
Glenn B

An end note: The police are reported as having no motive for this. My bet is, judging by profiling, stereotypes, and available evidence, that this was gang related, probably an initiation of some sort, or revenge. The guy who did this is probably boasting about it to his amigos criminal associates, as in other gang members. Yes that is guess work to a large degree, but darned educated guesswork at that - I have dealt with dirtbags before.

Beers and Ales...

...the ones I think are the hardest kicking better tasting and finer ones, are a thing that can bring good taste to my tongue, a wiff of a pleasent aroma to my nostrils, a pleasing picture to my eyes, and a good feeling overall to my being. I am not talking Budweisser here (no insult intended, but it just certainly is not one of my top choices), no not by a long shot; but nor am I talking about beers and ales that are beyond the reach of the average budget, at least if you drink them in moderation now and then.

For example tonight I went to my local beer distributor and I picked up a few different types of ale and beer. I bought a 12 pack of Franziskaner Heffe Weisse Bier, and it is ever so good. I cannot say it better than they say it show it on their own web site http://www.franziskaner.com/, with this little GIF to the right. That monk clearly knows how good it goes down. It is a one of the better biers I have ever had (I have a penchant for heffe weisse biers), and I certainly have had a lot of them over the years. Others that I really like are Paulaner Hefe Weisse Bier, Erdinger Heffe Weisse Bier, and Hacker-Pschorr Weiss Bier. A 12 pack of the Franziskaner cost me about $14.00 dollars tonight. Sure those run of the mill everyday beers are okay if you are down in the dumps money wise, but if you want something that tastes great every time (at least to me they do), and goes down very nicely with foods of all sorts, then this may be for you.

Of course, I also like American Beers and Ales, although I am not much of a fan of the really popular ones that seem to rule the market. I will drink the popular beers if I have nothing else, or maybe I won't drink them and instead drink a Coke. I really am much more of a small brewery type myself, and no I don't man so called micro-breweries that are really owned and operated by mega breweries (at least not to my knowledge). I like domestic beers and ales that are really given a nice taste, and are a bit on the stronger side. Having said that I need to point out that most of the beers made by Samuel Adams just do not do it for me. Some are okay now and then, but just that for my tastes. Many others are, to me, big disappointments - a lot of hype about their use of hops, and usually way too much hops at that as far as I am concerned. I am not saying that they are necessarily bad, but they are not exactly what I am looking for in a beer or ale. While some of their beers are okay, when it comes to their wheat beers, I will say as that as far as I am concerned they are terrible. I find this to be true of almost every American version of wheat beer that I have tried. They taste nothing like old world weisse biers to me, they come on way to strong in the flavor department (I believe to hoppy).

American beers and ales that I do like are also strong flavored, but are not overboard, and are truly brewed in smaller breweries. Some of the best domestic beers and ales that I have tasted are brewed by Brewery Ommegang in Coperstown, NY (http://ommegang.com/). To heck with the Baseball Hall of Fame, if I ever visit Cooperstown, I am also visiting Brewery Ommegang. They make some of the best tasting abbey style ales I have ever had flow through past lips - a true treat for the taste buds that really makes one think of an Old World setting, and drinking with monks in the cellars of an abbey. By the way, Abbey Style ales are a hallmark of Belgian brewing. One of the best from Belgium is Chimay Ale (a few different varieties under the same overall brand name are available). Ommegang has got it down just right, and their abbey ales are right up there with the Chimay brand (which is I believe still bottled in an abbey by monks). One of my favorites was their namesake: Ommegang Ale. They also make Hennepin and Rare Vos. The Ommegang Ale is about 8.5% alcohol content, and two bottles can easily leave you with a pleasant feeling as if you really had been drinking in the basement of an abbey. They also sell a wheat beer (which is a weisse bier) but I have not yet tried one.

I picked up an offering from Brewery Ommegang tonight at my distributor called Three Philosophers. It is one I had not heard of before, so I figured why not give it a try. It is dark, not too heady, very heavy and tastes great. It turned out to be a truly malty ale, with a hint of cherry lambic. I have got to say, that I am enjoying it, at this moment, very much - so much that it may become a new favorite if I hit the lottery. One bottle cost me about $8.60. I guess the fact that it is over 9% alcohol has something to do with the price.

I also picked up a couple of bottle of the Ommegang Abbey Ale. This while less expensive, at a bit more than half the price of the Three Philosophers, is just as tasty in its own way. It is another dark ale, and robust in flavor, and also has quite the kick. The other offerings I have tried from Ommegang are: Rare Vos and Hennepin. Both are somewhat weaker in strength, lighter in color, but certainly are not lacking in flavor. If you are a lite beer drinker, who actually likes watery tasting lite (lo-cal) beers, then forget about any of these. Speaking of water and beers, I wonder, do you know the similarity between lite beers and sex in a canoe? They are both f''ing close to water. (sorry I could not resist).
Oh well, as they say, later for you as I hear at least one of those three philosophers calling out to me wanting to discuss somethig with me over a cold one. So I am off to the back patio to enjoy the brisk nightime air of Spring's close, as I sip one of the finer ales I have ever tasted, and enjoy the allure of the Honeysuckle as it fills the nigt air with its heavenly aroma. Too bad though that I only bought one bottle of the Three Philosophers, next time I'll have to spend more on this one, and maybe do without the others, it is that good. Since I don't drink all that much, a few bottles of this could last me months weeks a week a few days at least a couple of days. As it is, I'll enjoy the one I have and maybe follow it up with a Franziskaner Heffe Weisse Bier, and then call it a night.
All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Can Be Done Since Documented Americans...

...certainly are going to become a very common sight at the borders of the United States of America; and of course by Americans I mean Americans as in country not as in continent because I am speaking about citizens of the United States of America. It is now required that each U.S. Citizen have a valid passport in order to enter the country from foreign soil, and this now includes from neighboring countries across out land borders. Yes I realize that people were recently given a sort of a reprieve and do not need passports to reenter from Mexico or Canada for the time being, but they still need a receipt showing they have applied for a valid U.S. passport.

Now I wonder, and I mean this sincerely, can you imagine a guy like Harry Reid, or like George W. Bush, feeling any sympathy for you if you lose your U.S. passport (meaning you are already a U.S. Citizen) and then sneak into the USA over the land border. What do you think will happen to you. Do you think you will be detained, arrested, fined, or jailed. It is quite possible that at least one or two of these things will happen. Maybe there is something else that will happen, will you be excluded, or in other words if caught immediately upon illegal entry into the USA, will you be forced to return to the country from whence you just departed such as Mexico or Canada as are illegal aliens who are caught at the border? I also wonder, and maybe you do too, what will happen to U.S. Citizens who sneak in and actually make it home away from the border. Will they be hunted down like illegal aliens should be hunted down. Will they then be interrogated, detained, arrested, fined or jailed?

Think about these questions, and think about them long and hard. You see, if the U.S. Government does not enforce this new law, then it is a farce and it will do nothing to really protect us from terrorists crossing our borders. Remember this is why the law or regulation was enacted in the first place. U.S. Citizens are required to have a U.S. passport to reenter the USA supposedly in order to help the government fight terrorism by making it harder for terrorists to enter our country. Now the government cannot produce passports fast enough and all you need for now is a receipt to show you have applied for one.

I have thought about all of this. If there is going to be strict enforcement this plan will work out great.; but will there be strict enforcement? Will there be fines or jail time for those of us citizens of the greatest nation on the earth if and when we enter our own country illegally? Maybe and maybe not, but probably not judging on the track record of our government. I mean just look to the entry of illegal aliens who flood across our border like an unstoppable Tsunami. They keep coming and our politicians, the ones who hold the reigns of power, do extremely little to absolutely nothing to really put a stop to this illegal entry, so how could they possibly do any different with U.S. Citizens. Hmm, wait a minute, let me give a bit more thought to this. They already have done differently, haven't they? They require U.S. Citizens to be documented at the borders don't they; but they do not require illegal aliens to have any documentation now do they! In fact they have gone so far, as seen in my last blog previous to this one, to call illegal aliens - undocumented Americans.

Many of our politicians welcome illegal aliens across our borders, and encourage more to enter illegally, with promises of amnesty, or what in essence amounts to amnesty, and a path to legal residence and ultimately to citizenship. Isn't that ironic and ridiculous? Should the current Immigration Reform Bill pass, then once these folks are legalized, what makes our government think that they will even for a moment consider getting valid U.S. Passports in order to legally cross the borders and help prevent terrorism while doing so? So then why is it that our political bosses are giving all these special considerations to people who have broken our laws in order to enter this country or in order to remain in this country beyond the period for which they may have been legally admitted? You and I both know the answer, they are seeking future votes for themselves and their parties, and they are seeking cheap labor for big business (don't ever let the leftists fool you into believing they do not support big business types that make donations to their political war chests - just look to Gorge Soros and to Hollywood moguls, and to any big business man who supported Bush).

Now you may also wonder, heck why is it that out government leaders give more benefits to illegal aliens while at the same time taking away our own liberties and requiring us to have passports and such. Well you see, if you are an adult over the age of 21, and are a U.S. Citizen, you are probably already a registered voter, and if not you are not likely to become one. So they know they have you pegged already, and they don't care as much about you as they do about 12 million new votes, and millions of cheap laborers. As for our children who will grow up to be voters, I guess they figure it this way: these kids will be so screwed up because of their parents' influence they will keep voting the way it has been for some time now - very far left and very loony - and I mean that even when we vote for most Republicans. Almost all of the candidates out there do not even have a clue as to what it would be to be a conservative platform in any way shape of form. So our elected officials basically have written us off as being as important to them as are 12 million illegal aliens. This is why they can scamper to make sure we all get passports as quickly as possible, and until then we use other documentation to be able to enter our own country, and why they can insist we enter our own country by the rules. It is also why, at the same time, they drag their asses on getting the new border fence erected (remember that one folks it was voted into law last year and they have put up less than a mere pittance of fence since then), and why they are trying to hammer in this new Immigration Reform Bill that will do little to actually reform Immigration from what it is today - which is a sorry state of affairs; but which most definitely will promote more illegal entry by aliens into our country.

Keep writing those letters folks, and maybe even make a call or two, an angry call, to your elected officials in Washington, DC to tell them that you vehemently oppose the immigration Reform Bill and any sort of amnesty or reward program for illegal aliens. Legal Immigration is another thing, and let them know that you realize such, but do not allow them to make any mistake conclusions about how you feel about the illegal alien problem; tell them straight out to remove them all from our country, tell them to prevent others from entering, and tell them to go after they who give illegals jobs that should be for U.S. Citizens and legal resident aliens.

Folks, if that doesn't work, then maybe it is getting close to the thing for which our Founding Fathers assured we would be armed. I hope not though because a revolution (non-violent or violent) against our own government could have excellent effects if won, or disastrous effects if lost. I do not advocate the overthrow of our own government, but I wonder, if it gets bad enough what else can we do, should we remain like sheep herded to slaughter regarding our rights, liberties, and sovereignty? I think we should never be under the thumb of tyrants, I think our Founding Fathers made this quite clear; yet I am afraid that is what our politicians are turning themselves into. I hope with all that is within me that it does not come to such, it would tear me apart to raise arms against my own country, as it would do likewise for me to serve tyrants.

All the best,
Glenn B