Friday, August 31, 2007

The Ammo Gods Have Looked Down…

...upon me and sent me their blessings. In other words, today was a great day, and it is nice to be in the right place at the right time (and that goes both for yesterday and today). While at the range for quarterly qualification yesterday, someone else who was there asked me if I could use some 7.62x25 ammo. I said sure! I explained that while I don’t currently own anything that shoots this ammunition, I have been pondering the purchase of a CZ-52. He said he had some ammo for me. Today, when I ran into the same person again, by which time I had forgotten all about the ammo, he asked me if I still wanted it! My answer: 'Sure I do!' What a coincidence, I now have 700 rounds of Winchester 7.62x25 Tokarev, 85 gr., FMJ - I guess it would pay to buy the pistol to shoot it.

I also got:


50 rounds 7.62x25 China Sports 85Gr. FMJ

125 rounds of 7.65 Browning (.32 Auto) and I already own an Ortgies pocket pistol in this caliber

100 rounds of .380 Auto Remington UMC, 95 gr. Metal case (another caliber for which I have no gun, but good trading stuff)

100 rounds of Remington .32 Win. Special, 120 grain, core-lokt soft point (nope no gun in this caliber either)

20 rounds of federal .32 Win. Special, 170 grain, hi-shok soft point

65 rounds of Ultramax .45 Colt, 250 gr., Round Nose Flat Point (nope again as to a shooter for it)

100 rounds of Ultramax 45 Colt, 200 gr. RNSP

47 rounds of Black Hills Ammunition .45 Colt, 250 gr., RNFP.

25 rounds of Remington 16 gauge, 2 3/4" shotgun shells, number 8 shot

25 rounds of Remington 16 gauge, 2 3/4" shotgun shells, number 4 shot

8 rounds of Winchester 16 gauge, 2 3/4" shotgun shells, number 1 buckshot

All of the ammo in original boxes from what I can tell. Not a bad haul for a freebie. Now I wish I knew how to tell if they are reloads or not. They look new to me, but I have little to almost no experience with reloaded ammo. Anyone have a clue – is there an easy way to tell if these are reloads? The guy I got them from was not the original source, he was a middle man who passed them onto me, so I did not bother asking, something about not looking a gift horse in the mouth, or better yet - not offending the ammo gods. Then again maybe I should have asked. I think I will ask him next week, but if anyone knows a way to distinguish between new and reloads, please let me know.

All the best,
Glenn B

Another Day At The Range...

...another day in Paradise. Getting back to work was great if only because I spent most of the afternoon at the range for quarterly qualifications. I didn't shoot as well as usual, but I guess that is sort of understandable what with my health in the dumpers over the past several weeks. I did manage to do fairly well though and scored a 138 and 137 out of 150 on both quals with my Glock 19. Then I shot a perfect score with my Remington 870, and shot a 246 out of 250 with my MP5. Those Glock scores had me a bit on the downside, but as the range officer said - he could tell I had been ill. I am sure next time, my score will be up where it belongs in the high 140s to 150. I also enjoyed some tactical exercises, and some defensive tactics training regarding defense against knives. All very informative, though I hope I never have to try to use those techniques.

Work can have its good days, and range days usually are very good indeed.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back To Work...

...for me today. Feeling somewhat better, so I figure I had better get my butt back to the job. I have been out a week and a half straight now, with about 2 or 2 1/2 weeks added to that over the past month and a half; I am running out of sick leave. Anyway, it sucks being home with not a lot to do, I am better off at work with not much to do; though I kind of doubt I'll have little to do as I'll need to play catch up on some things.

Today though, I am hopeful they will have room for me at the range for our quarterly qualifications. I have already missed two range days I scheduled because of whatever bug has been keeping me down. I think I'll be able to shoot today, and hope I do it well. Regardless of how I do, I do need to get my qualifications finished.

No blogging for the rest of the day; probably some tonight.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yesteray In History: Proving The Negative Image of the USA to be Wrong...

...has been difficult for the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan, though I think somewhat easier in Afghanistan. Then again, the united States of America has had a negative image throughout the world once we attained a place of strength among nations, once we became a power, let alone once we became a world power. I think some of the main reasons that the image of our great nation has suffered is because: they from the rest of the world, both civilized and not so civilized, throughout history, have been envious of what we have attained while they have not attained such, have misconstrued that we have done so always at the great expense of others and therefore are a threat to them, have rushed to judgement based in great part upon what detractors of the USA and her principals have told them (such as political, religious, and military leaders, and naysayers within our own borders), and because in our Republic we have a form of government, a lifestyle if you will, wherein our citizens, even aliens within our country, can speak out against the government. Other nations do not understand the the rights we enjoy through our various liberties. These things are as foreign to a Chinese rice farmer, as they are to an Afghan goat herder, as they are to many within countries that were once within the Soviet Union, as they are to the citizens of Venezuela or Mexico, and even as they are to those in countries like Germany and England. None of these people share with us the full array of liberties that we here in the USA are free to enjoy.

Yet the USA, and her people, have often been able to overcome most of the negative images that have been portrayed about her by they who would demean us unfairly. A perfect example of about that which I speak started to take place on August 28, 1945 when at an airstrip near Tokyo, American forces began to land. Thus began the actual occupation of japan by armed forces of the USA. Prior to WWII, and all throughout WWII, the Japanese people had an extremely negative image of the people of the United States. They believed us to be barbarians of the worst order, they believed we had little to no morality, they believed us to be physically and mentally inferior to the Japanese people, they believed the USA was intent on dominating Japan and conquering (this before the war broke out). Why, all because of propaganda of the worst sort. Well, it was with the occupation of Japan, that the man on the street in Japan began to realize that such was not the case. of course this was a hard image to overcome, especially in light of the fact that we had bombed both Hiroshima, Nagasaki with nukes, and had fire bombed Tokyo; but it was an image that was eventually overcome. In fact it was overcome so much, that Japan shortly had become, and remains, one of our staunchest allies in the world.

Now if all of those negative things that people imagined about the USA had been true, then how was it that the Japanese became our allies, how was it that our nations got on friendly terms and maintain that friendship so many years later? Was it that the rumors of our horrendous barbaric peoples and customs were true, but we suddenly changed once we occupied Japan. No of course not! The fact is that most if not all of those rumors about how terrible we were were simply proven to be false by the actions we took with those we had defeated in battle. Yes, even though our enemy had been cruel, even though our enemy had provoked the fight, even though they had attacked us in a sneak attack, even though the badly mistreated prisoners of war, even though it was they who often acted barbaric by almost any other nation's standards of decency - we treated them better than fairly after we defeated them despite the fact that we fought them with all we had while they remained combative.

There is a lesson to be learned from all that, and the lesson is applicable today. We need to fight our enemies with all we have in order to win, and I do mean whatever it takes to preserve the Republic. Once we have defeated our enemy we can get down to the act of doling out sympathy for them, but not until that time. They are still kidnapping and beheading people (people who are not combatants), they are still sending suicide bombers against there own kind to provoke sectarian violence, they are fighting as dirty as one can fight; and what are we doing. We are trying to play politics and gain political brownie points by doing things in a politically correct manner. We are winning, but all the while we are dragging our armed forces through the mud because we have weighted them down with political correctness. These are wars which we wage against terrorism, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan and other places; they are not political forums.

We need to get serious, and kick some ass without bothering to stop to see if we have offended anyone. War is offensive - live with it, or lose the war. Then once our enemy has been defeated we can ask him how we can help him to come back into the developed world in a peaceful manner. That is exactly what we did in Japan, exactly what we did in Italy, exactly what we did in Germany, and all of these countries who once were our avowed enemies are now, at least to some extent, our allies. What we did in 1945 is what we we should be doing now.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ah, The Ammo Arriveth...

...at my front doorstep today, and this time UPS even knocked on the door to get a signature from someone in my house. Much better than when they delivered the tree stand I had ordered, and then had to send back because it was damaged in shipping.

Well, now I have a bit more 7.62x39mm in my ammo locker, 500 rounds more. No not a great deal of it, but a good little addition to my stock, so we can continue to enjoy shooting our SKS, and that is a good thing indeed. The price was much higher than what I paid the previous time I purchased some, almost double if I remember right; and I imagine it will only be going up again in price in the near future. I couldn't afford it now, but I figured I surely would be even less able to afford it in the future. I'll have to skimp a bit somewhere.

Now I need to get away with Brendan for some quality range time. Maybe in a week or so, I hope I am feeling up to it by then. Of course I may just let him drive, and I'll go along for the ride and supervise his shooting.

All the best,
Glenn B

Political Poll - Where do you stand?

Here is a little political poll for those of you who lean toward the right, or even those of you who have fallen over the left edge. I found it thanks to The Anarchangel, and I figured I would share it with you here too; but make sure to visit The Anarchangel now and again, he has some good stuff to read up on on his blog.




All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I am Thinking About A Doctor...

...getting a new doctor that is because mine have still not figured out what ails me. I have been sick so often lately, I actually miss going to work. Still waiting for the results of a CT scan though, maybe that will make the difference in my diagnosis. One can only hope, but if not, then maybe you want to consider buying stock in Scott Paper Products, because we sure have been spending a lot on joy rolls lately.

The darnedest thing is I start to feel better, then wham I am sick again big time. Saturday during the day, I felt much better, not 100% but at least 80%; then Saturday night I was on the throne more times than I could count. I just don't get it; but I sure hope the docs will figure it out soon.

One other thing: Sorry there was no blogging from me yesterday; I may do some tomorrow, but not likely today. Just too out of it, and I have to try to rest to be able to attend traffic court later for some parking tickets.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Most Ridculous Quote...

...that I have read in a long time is, in my opinion, this one:

"You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know... It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We're thankful it wasn't, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out."

This comment was reportedly made by New Haven Connecticut Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga regarding a trail of "flour" (as in the stuff with which you bake bread) that was laid out by some runners who were part of a group for whom they were marking a running trail; see:
Race Planners Charged for Causing Bioterror Scare at Connecticut IKEA. But wait, it gets worse, not comment wise by action wise.


So what happened, someone saw them doing this through an IKEA parking lot, and they called police, apparently as I see it, in a panic. The next thing you know IKEA is evacuated. (Now, I wonder, why evacuate the store when the powder is outside?) The police begin a "massive" full scale investigation of suspected chemical or bio-terrorism, instead of looking into this sensibly. Even police from surrounding towns responded.

Someone else responded too. Once the guy who left the trail heard about the commotion, he returned to the scene and told police it was a trail made out of flour so other runners could follow. I guess that means it was biodegradable, not bio-terrorism. Now the guy and his sister, who helped him leave the trail, have been arrested on first degree of peace felony charges. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the police who handled this matter are the ones who should be charged with breach of peace. To evacuate a store, to call in other police departments, to cordon off the whole area, and to do whatever else they did without first seeking the guy who left the trail for an explanation was totally outrageous as I see it. Apparently all they would have had to do was follow the trail - and would you think they would have done that in order to see if the guy and his sister were still leaving a trail! Hell if they were terrorists, wouldn't the police want to catch them at it, and prevent them for doing more of it! Well it was not reported that that is what the police did since the guy had to come back to explain his actions of his own accord. This seems, on the reported facts so far, to have been a totally blown out of proportion response by New Haven Police officials. Now to save face what do they do, charge the powder sprinklers with a felony, and expect restitution from them for the overblown police response! An amazing piece of police work in its seeming lack of professionalism, and apparent out and out incompetence.

All the best,
Glenn B

Today In History - Some Real Boomers...

...were heard in different parts of the world. On this date in 1346, the English were the first Europeans to employ cannon on the European Battlefield. They were used against the French at Crecy, needless to say: The French lost again. The main effect of the cannon was to distract the enemy, and put fear into his heart, whereas the victory has been attributed to English archers.

Another loud boomer on today's date, and one much more fatal than the English use of cannon at Crecy, was the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. The eruption, and resultant tsunami killed an estimated 36,000 people. According to the website: Today In Science History @
http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_26.htm: "The huge amount of volcanic dust thrust high into the stratosphere eventually travelled around the world. The dust blocked sunlight causing temperature drops and chaotic weather patterns for several years afterwards." Funny how a sun blocking pollutant in the atmosphere back then caused global cooling, and similar carbon dust is supposedly contributing to just the opposite now. I'll have to consult Al Gore the Grand Poobah of Global Warming on this one!

Just when you think things cannot get worse, we are reminded that shit happens, so maybe it is best to try to enjoy what we have right now, and of course, to try to remain prepared for the worst.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Was Under The Micrscope Today...

...well at least under the scrutiny of my wife's questioning stare when I came home from a brief excursion to pick up a few items at a couple of local stores. Just before leaving the house this morning, I asked she who must be obeyed adored if she needed anything from the pet shop, or wanted anything from the beverage (as in beer) distributor. She told me to pick up something for the dogs at the pet shop, and to make sure to fill the tank on the Corolla. My initial plan had been to set out to pick up some beer for my brothers-in-law who were coming over for a BBQ this afternoon, and now I had to get some liquid refreshment for the Corolla too. I was also going to stop at the pet shop for a couple of things. My wife's needs did not change things much, so off I went.

I made one detour though on the way to the stores. I stopped at what was supposed to have been a local tag sale (as in estate or complete home contents sale). It was not far out of the way, and I hoped maybe I would find some treasure at a bargain price that I could later sell on eBbay. As I drove down the tidy tree lined street, I spied a driveway with a gaggle of junk piled up on tables and the ground. Oh-oh, not good, figured I, this was a garage sale, not a tag sale! I took a look from the car, and was about to drive off, when the buy it bug bit me. I got out and took a quick look around. At first the only thing that caught my eye was a microscope, a not too old one, probably from the 60s or 70s, monocular eyepiece with three objective lenses. It was marked $25.00. I passed on it even though it seemed to be in excellent condition, and I really mean excellent. I walked around, and sauntered into the garage, where I was stopped by the lady of the house who told me nothing in the garage was for sale, except that maybe later on she would throw a $1.00 tag on her husband and sell him as a used couch potato (no her husband was not there just then). I did an about face and headed to the the small front lawn area, almost bumping into a sort of grumpy looking guy (yes he was the lady's husband as it turned out), and I looked a few other things over. Not much. Then I almost stumbled over a box on the ground. It was a Coleman 2 burner compact gas stove, in a box that had apparently never been opened. Right next to it was a Coleman double burner gas lantern, opened, but in never used condition. The stove was marked $25.00, and the lantern was marked $15.00. I did some quick math and figured that all three items in which I had sort of an interest came out to $65.00 (not bad for a guy who hated math). I also figured that the $52.00 in my pocket would not cover these three items, gas for the car (needed 3/4 of a tank), beer for the in-laws, and food for my mice and hamsters.

Oh heck, I gave it a shot anyhow. I asked the lady in charge with whom would I have to haggle over these items, and she smiled and asked which ones. I told her the three, and she said I had to talk to her husband, then pointed to a guy sitting in the garage. Yes that was the guy I had just about bumped into, the grumpy looking one, the same guy she had just joked about saying she was going to sell him at the end of the day for $1.00 as a used couch potato. Oh well. I gave it my best shot at haggling. I asked him if he would take $45 for the lot. Do you remember I thought the man looked grumpy, well shame on first impressions, he was actually very nice indeed - cordial, courteous, friendly and helpful. He said "How much?", and I said it again. He said he didn't know, because she wasn't sure how much he was asking for the three items. When I told him they all came out to $65, he said $50, and I said deal. That left me $2.00 for gas, pet shop stuff, and beer.

I packed the things into the Corolla, and was off to the ATM at my local bank. I quick pit stop gave me enough cash to complete the rest of my appointed rounds - or should I just say "my appointed rounds", leaving off "the rest of"; since my garage sale stop was not appointed to me by the boss. Then to the distributor for a 1/2 case of Pilsner Urquel, and a 6 pack of Spaten Oktoberfest. After that a quick stop in the pet shop, and then straight back home. No I did not forget the gas; this was just taking longer than I had expected so I hurried home to keep the beers cold. After all a man has to have priorities, and gas can be bought tomorrow. From the look 'she' gave me when I told her I did not fill up the tank, I had best do it tomorrow without fail.

Once home I told the wife about my purchases and she just rolled her eyes. My in-laws were there already, and while the mother-in-law did not comment, the 2 brothers-in-law though I had done well. Later on I sat down at the computer and did some online shopping. I could not find a microscope that matched the one I has bought, a Swift No. 615758, all metal construction with 4X, 10X and 40X objectives, and a 10X WF eyepiece. Similar types today go for about $130 to $200 new. As for the camp stove, it was on a few websites for sale from $81.95 (with zero shipping) to $89.95 (with $15 shipping). A newer similar model (off by one letter in the model number) sells direct from Coleman for about $90. The lantern sells for $60.99 from Coleman.

Yes I think I did well by myself today! I got these items much less than retail, and two of them were brand spanking new (well at least never used before) and the boxes looked pretty new. I think they will get some use on a camping trip or two that I will now have to plan, and certainly when I go hunting later this year. Of course, when not in use they will be stored in my grab and go kit for shit hits the fan emergency situations.

I am hopeful that Brendan will get some use out of the microscope. He works at a veterinary clinic now as a kennel worker; and he has hopes of studying to become a veterinarian. My guess is that anything that will help him out in biological or zoological sciences is a plus. I know that for awhile, way back when, I was quite fascinated with the stuff I collected and viewed under the microscope I owned as a youngster. It was a lot less nice, and less well made than is this one, that was for sure. If he does not get a kick out of it (hopefully a kick in the right direction toward college as he will soon be starting his senior year in HS), well then, I guess I can use it to do some micro-exploring myself. Who knows, maybe can figure out what bug has been keeping me down for the past few weeks since the docs have not done so, at least not yet.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, August 24, 2007

General George S. Patton Lives - or does he?

Well, even if it is only a YouTube video, it is a great to see and hear him (or at least someone who sounds like George C. Scott) go at today's terrorism. If you liked the movie Patton, and if you are ready to see terrorists get what they deserve, and are sick and tired of people who make excuses for terrorism, then grab a favorite beverage (no alcohol for you kids, just for us oldsters) and sit back and enjoy this video:




It sure says an awful lot of sensible things about the current world situation regarding terrorism and rogue nations. The man who made this one up is very good indeed. My thanks to The Autonomist for having this poste don his site. great stuff.

All the best,
Glenn B

Do you believe I have threatened you...

...by placing this picture here on my blog? Yes I ask this question in all seriousness. Why do I ask it? Well I am really interested to know if this picture, a drawing by a 13 year old could possibly pose a threat to anyone in the mind of my readers. You see, it did just that, that is it posed a threat to students in the school where it was drawn - well as per the school officials anyhow! A school district spokesman was quoted as saying that the drawing was "absolutely considered a threat,". Can you imagine that, a drawing of a gun is now a threat. If not, then see Arizona School Suspends 13-Year-Old Boy for Drawing Gun.

So the child who drew it, a 13 year old, was suspended for 5 days, then the suspension was reduced to 3 days. If it was my son who had been suspended for drawing such a thing in his school, I would soon be the father of a multi-millionaire. That this child was suspended, even reprimanded, was absolutely ridiculous. That school officials made references to the Columbine shooting, when they discussed the 'seriousness' of the matter with the child's parents was, in my view, absolutely foolish and insulting. That this happened in Mesa, AZ is beyond belief, but I guess it is a sign of the times.

I believe that the school officials overreacted in this matter; and I believe they owe the child and his parents an apology, and that they also owe the whole artsy-fartsy establishment an apology too. How dare they take umbrage at what a young potential ultra leftist liberal promising gun loving artist has drawn! Now, if it was a naked gay rights advocate he had drawn, I think they probably would have not taken offense, but would have lovingly urged him to do more works just like it, so they could all get a copy to hang in their homes.

I truly believe the young lad's parents should sue in his name, and sue for big bucks for all the mental anguish this must have caused him. I also think they should put the picture up for auction on eBay. He might make as much or more than he really could in a lawsuit against the ultra libs at his school.

All the best,

Glenn B

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Small Wonder...

...and good one at that. I ordered ammo yesterday, and half the order was shipped today! I did not expect it to be quite that fast, and that is a good thing. The other half will not ship for a while yet, but that is because it was back ordered; and of course that means I expected the delay with it. Still it is truly amazing you can order one day, and it is shipped the next. Good things do happen now and again - 500 rounds of 7.62x39 are on their way home.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are Ammo Prices Really Set To Rise By Up To 25%?

There has been a bunch of discussion on the gun forums lately saying that ammunition prices are set to rise. Some bloggers like Greybeard have also noted likewise in their rants. In addition, the news media is spouting off about ammunition shortages for police departments; though I tend to think that article is a lot of hooey. So it seems do others think likewise, see:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=296522.

What I do not think is hooey, is that ammo prices will rise as guys like Greybeard have pointed out. The reason I think this is true is because I have heard it from him, and elsewhere, and in fact from an ammunition dealer's website. As per the good folks at Natchez Shooter's Supplies ammo prices have been set to rise from 5 to 25% by ammo manufacturers, effective September 1, 2007; see:

http://www.natchezss.com/customerService.cfm?contentID=manuIncrease&src=BA481.

Not only do they point out the expected rise in ammo pricing, they actually give links to letters they attribute to certain manufacturers: CCI & Federal, Remington, and Winchester. Click on each of those ammo manufacturer names to see PDF format letters, apparently from each of them about the upcoming ammo pricing increase.

OUCH, that is gunna hurt! So, to avoid the sting later on, I just went ahead and placed an order with Sportsmansguide.com for 200 rounds of .35 Remington (a case as far as that round goes) at only 13.97 a box for 200 Gr. Winchester Super-X. That is a good deal since I have seen locally at gun shops and mega stores at about $18 to $20 per box. I also ordered 500 rounds of Wolf 7.62x39 122 Gr. HP steel cased ammo at $88.32. Even with shipping at $17.99 its a deal, especially since I got $10 off with a coupon, so in effect shipping was only $7.99. I really needed some other ammo too, but truth be told, I cannot even afford that which I just ordered. Then again, once the prices go up, I'd be even less able to afford it, so it is sort of a good purchase even if it makes things tight for a month. If I can swing it, I'll also buy 500 rounds of .22 WMR before the month is over.

I suggest anyone who anticipates a need for ammo in the near future do what I did and buy now before any price increases. Shop around and find the best prices that you can, then scoop up as much as you can. Just a 15% raise in prices will be cost prohibitive for many shooters, let alone some increases up to 25%.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Another bout...

...of whatever was ailing me a week and a half ago and turning me into a marathon runner, hit me hard again this weekend; therefore the lack of blogging Sunday. I was feeling somewhat crappy (no pun intended) on Saturday, and really got bad Sunday night with a fever added into the mix.

Even as early as Thursday night I realized I was getting worse (having never really gotten over whatever it was that made me ill the week before). So, I called my doc who told me to go ahead an fill a prescription he had given me for Vancomycin. I dropped it off on Friday and went to pick it up on Saturday. I had about $50 or $60 bucks with me and figured that would be enough, but when the pharmacist told me I owed her $195.00 I almost fell over. I asked he to check and make sure that was after my insurance, and she told me that the price of this drug without insurance in my dosage was over $1,000.00. This is an antibiotic, this was for something ailing me that caused the squirts, and for something that my doctors had not even diagnosed except for a guess since the tests came back negative. I declined but asked them to hold it. I figured I would make it until Monday and check with my doc as to whether or not I take something else. Well Saturday night things got real bad, so on Sunday I went to the pharmacy and picked up the script; I guess I can thank VISA for that for now.

On Sunday afternoon I took the first pill. Four hours later I was super sick, and was running more than I had in a week, truly a sprinter over and over again. Then a fever hit me. I was baffled - was this caused by the antibiotic. Nah couldn't be. I sort of reluctantly took another at its appointed hour. Come Monday morning I was so sick I slept right through my doctor's appointment at 0900. I called an made another appointment for today. My doctor called me later on to check on me, and he told me if still feeling as bad this morning, that I should head to the emergency room for admission to the hospital. Yikes, that scared me some. Must have scared the sh.. out of me too because when I got up this morning, I felt somewhat better. I did not have to sprint all night once I had fallen asleep. Now granted I am still feeling ill, and far from 100 percent, but I feel an awful lot better than I have since Saturday night. I guess the miracle/expensive drug is kicking in.

The irony of this all is that this stuff, the antibiotic was discovered somewhere in a jungle in the soil. I seem to remember my parents telling me how sick I could get playing in the dirt when I was younger, but this stuff offers hope of a cure for what ails you (or at least what ails me). So maybe I should get out into the garden more often. It sure isn't dirt cheap either now is it, but it seems to be doing its job of cleaning out my system of the little nasties that have afflicted me, and that is a good thing. Cheap as dirt, nah, no way - but certainly worth every penny if it gets me well again.

While it maybe expensive, and while I could afford it because of my job and medical plan; my bet is that this drug is not kept from those who need it and cannot afford it thanks to our system of medical care. They who can afford it are required to have health insurance or pay out of their pockets for care, and those who cannot are helped out when in need. I wonder though, if we were under a system of socialized medicine, how long would I have had to wait before they would have even seen me at the doctor let alone doled this stuff out to me. I'd probably be dead before they would have thought - oh well we should have tried that one.

One really good thing about our system of medical care, it makes you strive to better yourself, to get a better job, to make more money, to pay for your own health insurance. I just cannot see socialized medicine doing anything like that for you - but I can see a socialist government forcing you to work at whatever they choose for you and then treating you like shit by giving you substandard medical care, among other substandard things, even though you slaved for the cause.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nature Is All Around Us, All You Have To Do Is Take A Look...

...and you will see the natural world always striving to survive. This is true whether you live in a rural setting as does Straight White Guy or in a more urban one as do I. Today, Eric experienced the wonder of some whitetail deer, a doe and twin fawns. You can read about his experience here; it sounds as if it was a good one. It got me to thinking about nature abounding even here on Long Island the eastern doorstep of New York City (heck even in New York City) , but alas there are no deer around where I live.

While I live where there are no deer, though within 35 miles or so they are fairly abundant. Yet, even though I live just 12 miles of so east of the NYC border, natural life abounds here in its own hang on tough way, and so too does it even in NYC. Raccoons are around, opossums seem to flourish, moles, voles, shrews, mice are around, snakes can be found not far away, as to can turtles, lizards, frogs, and toads. Hawks swoop down in my small backyard and grab a bird from near the bird feeders now and then. Gray squirrels abound, especially at my bird feeders. Birds of many other sorts often pay visits to my bird feeders. Plants of so many kinds are around that I don't even know the names of more than a few of them, and there are bugs (not as many as there once were, I guess with all the garden and lawn insecticides in use).

A short drive, maybe 10 miles from my home, brought me to a tidal creek today where I set a minnow trap hoping to catch some dinner for my musk Turtle and Water Snake. The tidal creek runs in and out of a small dammed off pond in a town park. What I believe to have been a great egret, it was huge for an egret, visited there today as I waited for the fish to oblige and fill my trap. A blue clawed crab, with fabulously blue claws, and one of the largest I have ever seen, scuttled into the rocks in deeper water as I approached it for a better look at creek side. When I hauled out my minnow trap, it was shimmering with a good number of banded killifish, what looked like Brook Silversides though these are not reported in this area as far as I am aware, and another small fish as yet unknown to me, maybe a sunfish of some sort.

Yes nature is all around us, even close to and within the megalopolises, and all we have to do is slow down or stop now and again to realize it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday Projects - what to do?

Well, I got some weeding done in the garden today, a lot of weeding considering I have not pulled weeds for about 5 weeks now because I had been sick. I swept up outside a little, just what little the wife wanted done, and I do mean only a little. I hung a wall clock, and moved a picture. I guess that was it, pretty lazy but that is me at most times.

Last night I had called my sister and left a message saying I might come to visit. So, I also spent much of the morning getting ready to go to visit my mom, who lives with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. Then I checked my voice mails today, and my sister had left a message to say she was sick, so it was great I was coming because I could take my mom out for dinner, while my sister got ready for a sleep-over party! It appears as if my nephew is going to have a few friends over for the night. So I called my sis again today, this time actually speaking to her, and she told me not only does she have pink eye from her cats, but her cats are sick too. I don't need anything of anything to do with illness again, I am still not completely over my marathon runs of last weekend! Yes they have stayed with me for over a week now, but I am slowly getting better. It all boiled down to me deciding to stay closer to home, and wait until either tomorrow or next weekend for me to see them all.


Now I need to figure how to spend the rest of the afternoon without spending it all online. My wife just ordered some Greek food for delivery, so I guess dinner is up soon. Then I think I'll have to stop at the pharmacy and pick up the latest wonder drug prescribed to me by my doctor to stop the marathons runs that were caused by the last wonder drug a doctor prescribed for me to cure my bronchitis. Jeesh!

Of course I may decide to have some fun too; and I may just take a drive to the pet shop to pick up some crickets for the bearded dragons; and after that on the way home I may stop at a local tidal creek and try to catch some minnows or killie fish for my turtle. Now that may mean I'll have to wet a line too, and see if I can catch anything bigger using one of those killies or minnows, but only if I feel up to it after dinner. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

If I don't make it out of the house, I guess that means cleaning up the basement, and maybe putting another coat of boiled linseed oil on my Mosin-Nagant stock. Not bad if I have to stay home, but not as much fun as fishing.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Firearms Training & Tactics - Getting A Grip...

... on yourself helps to keep you in control of yourself. Getting the proper grip on your pistol or revolver of choice, helps you control not just where the gun is pointed, but also will help you improve your accuracy as well as improve the reliable function of the firearm. A good and secure grip is one of the basics of learning to shoot, and maintaining shooting proficiency. So just what constitutes a good grip, and how does one learn to develop one. A good grip is essentially one in which your grasp the firearm's grip area with your hand to the full extent intended within the design parameters of the grip itself. In other words you grab hold of it with as much hand as you can within practicality, and you do so so that your grip fits your hand and your hand conforms to your grip. While your hand may not have been made for your pistol or revolver grip, you can rest assured there is a grip that probably has been made for your hand.

In most instances of a pistol or revolver, the grip with the primary shooting hand (usually right hand for righties and left hand for lefties, also known as the strong hand) is the grip that makes most of the difference as to how you will shoot; and gripping a pistol or revolver one handed is the first thing you should learn about proper grip. The reason for this is simple: Unless you own some far fetched super macho two hand grip pistol or revolver, you virtually always draw the pistol, and begin to bring it into action, with one hand. Yes this one hand is often met by your other hand to maintain a proper two handed grip, but the truth is your for all practical purposes draw and first bring the weapon to play with one hand. Therefore I believe, it is extremely important to learn how to grip the firearms properly with that hand, before you even think of using a two hand hold. So how do you fill your hand properly? Well I guess I can best explain it by showing it to you. I'll show you how to make a one hand grip of a semi-automatic pistol.

Note that I am showing and explaining how to grip a pistol. I am not explaining how to actually draw from any given holster. Before you can draw from a holster you must first undo any retention device that keeps the pistol in the holster, and that is usually done just before you start step one or as you actually start to bring the pistol from the holster - all dependent upon holster design. Again this is just showing how to get a good grip.

1) When you get a grip for shooting the web of your drawing hand should meet the pistol on the backstrap directly underneath the tang. Your hand is going at the pistol grip almost like it is going to shake someone else's hand in that regard. Note the position of the thumb, and of the three fingers (middle, ring and pinkie) of the drawing hand. They are all poised and about to wrap around the grip of the pistol with a firm hold. Of course, you cannot see almost any of the index or trigger finger - but it is in contact with the pistol. You will be able to better see it in the next picture.


1-B) The view of the other side of the pistol shows the position of the trigger finger when drawing or first applying a grip to the pistol.
Note that when you pick up, draw, or otherwise handle a pistol (or any firearm) you leave your finger off of the trigger until you are actually ready to fire. If you draw with your finger already engaging the trigger, there is an increased probability that you will fire the weapon while drawing, and quite possibly shoot yourself. I learned this lesson when a coworker of mine did just that, he shot himself in his leg.

2) The next step is to assume a good grip on the pistol grip. Wrap your thumb and fingers, excluding the trigger finger, around the grip pretty much as shown. Note this the third picture, but it is marked as step 2 because it is the second action you take in gripping the pistol. The trigger finger remains where it was in pic 1-B, until ready to actually fire the weapon.
Have you paid attention to the position of the wrist? It is important to have the wrist in a firm straight position, basically in parallel line with the slide and barrel.


3) Once ready to fire the weapon, the trigger finger comes into position on the trigger, all the while as the other fingers keep firm position on the pistol grip. The trigger finger comes into contact with the trigger only as far as the finger tip pad. This allows for proper trigger control when you fire.


Note that the rest of the grip has, in essence, not changed from picture 2 above. The wrist is also still in the same position. You are now ready to fire and the pistol should already be pointing if not precisely aimed in at your intended target.


All it would take to fire the pictured pistol (a Beretta 92FS, 9mm, semi-automatic pistol) would be to squeeze (or pull) the trigger with your trigger finger in that position if it was loaded (and remember to treat each pistol you pick up or handle as if it were loaded, too many accidents happen because people thought the gun was not loaded, and firearms accidents are fatal all to often). If you have learned how to point shoot or aim in, you would likely hit your target. If you maintain that grip after each shot is fired, you would then be ready to fire again, and again, and again as needed. Once you have decided to stop shooting (at the range, in a self defense situation, in the field, wherever) you immediately remove your finger from the trigger. If you are holstering or putting the weapon down or away, you basically reverse the grip steps above. Of course, depending on the situation you want to make sure the weapon is safe. On this one you would be required to at least operate the 'hammer drop' aka: safety; or if you want to make sure it is empty, you would want to remove all possible remaining ammunition by removing the magazine, then unloading any ammunition remaining in the chamber, then visually and physically checking to make sure it is empty - all the while with finger off of the trigger and the pistol pointed in a safe direction.

Two quick pics of what you do not want to do when gripping a pistol follow:
You do not want to grip the pistol like this. Note the web of the hand is not properly positioned directly under the tang. This makes for piss poor shooting on the part of most shooters, especially new shooters, and or those not so good at it even after years of practice. This allows for the pistol to move around in your grip too much with the recoil from each shot. Because your hand is not in proper position, it also allows for the proper wrist position to be broken, resulting in the much feared 'limp wristing' and this can result not only in poor accuracy, but in pistol malfunctions, or so said all of my instructors over all the years I have been shooting.
The other no-no that I want to show you is in the last grip picture. It shows the trigger finger extended too far over the trigger, so that the first joint (or last joint depending on how you look at it) is actually completely over the trigger. This is not good as it can cause accuracy problems.
Of course, you probably will at times see someone holding a pistol improperly and still hitting the target. Yet I would wonder how much better they might do it they held it correctly. So, why pick up bad habits right from the get go? Start off with good habits, learn how to get it right from the beginning, and you will see that learning to shoot is probably much easier that you thought it would be. If you already exhibit some bad habits, why not get rid of them, use proper technique, and see if your shooting skills improve.
Don't depend just on this to teach you how to do it. Get instruction from a certified firearms instructor if possible, or at least from someone proficient in pistol shooting before you try it yourself.
All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Best of YouTube? You decide, but I think so!

One of the all time 'songs of truth' has been married to a bunch of photographs, making the linked to slide show at YouTube the absolute best YouTube work I have seen to date.

Now I'll grant that I have not watched all that many videos or slide shows on YouTube, but I am really beginning to think that YouTube should start to become a regular Internet surfing spot for me since it does show stuff like this. Of course I also have to thank my brother-in-law Alex, who sent this to me.

Be advised that if you are easily offended by mild curse words (and I am pretty sure it is only one curse word repeated), and I do mean a mild word by my standards naming part of the body, then this may not be for you with sound - but please realize that without sound it loses everything. Likewise, if you are easily sickened by seeing appalling photographs, you may not want to watch the slide show (nothing gruesome mind you, just sort of appalling faces), but it is well worth the watch. There is one shot, followed by another that I found to be particularly appropriate regarding the politics of one political leader.

I really have got to say it again, it is the best YouTube work I have seen. Thanks Onkel Alex.

All the best,
Glenn B

Our Government Absolutely Depraved...

...and if you need proof then just look to Census Bureau Asks That Immigration Raids Halt for 2010 Count. Are those at the top of the Census Bureau totally out of their minds? I imagine so. You see, if ICE, and the Border Patrol, and state and locals, were to get the job done - there would few to no illegal immigrants aliens within our borders to have to count in the first place; yet these morons are worried that government agents doing their jobs and enforcing the laws of our nation will cause a distrustful group of immigrunts to be even more distrustful of the government. Hell why are they distrustful in the first place - they have nothing except themselves of which to be distrustful - they are the criminals who broke the law - not me or any other government agent for enforcing them. No one in our government ever offered them streets paved with gold as an incentive for them to break the law to come here illegally. Round em up, and kick em out; and build a big fence along the whole border, a real fence with barbed wire, electricity, and maybe even some machine guns, then hire legal immigrants to patrol the borders. I would bet they would do a great job of it after having to wait years to get here.

All the best,
Glenn B

Another in the Ranks of the KMA Club...

Last night, after work, my friend Pete A and I headed off through the rather sultry streets of Manhattan to grab a bite to eat. No ordinary bite to eat mind you, I had selected the restaurant because I knew they offered good eats and about 200 different selections of Scotch Whiskey. (Not that we would be drinking of course, but it makes for better atmosphere.) I figured good food and being surrounded by good spirits was a good way to celebrate Pete's entry into the KMA Club since yesterday was the last mandatory day for him to work before he officially was eligible to retire from the bourgeois government position he has held for just under the last 29 years or so.

We went to St. Andrews Restaurant on 44th Street. I have written about it before, and all I will say here about it is that if you are ever in the heart of NYC, and want some good food and to be surrounded by fine spirits, this is a a place to try. It is a tad on the expensive side if you eat a full dinner (dinner for 2 with hypothetical drinks was $106 and change, excluding tip), but they serve bar food up front at a much less expensive hit (if only I had known this before making up my mind to treat). Well anyway, the food is truly deliciously excellent, and worth almost every penny, and the service is excellent too. I had a rack of lamb and Pete had some dish with Ocean Scallops that looked to die for. He enjoyed his meal and being surrounded by those fine spirits.

Now hypothetically speaking of course, if we were to have imbibed we would have both had a pint of crisp English cider, and after the meal he would have enjoyed a Speyside in the way of a dram of Balvenie 15 year old single barrel, and I an Island distilled 14 year old Scarps. Ah being surrounded by fine spirits is a good thing - hypothetically speaking of course.

In case you were wondering as to the references to the KMA Club, and you have not yet guessed the meaning of KMA, well just think of what you would like to tell one or two of your bosses on the day you become eligible to retire, and the K stands for Kiss, the M for My and the A for...

It was a swell time with a good friend.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thar Be Dragons...

...in that shipment about to arrive on my doorstep. Baby Bearded Dragons that is; and fifteen of them should be here by 1000 hours. Yes I am getting back into the keeping of bearded dragons, one of my favorite lizards. I'll probably keep 4 or 5 of these for breeding purposes. I figure by this time next year, the ones that I keep of this clutch will be producing offspring of their own for me. So why get 15, when I plan to keep 4 to 5 of them. Well chances are I can offload the others so that I break even on my initial cost for the ones I keep. If they are all healthy, and one can only hope I am dealing with a reputable breeder who is selling these to me (and he certainly sounds to be one so far), then I should easily at least break even.

The little lizards started their journey late yesterday afternoon in or around Minot, North Dakota. By 2320 hours they were in Memphis, Tennessee, and at 0646 they were in Jamaica, NY (part of NYC), and (since I just refreshed the tracking screen) I see that at 0819 they were at the Garden City facility, only about 2 miles from my home. I guess they really will be at my doorstep by 10 AM as promised. What a good breeder/dealer from what I can see so far. I sent payment, and he had them shipped within hours! As a matter of fact, ah loving wife I have, she who puts up with things like bearded dragons, other lizards, turtles, tortoises, lots of snakes, frogs, toads, newts, breeder mouse colonies, dwarf hamsters, and of course me and my son.

Oh the waiting, the pacing back and forth (and me still under the weather doing all that pacing), the apprehension as to whether or not all will be healthy and complete with all their little toes and tail tips, the having to prepare a play pen a proper enclosure for them, having to pick names for all of them.and all that stuff. Now don't get me wrong, that is almost all in jest; I am not a pet keeper among those who names all of his animals and then talks to them while cuddling them each day, nor do I name lizards. While I am enthralled by them, and I enjoy keeping them as pets and curiosities, and to breed them as a hobby, they do not get handled on and even daily basis, and certainly not talked to or played with like I play with our 3 dogs. After all, a lizard is just that - a lizard!

Bearded dragons do make neat pets though, and are fairly responsive among the reptiles, and even among the lizards. They grow to a very manageable size of about 16 to 20 inches. They are usually very docile toward humans, although you cannot keep males together because they will fight over territory and females. Speaking of territory they originate in desert and semi-arid areas of Australia.

As far as care goes, and adult would require about a 30 gallon long sized tank (minimum). A pair could be kept in that but a bigger sized enclosure would be much more suitable for a pair. A secure screen top is not mandatory if the enclosure is deep enough with slick walls, but I strongly suggest a completely secure enclosure for them. Into that, I typically add play sand for a substrate, the tan stuff, not that very white sand filled with sea shell bits that can be had at some hardware depots. I add a few red bricks, or natural stones for climbing and basking areas, and maybe a fairly stout piece of tree branch. The only other inside the cage furnishings would be feeding bowls.

Atop the enclosure you need to mount a heat lamp over the basking area. The surface temperature of the basking area should reach between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be done by using an incandescent bulb, or a full spectrum bulb that emits heat as well as UVA and UVB light. If you use an incandescent bulb, then you will need to add a full spectrum florescent bulb for the UVA and UVB light which are essential for good health in bearded dragons. There are bulbs made specifically for keeping desert lizards like these which are available at reptile expos, and at some pet shops. Bearded Dragons benefit greatly from exposure to natural sunlight, and they can be kept outdoors in proper outdoor enclosures (no glass or plastic tanks as they would overheat inside these in the sunlight). A decent temporary outdoor enclosure for them is a bird cage with bars that they cannot squeeze between to escape. They could be put outside in this setup everyday, for a couple of hours, weather permitting. A good idea is to have whatever outdoor enclosure you house them in, to be partly in the sun and partly in the shade at all times so they can regulate their body temperatures as they need to, and so they do not overheat.

As for feeding them: While very young, they eat primarily insects, but as they grow they begin to eat both insects and vegetable matter. They will eat a large variety of insects, but crickets and superworms are easy to get commercially, so they are most often fed to bearded dragons in captivity. As for vegetables, they love green leafy plants and I have fed mine: mustard greens, red and green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, escarole, dandelion greens (yes from my back lawn which is pesticide and lawn chemical free), radish greens, spinach, cabbage, broccoli rabe, carrot greens and so on. Certain of these leafy plants listed above should only be given in moderation such as cabbage, and carrot greens. They also love to devour green beans, Lima beans, corn, tomatoes, shredded carrots, broccoli, and I purchase frozen mixed vegetables to give to them (thawed first of course). Every now and then I give them a treat of a strawberry, a piece of banana, or some other fruit (non-citrus). As to insects, when you feed young BDs make sure the insect's length is no longer than the space between the lizards eyes from left to right. Larger dragons will eat just about anything they can swallow, and large crickets are fine. You can use vitamin supplements for them, and many folks do use reptile vitamins for their dragons, but I have found that if given a proper varied diet, they don't absolutely need it unless maybe you are conditioning a breeding female which will need calcium supplements. It is also a good idea to provide some extra calcium for baby bearded dragons as they grow. One thing you need to make sure you do is to supply gut fed crickets to your BDs. In other words, feed your crickets something nutritional for a couple of days before you feed them to your dragons. As far as water goes, I mist baby bearded dragons everyday on the advice of a friend who used to breed them in high numbers. Adults can be misted every other day to three times per week. Yes even though desert animals they need to drink; and note I said I mist them. Most bearded dragons will not learn to drink from a water bowl, and misting them and their enclosure is the preferred method of supplying them drinking water.

Bearded dragons can live up to about 12 years (maybe more) in captivity. If you plan on getting one or more, make sure they have been captive bred (which all of them commercially available in the USA should be). Also make sure they appear healthy, no oozing or crust coming from their eyes or cloaca (anal and sexual opening), make sure they have all their toes and their tail tip (otherwise get a discount), make sure they do not have wounds, make sure they do not have ticks or mites. Buy one that is alert, and active. Don't buy them if the enclosure in which they are kept is filthy, or has other lizards in it that look sickly. For more detailed advice, here is a link to an excellent care sheet: http://www.lihs.org/files/caresheets/sheet16.htm. By the way, you can see that care sheet is supplied by the Long Island Herpetological Society. I strongly recommend joining a local herp society if you are going to keep any kind of reptile or amphibian. There is a lot of free advice and knowledge available at such clubs, and you can often find great deals on animals during their meetings. Besides that, many of them offer monthly meeting, newsletters, interesting presentations, and other activities. Most are a bargain too.

Now I have to attend to the little boogers dragons a bit more than I already have done; yes they arrived about an hour ago, and I took a break in typing to set them up in their new home. Just as promised they arrived before 1000 hours. Got to love a dealer/breeder who keeps to his word (thanks Jeremy), and got to love a good shipping company. All of them still have all their toes and tail tips (sometime young ones in the excitement of feeding nip another by accident), and all appear healthy, with only one seeming a little sluggish. I figure that is due to traveling from North Dakota to New York, and imagine it will be looking good once it soaks up some rays.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, August 13, 2007

Today In History, A Sure Shot Was Fired...

...so to speak anyhow. On this day in 1860 (seems like yesterday) Phoebe Anne Mosee (aka Mosey and Mozee, et al) was born near Woodland in Darke County, Ohio. The young girl went through a number of hardships, losing her natural father to pneumonia when she was about 6. Then her mother remarried and again lost another husband. Somewhere during these hardships, young Phoebe was a ward of the local government for a while, and she also lived with foster parents whom she came to hate because of their mistreatment of her. After some time she returned to her home to live with her mother and her siblings, and her mother's newest and third husband.

At age 9, somewhere in all that mess, little Phoebe started to shoot small game to help feed her family (which was a quite poor family at that). She became quite familiar with guns of many sorts from rifles, to shotguns, to revolvers. While she did not regularly attend school, therefore some of the confusion over the spelling of her family name, as she often misspelled it, she did learn how to shoot well. In fact she learned to shoot so well that in the Spring of 1881 when a famous male shootist made a $100 bet against a local innkeeper that he could beat any local person in a shooting competition, the hotel owner agreed to the bet but would not tell on whom he was wagering his money. The hotel owner then arranged the competition to be held between the famous shootist and a mystery shooter.

Ten day later in Ohio, quite possibly near North Star (which is close to Woodland) the competition took place. Frank Butler of world renowned shooting fame shot 24 of the 25 targets, missing only the last one. Phoebe Anne Mosey shot all 25; she was a sure shot indeed. Frank was duly impressed. About one year later, in the Spring of 1882, Frank Butler, in keeping with his being impressed by women who could shoot well, married a young woman shootist by another name, also a sure shot, one Annie Oakley. It sort of makes one wonder whether or not he missed that last shot the year before just so he could enamor Miss Annie Oakley, who no doubt saw the whole competition as it played out, and then fell for Butler as he had fallen for her. You see Phoebe Anne Mosee and Annie Oakley were one in the same; she took on the name Annie Oakley when she started to perform with Frank in 1882.

She toured with circuses, with Frank by her side; and they eventually wound up touring with Wild Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Chief Sitting Bull adopted her (I guess unofficially) as his daughter; and I believe he is the one who named her "Little Sure Shot". She met presidents, dukes, duchesses, kings, and queens, and even Kaiser Wilhelm II although she met him when he was a prince. One of her acts at that time was to shoot the ashes off of the end of a lit cigarette held in Frank Butler's mouth (and she must have loved him an awful lot because they were married 44 years). When she met Prince Wilhelm II, the prince requested that she perform this trick on him. She agreed to do so, but instead of placing the lit cigarette into his mouth, she placed it into his hand, and then proceed to shoot the lit ashes from the cigarette. Some have suggested that had she only been a poorer shot, she could have prevented WWI. How shortsighted, indeed someone would have found another way to trigger the war which was pretty much inevitable given the then current state of affairs in Europe.

The rest my friends is history, she went on to become one of the most famous shootists that the world has ever known. More can be read about her at Encarta, Wikipedia and at the site of
the Annie Oakley Foundation.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Even if all the Guns Disappeared Today...

...here is why people would still need them tomorrow, and why we should look to arming the citizens of the United States of America: Police: Man Attacks Grannies With Hammer (found at FoxNew.com). I don't have to do a lengthy rant about this one, the title of the article alone should make it clear why we law abiding citizens of the USA should be allowed to keep and bear arms, but then again so too should the 2nd amendment, and the reasoning of our founding fathers.

One final thing I will say is that you should pay special attention to what the prosecutor has to say about: "...the most vulnerable of victims.". I wonder, when he used that phrase, did he mean 'grannies', did he mean people who follow the advice of most police departments 'not to resist', or did he mean unarmed Americans, to be the most vulnerable of victims. Had one or two of these women been armed, and ready to defend themselves and the others, chances are things would have turned out much differently indeed. Had I been there and not been struck first and by surprise by the bad guy, you can bet your hard earned money things would have turned out differently, and someone other than the grannies would have had metal in his body or head; albeit metal softer than a steel hammer head, but 124 grains of copper jacketed lead traveling at about 1,150 fps does the job just as well or better than any steel hammer wielded by a lowlife dirtbag.


All the best,
Glenn B

Do You Want to Watch A Good Movie...

...with good casting, great acting, and a good plot, so do I. Yet I rarely get out to the movies since there usually does not seem to be enough time, or my wife doesn't want to go (and I don't care to go alone, or we just don't have the money at the time. Of course that leaves television movies on broadcast, cable, FIOS, or satellite television, and it leaves movies on video and DVD. Now I will be the first to admit, I am not a fan of many of the contemporary hit movies, or even flops, that are out there; although I will admit there have been some good ones, even a handful of excellent ones.

The problem with movies available on television though is that, in my opinion, unless you pay extra for them as in pay per view movies, they for the most part stink. Besides that they are repeated again and again and again over months long periods first on one channel, then on another, sometimes on two channels at once. I get FLIX, HBO, Showtime, STARZ, The Movie Channel as premium channels. I have to wonder just how many times in a three month period that these channels, or at least some of them can show the following movies over and over again: The Pink Panther (the latest and poorly casted piss poor version), My Cousin Vinny (yes a funny movie but not 20 or 30 times in a month), Fried Green Tomatoes (again maybe a good movie but how many times do they need to show it to us), The Astronaut's Wife (a dismal failure shown repeatedly), Dark Water (another flop in my opinion, but shown over and over again). Ali G Indahouse (they have got to be kidding), Monster-In-Law (played again and again and could make one seek a divorce), Mystery-Men (it is still a mystery as to how they were called men and how this became a movie though I'll admit it was a little amusing but to play it again and again), The Professional (ruining a great movie by making people sick of seeing it) and the same goes for Pulp Fiction and from Dusk Till Dawn.

Of course, not only the premium channels do this, channels such as Sci-Fi continuously repeat shows and movies. The Western Channel replays a movie so many times you could probably watch it a few times a day. I seem to remember there was a song years ago: "Whatever Became Of Randolph Scott" - he was reincarnated on The Western Channel, that is what happened to him. I used to like his movies as a kid, not anymore, these constant repeats have made then lose their appeal to a large degree.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind seeing flops on television, I don't mind seeing movies that others liked but I disliked, I don't mind seeing hit movies that I like or dislike, but what I do mind is paying extra for a service that promises great television only to be shown the same thing again and again when there is a huge amount of film out there that they are not touching, or that they only offer as pay per view movies. Hell I already pay enough for cable TV, plus the premium channels, not to need to pay them more to get to see something different now and then. What to do. Well I guess I have done what many others have done, I have bought video and DVD players; and not too long ago I joined a DVD club. The reason I did so is pretty much explained above, but let me add just a little to the reasoning behind it. Now whenever there is nothing worth watching on television, or if it is worth watching but I have seen it recently, I can delve into my own video library and pick out something I like to watch, something I know is good, something I know has excellent acting, and great casting, and a wonderful plot. Now not to give the wrong impression about my DVD purchases, let me say, I do not always buy movies I have seen previously. I just ordered '300'. Sure it will be on television soon, but this way I get to watch it when I want, where I want, and it goes into the library for when they stop showing it 100 times a month (which is about how often I figure it will play once on pay television). I also do likewise with movies that are not current day films, I buy ones I have already seen as well as ones I have not yet seen.

If you are sick of the crap they show over and over again on television, then this is the way to go. But I wonder do you, especially the younger folks out there have any idea of which films to purchase? Do you really want to see some movies with great casting, excellent acting, wonderful plots, movies that are timeless in there nature, movies that help define the values you should hold dearly, or should shun, in your lives? If so they are out there. Of course, maybe you have already noticed that I have not made any mention of special effects. I find the overuse of special effects in movies to be a crutch for actors who don't know how to act, and directors who don't know how to direct - so I do not pay much attention to them in most cases. I am not saying I do not like them, I just much prefer acting over special effects. No actor has ever, or ever will, play a vampire better than did Bela Lugosi. There will never be a better version of King Kong than the original even if it looks fake as all heck by today's special effects standards. There are few drama/action/suspense/mystery movies as good as those starring the likes of William Powell, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Fred MacMurray, William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery. There are few comedies better than those of Bob Hope, Claudette Colbert, Peter Sellers, Mae West. Almost no westerns that can stand up to those of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, Gary Cooper, Robert Duval. There are not many better all around actors than James Cagney, Jean Arthur, Geogre C. Scott, David Niven, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Lauren Bacall, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, Charlton Heston, Maureen O'Hara, Bruce Willis. This is not an all inclusive list of great actors and actresses, heck not even an all inclusive list of the ones I like. What it is, is a good example of folks who have a real talent for acting. They get it right over and over again in most of the movies in which they have a part; and they know how to act without depending solely on special effects. There are plenty more of them out there, these actors and actresses who know how to act. Some are well know, some not so well know; yet, they have parts in thousands of movies that have been made from the 1920s through today - so why are these movies, for the most part, not being shown on pay television! I can guess why, because those in charge are pin headed twits who live for the moment, and while claiming to be all knowing experts, truly know very little about good entertainment, and only think of how to generate a buck. Well fact is, if they showed a greater variety of entertainment they would generate more buck for their channel, then again, the big entertainment companies would lose money because you would not buy as much pay per view movies as you do. Me - I'll by the DVDs, pay them once for them, and watch them whenever it pleases me - not when they want to shove it down my throat.

I guess after saying all of that, maybe I should offer some selection as to what I think are movies that are worthwhile to watch, one with a good plot, fine acting, excellent directing and so forth (with special effects usualy, but not always, coming in a distant last, if at all, to those other qualities). Note that info on all these movies can be found at the links I supplied to the Internet Movie Data Base.


Sci-Fi/Horror:

The Day The Earth Stood Still, 1951(for more info see see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0043456/)

Them, 1954 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0047573/)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0049366/)

The Thing From Another World (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0044121/) *

Dracula, 1931 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0021814/) *



Suspense/Mystery:

Dial M For Murder, 1954 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0046912/)

Detective Story, 1951 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0043465/)

Double Indemnity, 1944 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0036775/)

The Caine Mutiny, 1954 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0046816/) *

The Thin Man, 1934 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0025878/) note this one is a suspense, mystery, comedy *

Comedy/Satire:

The Paleface, 1948 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0040679/) *

Go West Young Man, 1936 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0027684/)

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, 1948 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0040068/) *

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0057012/) (note this is black comedy/satire)

Arsenic and Old Lace, 1944 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0036613/)

War:

Paths of Glory, 1956 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0050825/

The Dawn Patrol, 1938 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0030044/)

Sahara, 1943 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0036323/)

Run Silent - Run Deep, 1958 (for mor einfo see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0052151/)

Gunga Din, 1939 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0031398/) *

Adventure:

The Flame and The Arrow, 1950 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0042464/)

The Thief of Bagdad, 1940 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0033152/)

The Treasure of The Sierra Madre, 1948 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0040897/) *

The Man Who Would Be King, 1975 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0073341/)

The Four Feathers, 1939 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0031334/, and please do not mistake this for the poor remake of recent years)

Westerns:

The Searchers, 1956 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0049730/)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0056217/)

Pale Rider, 1985 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0089767/)

The Plainsman, 1936 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0028108/)

The Naked Spur, 1953 (for more info see: http://imdb.com/title/tt0044953/)

There are categories I left out; heck there are thousands of good movies and hundreds of excellent ones that I left out. Yet, I can assure you, that if you want to see a movie with a good plot, great acting, good direction, and one that is enjoyable to watch - you can certainly find at least one among my selections in each category above. Some other things they all have in common (that is the ones in the above categories, not those above that in my commentary)is that they all show examples of what makes for people and deeds, and what defines bad people and deeds, and all of them, yes all of them, have violence in them, but nothing to gory, and tey have sex to some extent, but absolutely nothing slutty, and some are scary, but nothing horrifying by todays movie standards; they (again those I listed under the above categories and not from my commentary above that) are all, in my opinion, probably suitable for children from about 9 years old and up but this is my personal opinion - so check them out first before you show em to your kids if you want. If you have not seen them yet, why not pick some at random, maybe one from each category above, and see what you think. They are mostly well dated, but they may give you an idea of what good acting is all about; and you may begin to wonder why these movies are ot shown on television today. When it comes right down to it, I guess because if you strip the spectacular scene stealing special effects from many of the movies of today you have little left; but if you strip the spectacular scene stealing special effects from most of these old movies, what you are left with is one hell of a good movie thanks to a good plot, fine acting, and great direction.

All that said, I think I'll have to pop a good one into the DVD this evening.

All the best,

Glenn B