Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ballseye's Firearms Training & Tactics - Oiling Your Gun Revisited

I was a bit hasty in my recent write-up about oiling firearms, and I neglected to mention a very important point. Oil is a liquid and therefore is subject to the laws of nature that effect liquids. While it is a great lubricant and protectant you have to bear in mind a few things about it. With repeated use it will wear off (common sense but funny but some people do not realize that). Less common sense, I guess because of how oil seems to cling to things, but still common sense, is that oil like other liquids can be absorbed into some things into which it comes in contact. So putting a gun that has a fine coating of oil on it into a holster results in some of the oil transferring into the holster, likewise a gun bag or whatever else is absorbent. Oil is, like other liquids, subject to the pull of gravity. This is not very noticeable when there is a fine sheen of oil on a firearms, but gravity is at work all of the time and it will cause the oil to run down sooner or later. Finally oil can and does evaporate, albeit it does take a while longer than let's say water for it to do so.

So what is the point of me telling you all of this. Well, even if you clean, then oil a firearm, and do not shoot it but instead store it in a gun case or sock, or put it in a holster and wear it everyday without shooting it, or put it in a nightstand, or put it in a gun locker - the oil will eventually either run or completely disappear. So I find it best to inspect my firearms at least quarterly, and to clean and oil them as necessary, or just reapply a bit of oil that often. This will help protect the finish of your gun, and help assure that it will operate like a well oiled machine when you need it. Also, remember that long term storage of a firearm is best accomplished not by coating it with a firearms' oil, but rather with a long term protectant made for firearms storage (but that is another story yet to come).

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today In History - Muhammad Ali and Other Top Men Not At The Top Any Longer

Maybe there are a lot of other days in history like today, but for some reason when going through the historical events that have taken place on April 28th, it caught my eye that some high ranking people in their fields either stepped down or were taken down on this date.

1635: Virginia Governor John Harvey is accused of treason and removed from office (Top Man Of His Colony)

1789: Fletcher Christian leads Mutiny on HMS Bounty and Capt William Bligh (Top Man On His Ship)

1918: Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the archduke's wife Sophie, died in prison of tuberculosis. (Top Assassin of His Time)

1945: Benito Mussolini is killed by Italian partisans (Top Man Of An Axis Power)

1946: The Allies indict Tojo on 55 counts of war crimes (Top Man of The Japanese Military then Prime Minister of Japan during WWII)

1967: Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army and is stripped of boxing title (Top Man In Boxing, but Alas Not in Patriotism)

1969: Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France (Leader of free France, and Top Man In The French Government)

1977: Judgments were passed on Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe, the leaders of the Red Army Faction and Baader-Meinhoff Group. They were sentenced to life imprisonment (Top of A Terrorist Organization)

1996: After finishing his lunch at the Broad Arrow Cafe in Port Arthur, Tasmania, 28-year-old Martin Bryant pulls out an AR15 rifle and kills 12 tourists. Then he drives to a nearby bed & breakfast and slays 23 others. Bryant surrenders himself to police the next morning. (Top Killer in Australia. Although he surrendered on April 29th, he burned himself badly in his assault on the B&B, and thus an event that took place today is what led to his downfall.)

Of all the ones who fell from grace today, the one that comes to my mind most readily is Muhammad Ali. Because he refused to be inducted into the draft, he was stripped of his boxing title and not allowed in the ring. Too bad he was ever allowed back into the ring to box again is all I can say. Ali was to have been drafted while the war was ongoing. His claim was that because of his religion he would not and could not fight as part of U.S. Military forces. Guess what religion it was of which he was a member at the time. If you guessed the so called Religion of Peace, you got it. Here is what, according to Wikipedia, Ali had to say about fighting for the USA:

"Ali stated that "War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." Ali also famously said in 1966: "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me nigger."[7][8]. "

Funny though how fighting in war, or even going into the military as a conscientious objector was not okay for him, but climbing back in the ring to smash in other peoples faces was quite alright. People see him as a sports great; and while I have never called him a nigger either, my opinion of him is that he is unpatriotic, and he amounts to little more than a sack of shit manure. To me he is just another Islamic extremist who would live by Sharia law, rather than by the laws of the USA. Yes folks, the warnings about Islam came even way back in the 60s.

The above historical dates and events were gleaned from:

http://www.worldofquotes.com/history/

http://www.rotten.com/today/

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do

http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=279421&nav=menu216_14_3

http://www.brainyhistory.com/days/april_28.html

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BallsEyes Fireams Training and Tactics - A Little Oil Goes A Long Way

Yes a little oil goes along way, really it does. It goes a long way to assure that your firearm functions properly under most conditions, that it operates smoothly, and that it stays in fine condition both inside and out. For example I went fishing yesterday. A day or so before I went on my fishing trip I had cleaned my sidearm, and put a light coat of oil on its exterior. I also had lightly oiled some of the moving parts that the manufacturer recommends oiling. When I got to the fishing boat yesterday, I thought to myself why on earth did I bring along a pistol. I guess it was force of habit, I work while armed, travel armed, and when I am off duty from my job I am armed 99% of the time; nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong having the pistol along with me yesterday on the fishing boat. I was thinking of taking it off, but there really was no place for me to have secured it, so in the holster, on my belt it stayed. As the few fish came over the rail it stayed there as they flopped and got water everywhere. As the fishing line went out of the guy's reel next to me the salty water again sprayed everywhere. Not lots of it but I felt it each time. As the mates sprayed salt water on the fish cleaning table and into fish buckets I again got wet. I did not give my pistol a thought for the whole trip. When I got home at the end of my fishing trip, I saw that my gun had obviously gotten wet with salt water. A tell tale dry salt stain was on my holster, and on the gun itself. I took it out of the holster, wiped it down, and guess what - Look Ma, No Rust! Nope it is not a stainless steel pistol, nope it does not have any sort of rust proof finish, heck the finish it has left is pretty worn off in many places. What it did have was a light coat of oil. It got another cleaning and light coat of oil after the trip. I looked at it this morning, still no corrosion. Now if you doubt a gun can corrode that quickly from just a little salt water, well try an experiment someday with one of your guns without any protecting oil on it. Just let it get damp with salt water, and leave it for several hours. I was on the boat for about 7 hours of actual fishing. I have had guns before this one get rusty from less exposure than that.

Besides preventing rust from forming on a firearm, a light coating of oil on some of the moving parts will reduce friction, and often will help to prevent malfunctions. I cannot even estimate how many times at the range I have seen someone show up with a dry firearm (dry as in not lubricated at all). Not only are some of the guns I see dry, they are also dirty. When the shooter who has a gun in either condition goes to fire it, that person has a much higher chance of having the gun malfunction. Often the problem will be either it will fail to eject, or will fail to feed. This is, in these cases, almost always due to the side not operating as freely as it should either because of buildup of fouling or because of lack of lubrication, or both.

Now oil may be expensive, and getting more so, but it is not too expensive to apply to your firearms to protect them and make sure they work, especially if you apply the right amount. The right amount is usually a light coating. When I apply oil to my firearms I usually do so on the out side with my finger (this may not be the best way for the gun or for my health, but it is a habit I have), with a gun cloth or cleaning patch, and with a cotton swab (being very careful that absolutely no cotton strands remain on the firearm). Once I apply what I believe is a fairly light coating, I wipe down the gun with a cloth to make sure it really is a light coating that remains. I don't wipe off all the oil - just most of it. There are a couple or a few reasons you want a light coat of oil instead of a heavy one. A heavy coat of oil can literally gum up the works. No most modern oils do not get gummy under repeated heavy use (such as the slide going back and forth) or when they heated up, but they ca be gunky if too heavily applied. When dirt is added, and oil is a dust and dirt magnet, it can get sort of gummy. You don't need too much oil attracting and holding a lot of dirt. A fine coating will also hold dirt or dust, but nowhere nearly as much as could a heavier coating. In addition the dirt comes off easier when in a fine coating, so just cycling a weapon will make some of it come off. The fact that the light coat holds less debris also means the firearm while lubricated to reduce friction is less likely to jam because of dirt.

Yes a light coat of oil means the gun will attract some dirt, but overall it usually makes the firearm operate with less friction, and protects it from corrosion. That second part, the protection from corrosion is why oil is usually better than a dry lubricant like graphite dust. Graphite and other dry lubricants do have their place. They are used in very dusty environments where oil on a firearm would possibly cause malfunctions because of the dust it would attract. Such places included areas of desert where there is a lot of fine, and I mean very fine sand. I worked in the Border Patrol for 4 years in and around Calexico, California. The area outside of Calexico is about as desert like as you can imagine except for some irrigated areas (even those are dusty when they let them dry up, or when the cattle pens are set up - nasty dust from those cattle for sure). There was a lot of dust in the air that kicked up onto my revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. I always used oil as a lubricant for my firearms while there, and never once had a problem from the dust. Still though, some who lubricate their firearms with oil claim to have major problems with dust in places like Iraq (funny others using the same oil and same firearms don't have a problem at all). Many of them prefer a dry lubricant like graphite or product like Militec-1, or Hoppes Dri-lube. I can tell you, if the soil there was anything like it was around Calexico, just using dry lubricant would make for one heck of a rusted firearm with just the moisture from sweat because of the amount of alkali in it. In a case like that, I would lightly oil the exterior, and use the dry lubricant on the inside, and clean my firearm everyday. Dry lubrication may lubricate well in a dusty area, but it offers no protection from corrosion of which I am aware; although there are claims by manufacturers that dry lubricants protect from corrosion.

Of course, before you lubricate with oil or dry lubricant, and before you apply a protective coat of oil, the firearm preferably should be clean. A good cleaning with a powder solvent is recommended after each time a self defense type firearm is fired. Some modern day .22 rimfire recommend cleaning less often; but that is usually the exception not the rule to cleaning firearms in general. I use products like Hoppes No. 9 Powder Solvent, or Hoppes Bench Rest Copper Solvent which removes fouling from copper jackets bullets in addition to being a gunpowder solvent and lead remover. After cleaning I usually (as in virtually always) apply a thin coat of Break-Free CLP. Keeping a firearm clean, lubricated and protected is worth the cost when you consider that said firearm may someday be called upon to protect you and your loved one; and the cost is minimal when compared to what it could be if you don't!

All the best,
Glenn B

I will probably add a cleaning video at a later date.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gone Fishing...

...and returned home already. I was out sick yesterday, and did not enjoy the beautiful day as I had hoped to, guess that insomnia thing just had me bushed. I slept better last night though, and called into work early to tell them I'd be taking a vacation day today.It looked as if it was going to be a really nice day, as nice as yesterday, and that would make for a nice day fishing.
I dragged myself out of bed at about 0415. The birds began singing this morning outside my window at 0433, much earlier than the ones I heard yesterday. They sang as I got ready to go fishing, grabbing my gear out of the shed by flashlight. I left my house at just before 0600, got to the dock by 0630, and was on the very crowded boat in no time. The boat was the Captain Al out of Point Lookout, NY, an open party boat (as in open for anyone - not a charter). They were going out for Blackfish. Mmm, good I thought. If you have ever fished on the Captain Al then you know it has one speed on the water - slow. It's an old fishing boat, slower than just about any other in the area, but the crew always does their best to find fish, so I never mind the ride. Scheduled departure from the dock was 7 and we left promptly at right around then if not exactly then

My guess is that 1/2 hour to 45 minutes later we were fishing over a wreck a few miles offshore. I hooked one at the first spot, my guess is a 3 pounder. I was a happy fisherman. Got another at the 2nd or 3rd spot, but it was a short and back in the water it went. After that it was pretty much downhill for me for the next several hours. I caught about 4 Skates (small ray like fish, sort of looked like the first stage of the lifeform in the movie Alien), a Dogfish (kind of a shark), and a small Seabass (no size limit as far as I am aware, but I threw it back, too small at about 12 inches as far as i was concerned). No one was doing all that great, the fishing is not what it was when I was a kid, not by a long shot. It was a nice day though, really mild (in the high 60s ashore, probably in the high 50s to low 60s on the water), sunny clear skies, and virtually no wind - so the water was very calm. My only regret besides not catching more fish was that Brendan could not make the trip. Maybe that was good because there were so few fish;but then again I think he would have enjoyed it anyhow, and I missed him too. Oh well, next time - I hope; and maybe the fishing will be better. Still though, as we say: a bad day fishing beats a good day at work (unless I guess if you are a fisherman for a living).

I kept the Dogfish (if prepared right it tastes pretty good), and have two decent fillets from the Balckfish - so I guess there will be a fish fry on Sunday. Of course the fish will have to be just an appetizer since there is so little of it, but I imagine it will be scrumptious.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Trill of a Warbler...

...or was it a Robin just reached my ears. Honestly, I have no idea what bird's song it was that just made its way to my ears though the gray early morning mist; but I do know that it must mean its time to get back to the sack and get some shuteye before I have to be up and at em. I already got 40 winks, but woke up at 2:45 and have been up since. Insomnia sucks, but waking up at this time every morning and finding myself sitting on a cold branch would suck more. That my friends is for the birds, and so is this hour of the morning.

All the best,
GB

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Had Hoped For A Miracle...

...in the form of a 20 point defeat for Clinton in PA, if only because I figured that even she would then have to bow out of the race for the democratic nomination. It would have been nice to have it over with, but alas it looks as if we all have to be subjected to this circus through the beginning of June. I may just have to not watch the news any longer because I don't know if I can take much more of the double talk, lying, waffling and all the other BS that goes along with it with these demoncrats. Sure, I know, the repukeicans and RINOs are not much better, but yes they are better. I would never have believed I would have seen the day when Barack Obama came out in favor of gun rights (how hypocritical of him) and then blame Hillary Clinton for lying when she changed her stance on gun control and suddenly seemed in favor of hunters with guns! They played PA like the people living there were fools, because even the hunters in PA know that gun rights are not just for hunters, and that in fact the rights to keep and bear arms covers a much broader spectrum to include self defense, and overthrow of tyrannies. Funny though how each of them has been pretty silent on the Immigration issue. As a matter of fact, besides mud slinging, they seem to be pretty quiet on most of the important issues lately almost as if all they could resort to was name calling. Could you imagine either one as president and having to face down a nation like Iran, let alone one like China in some world crisis. My bet is that once the name calling failed, they would beg for help from mommy.

I have to wonder, have I just opened myself up for another comment about how Obama is part of Generation Jones? How funny but sad that they who support him resort to that trash.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, April 21, 2008

Shooting At An Unidentified Target...

...that you simply think must be your intended target can have devastating results. One of the cardinal rules of firearms safety is to be sure of your target and what is beyond, and there are few if any circumstances where one, let alone both parts of this rule (the sure of your target part and the sure of what is beyond part), should ever be broken. While shooting for sport, for fun, for food, to test a gun, and in almost all other instances of shooting, the shooter must steadfastly follow this rule to remain safe, and to keep others safe. It really is a basic rule of firearms safety. When you do not follow it the chances increase dramatically that something bad will happen, and that bad thing could well be someone being injured or killed.

One of the worst things that could happen, probably the worst, is that the shooter kills an innocent person. It gets even worse though when that person is a loved one; much worse still when that person is your own son. This is apparently just what happened in the case of a turkey hunter who was out hunting while his son accompanied him. You can see the available details here: http://www.startribune.com/local/17956264.html. The man who shot his own son already spent about 1/4 of his 39 years bringing up the boy. He probably will now spend the rest of his life lamenting the fact that he killed his son because of what seems should have been a truly avoidable accident on his part. Mind you, none of this, as I see it, was a mistake on the part of the boy who reportedly had been told to stay put where his father had left him and who then decided to move - after all boys will be boys. It was a mistake on the part of the dad who, in my opinion, exercised extremely bad judgement if the reports are correct. Please understand, I don't say that to condemn the dad. He is going to live with this forever, nothing I can say could make it worse for him and it is not my intent to try to do so. I say this to stress the point that firearms safety is the responsibility of the shooter; and if you are going shooting, or if you will handle firearms, you had best be aware of and exercise the rules of firearms safety. Yes you, because hopefully it is not already too late to get you to follow those rules to avoid a similar disaster.

The loss of the little boy, Hunter Klaseus, is a tragedy, one that no parent should ever have to endure; and that is why I write about it here. If you are a shooter - follow the rules of gun safety. No, not the abbreviated '4 Rules' (as they are called), but all of the rules of firearms safety. Follow them even more than you abide by other safety rules. Don't hedge on them a bit as you probably do with driving safety rules such as when you go just a few miles over the speed limit, or when you sort of stop at a stop sign, or when you just have one or two or maybe even that third drink before driving. Don't give an inch on firearms safety rules as you may sometimes do when it comes to being safe with electrical appliances such as when you use an electrical appliance near the sink or tub full of water (hairdryer, electric shaver) without a safety breaker outlet, or when you use a knife or fork to pull that stuck piece of toast out of the toaster without first unplugging it (heck you know it is off - right). Don't take a chance with a firearm as you do when you decide to run across the street before the light turns green in your favor, or when you fail to look both ways even though it is a one way street. Don't give an inch when it comes to firearms safety because chances are the resulting 'accident' will be tragic, and you as the shooter will have to live with the result.

Learn the rules of firearms safety, and live them when you are around firearms. Doing so may just save a life, and save you from a lifetime of tragic and devastating grief. There are plenty of places you can look to find firearms safety rules, my site being one of them: http://ballseyesboomers.blogspot.com/2007/06/ballseyes-firearms-tactics-training-1.html. In fact that was my very first post under my Firearms Training and Tactics series. To me safety is the number 1 concern when shooting. Another source for firearms safety rules is the National Rifle Association at http://www.nrahq.org/education/guide.asp. You can also go to firearms manufacturers to see their version of the rules, such as at Remington: http://www.remington.com/pdfs/safety/sftybklt.pdf or to a more generalized page at: http://www.remington.com/safety/safety_center/. Hunter safety courses, firearms safety courses, basic shooting courses, are all out there, and all teach about, or should teach about, firearms' safety rules. If you are going to shoot, be safe about it, or face the consequences as terrible as they may be.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Hunter Klaseus; and I dedicate this to his memory in the hope that you all learn from this sad and tragic mistake, and therefore that you keep it safe when shooting.

Respectfully,
Glenn B

Sunday, April 20, 2008

GUNS IN THE BEDROOM

Here is my opinion, about a loaded gun in the bedroom. Mind you it's only my opinion:

I like guns, I like being able to use them, I even don't mind shooting some dirtbag who breaks into my house and whom I believe is threatening me or my family with serious bodily harm or death. But I am not going to tell you that I keep a loaded firearm in my home. I still have one child, my son, living at home, and a wife and two dogs and a cat and lots of snakes and lizards and a turtle. My daughter is at college nearby, and sometimes comes home unexpectedly at all hours of the night/morning – I hope never with a snake or lizard of a boy. I would rather not shoot her (her boyfriend maybe another story - but right now I like him, he is a good guy) or any other family member because I was awakened by a noise, and in some half asleep groggy state I take action that is terminal. Of course, chances are my dogs will wake me before anyone even gets into the house or; if they only wake up after the bad guys are in the house the dogs will most likely keep them at bay long enough. That is long enough for me to take a moment to wake up fully, realize what may or may not be going on, and load for bear just in case. My dogs are scared of their own shadows and bark at almost everything. Hell I bet though that if a burglar broke in they would lick him to death. In that case his laughter would wake me if he was the ticklish type. If not, oh well I guess I’d sleep though it and call the insurance company the next day (talk about real burglars).

Back to guns for a minute here: Loading for bear includes not only loading the gun, but grabbing a flashlight, putting on shoes (a very important step, no pun intended). I don't need to jam my toes on the stairs. You know what comes next don’t you? Then in a knee jerk reaction I squeeze one off. What do you mean you don’t understand how a knee jerk reaction would make me squeeze one off? You know - the toe bone is connected to the foot bone, the foot bone connected to the ankle bone - on up through the knee - thus the knee jerk reaction. Eventually we follow those bony connections all the way up to the trigger finger. With my luck I'd shoot my other toe and start all over again!

My next action would be to ask my wife, in a loud voice, if she has her gun ready. I hope she has enough smarts to say yeah, instead of asking “what gun”??? Now do you really want to find out if my wife has a gun? Stop by unexpectedly at 4AM and find out first hand! During this time my wife will be calling 911, then either gathering the kids to our room or having them lock themselves in their rooms. We will let the dogs out into the hall - hopefully they will keep their courage (Ha!) and go for whomever it is doing all the intruding. I will be on the move with the dogs and the light. BUT before any of us goes out of the room, I will in loud voice challenge any potential intruder. "Helloooooooo Mr. Or Ms. Intruder, is anyone out there? Please leave us alone. I have a gun and my wife knows how to use it, err I mean we both have guns and both know how to use them."

Now you may ask, and I don’t blame you: “Why take the time to do all this and then to announce that I am coming out to take a look around?” Well this is serious, really serious: I, for one, would rather not be surprised to find out the police just raided the wrong house and I came out shooting or even pointing a gun at them. Chances are I or you would lose in that one - don't you think. (Please note we are out of the serious zone and back to delirious once again.) I would rather not wake up in heaven - is there really such a place for guys like me, and I shudder to think the alternative is real! Nor do I want to wind up in jail for shooting a police officer, not even for a night and then be released with a justified finding (yes I am being serious again just for a moment). Psychologically speaking, I do not think I could live a normal life (what is normal anyhow) again after that kind of a mistake even if it was the officer's fault for breaking into the wrong house, not identifying himself (or whatever), wearing a full black ski mask and holding a bag full of loot (or was that entry gear). Of course if you hear someone yell: THIS IS THE POLICE, but you for some reason have strong doubts: you can always go lock yourself in your room, and ask them to prove they are police or other law enforcement officers. They have ways that can convince you, believe me, yes we do.

Now on the other hand, if someone - let's say like the jealous husband of your neighbor's wife - gets all the way to your room with a weapon of almost any sort, forget your gun. If they want to whack you they are going to be able to do it. Man you must have been really drunk to let him get in that far without waking up! Of course, if you were in that much of a drunken slumber, be happy you did the right thing by not having a loaded firearm around because guns and alcohol really do not mix. Of course this will be little solace to you as someone cracks your noggin with a baseball bat just as your neighbor's wife jumps out of bed and runs out of the bedroom, along with your neighbor's dogs, screaming "Help Police". Now wait just a darned minute - let me go back to the Police issue here for a moment and get this straight. If your neighbor's wife and dogs just ran out of the bedroom in which you were having a nice drunken slumber - well is it possible just for a moment that the Police are in the right house after all - right behind the enraged husband who is hitting you up side the head with a bat? Was it that your neighbor called the police to come and get your fat behind out of HIS bed, and he decided not to wait for them to protect HIS wife and HIS dogs and HIS honor? Man you have gotta remember which house is yours in the first place - and no wonder you couldn't find your gun - it was under YOUR pillow, in YOUR bed, at YOUR house, right next to YOUR wife, where you should have been!

Speaking of wives here is another thing to be wary of when keeping loaded firearms in the bedroom. I would hate to wake up, grab my loaded gun from a night table and commence firing at the big bad hairy burglar/robber who just jumped me, only to find out my wife finally made it through the ice age and decided to - well you get the picture! A darned shot at that moment could ruin a truly promising good time! (Enough of delirious for a moment, let’s get serious again.) You really have to be careful with loaded firearms around the home. Do something to give you that extra moment to wake up before even thinking of picking up a loaded firearm if you can. Then if it is really a bad guy, and you cannot get away, and your life or a family member's life is threatened or you are threatened with serious bodily harm (or whatever your state's laws say are the proper guidelines to follow - and they have been met) then my guess would be: go ahead, you can legally blast the guy. Remember shoot to stop - but if the bad guy does not stop threatening your life until dead - well you shot to stop and he finally stopped). If you decide to do it otherwise, you know, outside the law - well you too may wind up in prison with: no house, no money, a divorce, no chance to see your kids ever again, and with a big hairy boy friend. I can attest, no matter how little I have gotten since I have been married, I do not ever want it where the sun never shines, as it so often comes to men in chains! Yes I think I would tend to be careful in such a situation, but I would definitely shoot if that is what had to be done to protect my life or a life of a family member from a bad guy. Now if only I can stop shaking long enough to load those darned bullets, I'd be ready for anything.


All the best,
Glenn B

Trigger Happy versus Barack Obama

Thanks to Snowflakes In Hell at http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2008/04/19/happyness-is-a-warm-gun/, I was able to read a truly informative and amusing piece about gun owners; one that highlights Barack Obama's ignorance about the people whom he would have vote for him.

Be quick, click here, read the Wall Street Journal article: 'Trigger Happy', by Arthur C. Brooks (a professor no less) before it vanishes into the 'Land of Lost Links'! This article is of the same stuff of which great rebuttals are made. In essence the article gives polled evidence that gun owners are in fact educated on the same level, happier, better off financially, and more charitable than the non-owning gun public! It also in essence shows that once again Barack Obama does not know diddly-squat about which he speaks, and certainly does not understand the average American Citizen - especially they who own guns.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wal-Mart Has a New Fireams Purchase Policy - It Stinks

I was reading through my emails today, including the stuff I get from the NRA, and this caught my eye: http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=3846. In essence it tells of new Wal- NotSoSmart Mart gun purchase policies. I didn't like them. In fact, I did not like them enough to get me get fired up enough to write Walmart a letter about the new policies, and to inform Wal-Mar that until they drop this policy, they have lost me as a customer. This may not seem like a lot to you, one guy writing Wal-Mart and basically telling them he will boycott them over their new policy; but let me tell you if enough of us do it, it can have significant impact - just think K-Mart. I ask you also to consider not shopping at Wal-Mart, and to write them showing your opposition to this new firearms purchase policy.

A copy of my letter to Wal-Mart is below:

"I have been a Wal-Mart shopper for many years. I have regularly shopped at Wal-Mart near to my home, and have also shopped at Wal-Mart when away from home both while on business or for pleasure. While I have shopped almost all departments at Wal-Mart, I would have to say that a large part of my shopping at Wal-Mart has been in the Sporting Goods Department. I am an avid firearms enthusiast, target shooter, hunter, and fisherman. My son also shops at Wal-Mart and he has the same interests as myself. I am sad to say that our shopping at Wal-Mart seems to be about to end. In fact, should Wal-Mart continue to implement its policy regarding firearms purchases - we will discontinue shopping at Wal-Mart altogether. We do not need to, nor care to, patronize a retailer who has decided to treat us like criminals when we are law abiding citizens, who make legal firearms and ammunition purchases. Yet Wal-Mart for some reason has decided to ally itself with mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City (where you have no current stores to my knowledge, certainly none that sell guns, but where I would bet you plan to open stores). Regardless of if you have stores there, you have allied yourselves with one of the top anti-gun people in the United States of America. You have changed your firearms purchase rules to include video taping the sale, and to allow Wal-Mart employees to deny sales to persons whom have had a firearm of theirs traced by BATFE (whether or not the person in question has ever committed a crime or not, or in other words even if the trace was one involving an innocent who reported their gun stolen). I wonder what other Draconian measure you will implement to make it more difficult for law abiding, and patriotic citizens, to purchase firearms and enjoy their 2nd Amendment rights.

I find these actions by Wal-Mart to be reprehensible. Therefore until such policy is discontinued, and until Wal-Mart makes an apology to the law abiding firearms owners in the USA, I see no reason to shop at Wal-Mart again, and I will not shop there for anything. In addition I will recommend that friends and neighbors also discontinue shopping at Wal-Mart.

With regret,
Glenn Bartley"


If you agree with me, then when you write to Wal-Mart make sure to mention the new firearms purchase policy, that you disagree with said policy, and that its continuance will effect whether or not you continue to shop at Wal-Mart. You can contact Wal-Mart here: http://www.walmartstores.com/contactus/feedback.aspx.

Then send the message out to others and ask them to do likewise. If one person does this it is merely a drop in the bucket, if two people do it it is team, if three or four people do it heck it might be seen as a conspiracy, if a few hundred people do it it may be seen as a protest, and if thousands of people do it - well folks - we will have us a grass roots movement - an anti-gun control grass roots movement the likes of which will be able to move mountains, effect politicians, and even make the mighty Wal-Mart tremble enough to relent its latest foolish gun-control policies! Who knows, it may even help defeat Bloomberg when he runs to become governor of New York (and one has to suspect this is what is coming).

Safe shooting.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today In History - A Personal Experience

Things of Historical Signifigance that Took place on April 19:

1012 - Martyrdom of St. Alphege in Greenwich, London. (killed by Vikings after he refused to be ransomed)
1529 - At the Second Diet of Speyer, a group of rulers (German: Fürst) and independent cities (German: Reichsstadt) protests the reinstatement of the Edict of Worms, beginning the Protestant movement.
1539 Emperor Charles V reaches a truce with German Protestants at Frankfurt, Germany.
1587 - Sir Francis Drake sinks the Spanish fleet in Cádiz harbor.
1689 Residents of Boston oust their governor, Edmond Andros.
1764 The English Parliament bans the American colonies from printing paper money.
1775 The American Revolution begins as fighting breaks out at Lexington, then at Concord, MA.
1782 The Netherlands recognizes the United States.
1794 Tadeusz Kosciuszko forces the Russians out of Warsaw.
1809 - The army of Austria attacks and is defeated by the forces of the Duchy of Warsaw in the Battle of Raszyn, part of the struggles of the Fifth Coalition.
1802 The Spanish reopen New Orleans port to American merchants.
1824 English poet Lord Byron dies of malaria at age 36 while aiding Greek independence.
1861 The Baltimore riots result in four Union soldiers and nine civilians killed.
1861 President Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.
1880 The Times war correspondent telephones a report of the Battle of Ahmed Khel, the first time news is sent from a field of battle in this manner. (A terrible development as far as I am concerned, reporters do not belong in the middle of combat as far as I am concerned.)
1897 First Bostom Marathon held.

1927 In China, Hankow communists declare war on Chiang Kai-shek.
1938 General Francisco Franco declares victory in the Spanish Civil War.
1939 Connecticut approves the Bill of Rights.
1943 The Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi occupation commences.
1943 - Bicycle Day – Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann deliberately takes LSD for the first time. (Turbulence of a type not experienced before, at least not to this degree; and that would have an effect on a generation in years to come in the 60s and 70s.)
1951 - General Douglas MacArthur retires from the military.
1961 - The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba ends in success for the defenders.
1971 Russia launches its first Salyut space station (And the cold war gets hotter.).
1989 The battleship USS Iowa’s number 2 turret explodes, killing 47 sailors. (First blamed on a gay sailor whom it was thought had committed suicide, then blamed on a technical glitch.)
1993 The FBI ends a 51-day siege by storming the Branch Davidian religious cult headquarters in Waco, Texas.
1995 A truck bomb explodes in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. (Terrorism of a domestic nature.)
1999 - The German Bundestag returns to Berlin. (One day before April 20, could this be significant? See below commentary.)
2005 - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave. (One day before April 20, could this be significant? See below commentary.)
2008 – The Pope visits NYC. Yes Pope Benedict XVI, will be in NYC on my anniversary and will be screwing up traffic when I try to take Linda to see Macbeth on Broadway; and it will be Passover weekend. I can only hope all the wackos stay away.) (One day before April 20, could this be significant? See below commentary.)


Absolutely Useless Things, in my opinion, that Happened on April 19:

1927 - Mae West is sentenced to 10 days in jail for obscenity for her play Sex.
1934 - Shirley Temple debuts in Stand Up and Cheer.
1960 Baseball uniforms begin displaying player’s names on their backs.
1977 Alex Haley receives a special Pulitzer Prize for his book Roots.
1982 NASA names Sally Ride to be the first woman astronaut.


Most Important Thing In My Life On April 19:

Here is where today gets down to the personal experience level, at least for me (just in case you were wondering about the title of this blog). Linda and I said “I Do” to one another. She and Celina came into my life, Brendan coming along at a later date; but all only possible because of those two words.


Commentary on April 19:

You have got to admit that we wound up choosing one heck of a turbulent day in history on which to be married. All the turbulence in the world though did not amount to what later took place because what happened on April 20, the day we consummated our marriage vows. It was that day, a relatively peaceful one in history, on which Adolf Hitler was born. Although many years would first pass, the beginning of evil and turbulence like the world had not yet seen was born on that day. Maybe all of the historical turbulence associated with of April 19th and April 20th has had a bit to do with it sometimes having been a rocky road for us, but we and our marriage have endured over two decades; and I love her dearly. Damn history, we will make it regardless.

This April 19, we will be going to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth on Broadway, the Pope is in NYC, Passover begins at sunset, and it is the anniversary not only of our marriage but of all those other things above. Kind of makes me second guess myself - not for getting married on April 19th (ignorance is bliss and I knew little of the above when we got married) - but rather for having bought tickets to see Macbeth when at the very least traffic will be a nightmare due to the Pope's visit, and New York City will have been turned into a armed encampment for his protection. Hopefully all the wackos will stay away, and the day will remain peaceful. As for me though, thanks to those who revolted on this day in 1775 (and people still wonder why I picked this day to do something as revolting revolutionary, for a once confirmed bachelor, as getting married) and to the Constitution and Bill of Rights they later gave to us, you can bet if my wife gives me a hug around the hips she will feel something hard it will be a fully loaded 9mm pistol. That is at least while we are in Manhattan - who knows what it will be once we get back home!

Oh well, for now am going to stop writing, and go an enjoy breakfast with the Frau on our special day. Then I have some varnishing to do before we live for the city (yes that front door frame only got as far as being stained yesterday). Oh, before I go, to give credit where credit is due, the above historical facts come from Wikipedia, History.com, todayinhistory.com, and of course from memory of history lessons learned, reading the news, and personal expereince.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gun Show Fever

Yes there have been a lot of obligations I have talked about lately and those of leisure time are certainly not the least. So, on May 3rd, Brendan and I are planning to go to a Gun Show in Middletown, NY to meet up with a few friends of mine, friends I made during my career. Once we get there we will be teaming up with Pete K., Charlie K, and Rob – Charlie’s brother-in-law. All in all I am looking to have a really nice day. I have only seen Charlie once in the past 8 years or so, and that was just recently. I haven’t seen Rob in at least 8 years, and have not seen Pete in about a year. Charlie and Pete have also not seen one another in 8 years. At work we always got along well, and as Charlie would say it – if any of us met the other of the three of us, we would not make the other guy want to puke as meeting many others from our careers would make us feel like doing. Charlie always knows how to compliment a friend! As for Rob, we did not work together but he too is a good guy.

One thing we all have in common is our interest in forearms and shooting. You might think that to be a given for the three of us who worked together since we worked for the same federal law enforcement agency. What with carrying firearms being a mandatory part of the job, many people just seem to assume that means that cops and other Les all like firearms. Nothing could be further from the truth. I had collateral duties as a range officer and firearms instructor for about 14 years in the Customs Service. I can remember many a day when a shooter would show up for quarterly qualifications with an unloaded gun in his or her satchel, or backpack, or purse. Here was a federal agent, on duty, carrying his or her pistol unloaded in a bag. Go figure. Then to see some of our coworkers shoot, it was pitiable. Despite some of them having been on the job for many years, they really could not hit the broadside of a barn on some days. That actually made my duties as an instructor more enjoyable because I took great pride in helping out the poorer shooters, getting them not only to qualify for the quarter in question, but also getting them to the point where they started shooting better with reliability.

One of the reasons some of the other agents were poor shots was that they wanted nothing to do with firearms. Not all of the poorer shooters fell into this category but most of them did. Of course this is not to say that some people who basically loathed having to carry a gun for work were not good shots. Some of them were indeed excellent shots, and one has t wonder how they did it with their apparent loathing for guns and lack of practice. Oh well, whatever the case, Charlie, Pete and I were firearms enthusiasts for sure. So was Rob; and of course so is Brendan. This will be the first time Brendan meets Charlie and Rob. He may have met Pete at another type o show to which we both go – a Reptile and Amphibian expo. Funny but for all the years I knew Pete at work, I never realized until after he retired that he too was into keeping reptiles sand amphibians.

As for this show, I am sort of hopeful that I’ll have enough cash on hand to give Brendan enough to buy himself a rifle. He is 18, turned 18 in December, so he can now buy a rifle on his own. I don’t have to buy it, and give it to him for a gift. I don’t expect to pick up anything fancy, or I should say I don’t expect to pick up anything myself. As for Brendan, I am hoping we find a good deal on a Mosin Nagant 44, or maybe on a Yugoslavian SKS. Of course one never knows what one may find at one of these shows; but sadly a bargain is usually a hard thing to find. Bargains seem to be pretty much a thing of the past at gun shows, and I guess we can thank over pious anti-gun legislators for that. Then again we could possibly find a bargain and I am hoping such will be the case.

I am sure there will be some bargains to be had at this show, even if we don’t find one for ourselves. I say this because I am thinking of bringing along 2 or 3 rifles to sell there. With the money I get for them, Brendan should have at least $200 to $300 in his pocket for his purchase should he find something he likes. That is of course if it is still legal for me to bring some rifles there to sell. I think it is, but I’ll check with the show promoter to see what they know about it. The rules for transferring a rifle or handgun have become ridiculous over the past few years, and have done absolutely nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. I think life imprisonment of violent felons who use guns in commission of a crime, a death for those who kill during commission of a crime would be a better way to deal with the problem; and since the gun bans, gun registration, gun licensing and all that crap has not worked – well isn’t it time to try another approach to curbing violence. I sure think so! But I digress, so back to the gun show. If it is legal for me to sell them there, I’ll have a Mosin Nagant M44, a Marlin Levermatic in .22LR, and a J.C. Higgins in .22LR for sale. I figure the 22s can bring me $75 to $100 each, and the Mosin Nagant maybe $50 to $75. That would do nicely to have Brendan make his own purchase.


I have to admit I am really looking forward to going to this show. First of all I have not been at a gun show in a couple of years I guess, and I have not been to one with Brendan for a bit longer. Then again, I have not been to a gun show with the other 3 guys in over 8 years. I guess you can say I have a case of gun show fever; but now all I have to do to get over it is to sit back and wait for May 3rd to roll around. Then a drive to Middletown, and i should be cured, at least till next time it sets in.

All the best,
Glenn B

Interrupted Obligations

There I was working away on the front door frame feeling good because I had sanded it down so it looked not as good as newly cut wood, but pretty darned close. I then started to fill some small holes and cracks, well I should say almost started. I opened the tube of wood filer I had on hand, and low and behold someone else had used it already and cut the nozzle tip down to nothing. So, when the cap was replaced it did not make a seal having only a tiny nub of tip left. Yes you guessed it, the putty was dry for the most part. I got 3 small holes filled and the rest of it was not workable. Hopefully Linda will listen to her voice mails before coming home and pick up some wood putty from the local hardware store. I am none to happy I had to stop the job, I hate interruptions for crap like that. Things like that, the little ones, make me loose my cool big time, funny because I handle big problems much better. My solution though was to sit down, take a breather, write this, and now to go and make myself lunch. Now that sounds like a winner of an idea.

Later for you, and later for the Cherry or Ipswich Pine Finish for the front door frame; and that will be a decision to be made once the frau gets home.

All the best,
GB

Animal Obligations

Well $98.00 later, a shot, some pills, and Mimi is not barfing right now; but then again she stopped right before we got to the vet. I walked her to the vet so that was not a mess in the car. Hopefully she will get better without further incidents. Animal care can be expensive, but if you have a pet you should take care of it properly.

We met a nice lady at the vet who had rescued three kittens from a construction site. Their mother had abandoned them. She is caring for them now, and they seemed more than a handful for her. It was kind of nice to see that someone would care for three kittens like that without raising the flag of PETA or some other wacko animal rights group, and just take them home to give them food and shelter, then to the vet for a checkup, all without making it a federal case against the construction company, or in favor of spaying/neutering, or against cat ownership in general. I wish her luck in adopting them out.

Now what was it I was supposed to be doing around the house today??? While I figure out what chores I need to get done I'll say: Later for you all, and later for a gun blog.

All the best,
Glenn B

Household Obligations- a never ending joy

A productive day at home is what I was expecting to have today. I took the day off to refinish the front door and door frame, to paint the side door and frame, and to get a haircut so I'd look nice for the wife tomorrow on our anniversary. I also figured I'd be making up for my lack of production as of late on this blog as to a gun post or two. Now the new dog is barfing all over the place, and we will soon be off to the vet. Hopefully we won't be there too long, but who can tell - she seems pretty sick. I am also hoping it is only a stomach bug that will pass quickly, but the wife told me that Mimi grabbed a raccoon skull we have in the basement and was mouthing it last night, then started getting sick. I am hoping she did not ingest any toxins. I kind of doubt that had anything to do with it, but one never knows what chemicals they use to preserve those things (it was a store bought one) bought for my son. Needless to say, I checked the basement for other things that might appear appealing to her as chew toys.

Once I get home, I guess I can add the chore of going to Home Depot to pick up a carpet cleaner to my list of to dos! The list only gets longer, or so it seems.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Personal Health Obligations...

...are often not as easy to carry out are some of our other obligations. For example I have let myself balloon up to the highest I have ever weighed in my life over the past few months. Actually I should say I allowed that to happen over the course of 2 or 3 weeks (at most) wherein I gained 10-12 pounds. I was not feeling well, and surprisingly one of my symptoms was an increased appetite especially at night. So there I sat as usual in front of the tube with some snacks, just more snacks than usual. I shot up from about 214 to 226, then leveled off at my present and portly 225 pounds. I figure it is time for me to do something, in fact long past time for me to get started.

With that in mind I have once again started an exercise program. My problem with exercise programs is that I always seem to go at them for a few to several months at most, then I slack off altogether for another few months before I start in again. This time though it is going to have to be more long term. Losing the poundage I just gained will be no easy task for me, especially in light of the fact that even when I exercised fairly regularly I was not shedding pounds all that much. Of course I'll probably diet too, and in that regard I have already cut back on snacks. I am hopeful I will be able to cut out all junk snacks soon. Note I did not say junk food. Several years ago I lost about 30 pounds in a few to 6 months. I kept it off for a year and a half. (Why I gained it back is for another story.) I did that with moderate exercise on the treadmill, and with weights, and with a diet wherein I stopped eating snacks. I kept eating everything else though and that includes junk food meals. I ate Big Macs, pizza, gyros, and all that stuff to my heart's content. I also made sure to eat a large salad as a meal at least once or twice a week, and that will start again soon - maybe even today. I usually do not start two things at once such as working out for cardio, working out on weights, a diet and so forth. I try to start them one at a time, go with whatever I started with (such as cardio this time) for a few weeks before moving into weights also, and then doing both of them for a few weeks before staring a diet. That way I do not shock my system all that much at once. I find this helps get rid of some stress associated with a change in my daily regimen; and man oh man can exercise and diet add stress to a life. Yes I know they are supposed to reduce stress, and eventually they help to do so, but at first - when you have not been at it in a while, or ever - they add lots of stress to one's life as I see it.

So far I have been out walking the new dog, but not as often as I should. I have also been trying to get more regular sleep. I try to pass out by midnight at the latest, earlier is better. Then I try to wake up around the same time each day. This seems to have helped me to get a better nights sleep. Seems if I wake up at the same time each day, I am tired at the same time each night. makes sense I guess. I have also started working out on a treadmill. I did 4 miles two days ago, and 4.5 yesterday. In only one day I improved my pace markedly. I am not trying to do anything for speed, just to hit my desired distance of at least 3 miles per workout, with anything more being better; but I do keep track of the time it takes me to do it. I start with a run of 1.5 miles, then walk at least 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile, then run a 1/4 or half mile, then walk then run, until I hit the point at which I feel I need to stop. As time goes by, and as I become more fit, I'll increase the running portion of the workout. I figure getting to a straight 3 mile run with another mile or two of walking should be a decent workout at least three days per week once I am more fit. Right now I am shooting for 5 days per week with less running and more walking.

Amazingly, even with slightly high, but under control blood pressure, and a so-so diet, and a poor exercise regimen, I have been told my heart and cardio system are in great shape. I hope to keep them that way now that I am getting older. So wish me luck please! Not so much to lose weight at any astounding rate, but rather wish me luck in sticking with it. I realize I am the one who has to do that, to stick with it that is, but I can use all the support I can get. Who knows, maybe if I lose a few pounds the wife will go for walks with me again! One can hope.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, April 14, 2008

Firearms & Obligations...

...come in all sorts. Today I fulfilled two of my obligations. One was to renew my membership with the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the other was to renew my membership with the West-Side Rifle and Pistol Range. These may seem like less than obligations to some of you, but allow me to assure you that they are indeed obligations, firearms obligations, that I take seriously.

As for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association I find it important to join organizations that help support and protect my right to keep and bear arms under the U.S. Constitution. Said right is being assailed from every direction and has been chipped away at little by little until it has reached the point that my liberties and rights no longer are what is defined in our Constitution. I would much rather that this be corrected through debate, elections, and other peaceful means rather than it coming down to that which said right assures us all - the ability to overthrow a tyranny. So I have joined the NYSRPA on a yearly basis, and I am a life member of the NRA.

Support of groups that try to protect our 2nd Amendment rights is not enough. Active participation in what that right conveys is an absolute must. Therefore I am an avid firearms enthusiast, not only because I like to shoot, but because I want to be able to stand ready and join a militia if ever called upon to defend our constitution against tyranny. Many seem to have forgotten that the 2nd Amendment is the one that allows us to keep all of the others, and without it, we surely would have been overcome by they who seek power in government in any way that they can achieve it. Politicians, and other power hungry sorts, need reminders that we are actively taking part in our right to keep and bear arms, and are not merely paper tigers who join clubs or associations that are mere mouthpieces to help promote our cause.

By joining and keeping your memberships in such organizations active, and by actually participating in firearms related activities, you are contributing to the economy of the firearms industry. Without that financial support our right to keep and bear arms would likely fade away out in short order.

So yes, I see both of these as obligations, and I carry them out faithfully year after year.

All the best,
Glenn B

Not A Perfect Man...

...not for the presidency - that is for sure as I see it. Of course, maybe no one is perfect for the presidency, at least not the current crop of the three major candidates running for that job, but one is better than the rest in my opinion, and he is not saying absolutely stupid things like the following:

"“Now I am the first to admit that some of the words I chose I chose badly, because as my wife reminds me, I’m not perfect. She reminds me of this frequently, and events often remind me as well,” Obama said, reiterating his regret for his choice of words.

“So I’m not a perfect man and the words I chose, I chose badly. They were subject to misinterpretation, they were subject to be twisted, and I regret that. I regret that deeply. But. But. But. When people suggest that somehow I was demeaning religion. When I know that I’m a man of deep faith, somebody who in my own life has held on to faith, held onto my confidence in God during times of trial and tribulation, then it sounds like there’s some politics being played.

“When people suggest I was somehow being elitist and demeaning hunters when I have repeatedly talked about the tradition that people pass on from generation to generation, hunters and sportsmen, and how I have consistently spoken about my respect for the Second Amendment. When people try to suggest that I was demeaning those traditions, then it sounds like there’s some politics being played. And what really burns me up is when people suggest that me saying that folks are mad, they are angry, they are bitter after 25, 30 years of seeing jobs shipped out, pensions not fulfilled, health care lost. The notion that people are surprised, and are suggesting that I’m out of touch because I spoke honestly about people’s frustrations, that tells me there’s some politics going on,” he said." (from FoxNews.com @ http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/13/obama-im-not-perfect-mocks-clinton-support-for-gun-rights/

Does Mr. Obama really believe that this piss poor backpedalling is going to get him in good with the millions of people in this country who own firearms, who hunt, or who are frustrated because they don't have great jobs? Does he really think that his claiming to have been a supporter of the 2nd Amendment is going to hold water or votes after those who really hold that right sacred have shot his bucket full of holes?

He went onto say, about Mrs. Clinton:

“She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment. She’s talking like she’s Annie Oakley,” Obama told an audience at a union hall here, invoking the famed female sharpshooter immortalized in the musical “Annie Get Your Gun.” Does he truly believe that his attack on Hillary Clinton for her flip flopping current support of 2nd Amendment lover and the like will do anything to elevate him in the eyes of those same folks after he first demeaned and castigated them? Does he think that insulting the memory of Annie Oakley will help him? Heck, does Mrs. Clinton really think what she is doing now is going to help her.

Well I guess it is going to help one or the other of them to win the Democratic nomination for the run for the presidency; but I can only hope that voters in November do not have short memories when it comes to this absolute hypocrisy on the parts of either Obama or Clinton. I for one will be voting for the man who is running against them because both Clinton and Obama seem to come from another planet when it comes down to the realities of the USA, they are that much out of touch.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Addition - California Kingsnake

Well I have not talked about guns in a while, and I guess I'll skip them today too if only because my other passion took hold today. This afternoon I went to the monthly meeting of the Long Island Herpetological Society . Almost as soon as I walked in the door, Dave F. asked me if I was still looking for a female California Kingsnake. In fact I was, and had been looking earlier today when I had been in touch with someone who had one advertised on CraigList. That person wanted $60, a reasonable deal for a healthy and breedable female. Dave though had a better offer. He had a very nice looking morph of the Cal. King called a 'washboard' It is a banded variety, white/black that has a mottling of white specks throughout the black bands along her sides. Not only did I like the look of her, but I also liked the fact that she is between 2-3 years old (young and probably ready to breed) but she is close in size to my male. Not that size difference is a problem, but they will be less likely to eat one another. Yes kingsnakes are sometimes cannibalistic of their own species; heck they got the name kingsnake because of the fact they routinely eat other snakes - even rattlesnakes.

I'd write more about her now, but I am anxious to introduce her to the male I have on hand, a black and white striped Cal. King. Hopefully the chemistry will be right, and they will hit it off right away instead of trying to eat one another. I'll keep you posted.

By the way, the LIHS meeting was a good one today. Bill Love a renowned herpetologist, animal breeder, photographer, world traveler, and adventurer was there to do a presentation on the herpetofauna of Mauritius and Round island. Bill was one of the few lucky folks - not a scientist - who has ever visited Round Island in the past 15 years since it was granted heavily protected status as a nature preserve. Very good and interesting show with lots of nice pics. He also gave a talk about herp photography on Friday night at the annual LIHS dinner. I'd include a pic of him here from today's event except I would be embarrassed to show it to him after the talk he gave on Friday. Seems everyone else forgot their cameras so I tried to snap one with my cell phone and it was just way to dim in the theater. Oh well, next time I guess I'll remember my camera.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sprocket The Rocket - Heaven Bound

Lately she could not walk very far without just about falling over; heck sometimes she could not take more than a few steps with trembling and having a hard time at it. She would get up in the middle of the night and pace though, incessantly back and forth to her water bowl; and if there was water she would drink every last drop of as if parched from a trek through the Sahara and having finally found an oasis. Other times she would just stare as if out into space pondering the depths of the universe, and while chances were she was just staring at a wall instead of looking out to the heavens - who knows what she saw. At those times when she seemingly was spaced out, she had to be called over and over again before she heard me or saw me motioning to her; and while I don't know for sure where she was then, I like to think it must have been a glimpse of heaven she was seeing. She was old and frail, had a tumor the size of a baseball (had it for many years too), and had many other semi-crippling afflictions.

She was not always that way our Sprocket. She was named Sprocket after a character on the show Fraggle Rock (a favorite show not only of Celina and Brendan, but also of mama and papa). Later on we nicknamed her Sprocket The Rocket and for good reason. She was the fastest mutt I have ever seen, and once she kicked in the afterburners she just kept going. I think if allowed to she could have run for miles. In fact she may have done so more than once at Uncle David, Tante Marlene and my nephew Daniel's place while chasing their dog Milo, or their friend's dog Rudy, two of her canine pals, through the big (really big) backyard. Had she been a real rocket, she would have been a wonder of scientific technology because not only was she fast, and tight in the corners, but she loved the water. When we first got her, I used to take her on long walks to a pretty remote spot (imagine a remote spot in New York City - well there are more than a few relatively speaking). I was trying to break her of some bad habits, and trying to train her to act okay when off the leash. I had her off the leash and she was responding to my commands just fine that day so many years ago, heeling like the best of trained dogs. Then suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks, her ears went up, her brow furrowed, her tail went out, she was as alert as I had ever seen her. I could not figure at what she was looking, but she was looking out over the sump pond in front of us. The next thing I knew she was airborne and then splash she was in the water loving every moment of it. A command or two and she was back at my side. She loved the water - imagine that an amphibious rocket! When we visited my sister and brother-in-law she used to put her paws in a water basin and splash like crazy, yes she loved the water. She loved her trips to my uncle's and aunt's farm too where she could run and swim and play with other dogs there as she pleased. It had the right name for people and dogs alike - Happy Times Farm, and Sprocket's visits there were always happy ones for her and for Celina and Brendan when they were together there.


She was also a loyal companion for Linda (my wife) and for Brendan and Celina (our children). The kids grew up with her at their sides, and Linda was faithful in caring for her taking her for long walks each and every day without fail. I walked her too, but nowhere near as much as did Linda - they were quite the pair those two. In return, Sprocket was protective of the family. At times almost to a fault, and was sometimes nippy of our guests. As some time went by she pretty much dropped her habit of barking and nipping at everyone who visited us first in our apartment, then in our house. She grew accustomed to family and most friends and accepted them all as part of the pack. Still though, with a few people who were friends of the family, she never quite got over whatever joy it was for her to give them a scare - you know who you are Kyle and Laura!

She was that way with other dogs too at first, and it took a long time to get her to be decent with other dogs when we went out for walks; scars on her legs probably proof of a dog fight or three. She wound up getting along fine with Milo and Rudy though, and later on with Onkel Raymond and Tante Lorraine's dogs, and also with Onkel Alex's dogs. She also got along great with Cody our cat. Cody had come to us as an adoption from our neighbor who had moved away and could not take her two cats. We took the saner one, and my wife never let me live down the fact that when asked if we wanted him I said it was up to her. How could she turn down her best friend's request? They were pals those two until Cody left us last year.


Sprocket had other buddies with four legs. When we got Hexi, our mini dachshund, well Sprocket did not know what to do at first with such a little and young pooch. Yet Hexi, with her magic, was able to turn Sprocket into a playful pal in almost no time. Later on when Pepe joined the pack, Sprocket was a lot older, and less playful, but she accepted him pretty much right away, and she often took pleasure it seemed in watching Hexi and Pepe romp in the living room or backyard. What a pack, 4 humans, three dogs, and a cat.

Sprocket, like Cody, also came to us as an adult through an adoption, but a totally unexpected one, at least for me. We had just had to get rid of another dog we had adopted that was vicious and that had attacked both of our kids. That was tough, because the getting rid of part was permanent. Well, not too long after that, in fact sooner than I had expected, since Linda had said no more dogs until Brendan was older - there was Sprocket when I came home from wherever it was I had been. Uncle Alex had brought her by. She had been adopted out at least a few times after her owner had passed away. It seems no one wanted to keep her. Well no one except for us. She grew on us quickly despite her bad habits, I guess because of her good ones. As I said already - she was one loyal family friend and Linda, Celina, Brendan and I loved her dearly. She was part of our pack, and we part of hers.

I have to admit, I was surprised maybe most of all how much Sprocket got along with Granny (my mom), or should I say how much Granny seemed to like Sprocket (she is not an animal lover); but that was Sprocket - lovable. Of course Onkel Alex and Onkel Hans (my other brothers-in-law) and Oma (my mother-in-law) loved her too. Onkel Raymond (my brother) and Lorraine his wife loved her as well, as did Marlene (my sister), David (her husband) and Daniel (their son). Aunt Glenese and Onkel Ken loved her too. Sprocket got along good with all of them. Did I mention, she was part of our pack, and we part of hers.

Sadly those days are over. Yesterday Linda and I took Sprocket to the vet for the last time; and we had her put down. It was one of the toughest things I have ever done, and Linda has done it twice now in the past 3 months because in January our little Hexi had to be put down due to paralysis and seizures. Hexi was only 7, pretty middle aged for a dog. Sprocket was the grand old dame, and as best we know she was around 18-20 years old. We had her for 14 or 15 of those years as far as I can remember. The vet to which we brought her actually has a living room type setup in which they euthanize pets. It was as Linda put it, more comfortable. I think she meant for her and for Sprocket, and I'll admit that during the 1/2 hour or so we spent in that room waiting together, Sprocket seemed at home. The folks there were all very nice, especially the vet who did the deed. She was truly interested in Sprocket and her afflictions, and I think had we left out a few of them, she would have recommended other than euthanasia. She seemed generally interested in what was best for Sprocket. Once we told her about all of Sprocket's problems - she was very understanding, and she agreed with us that this was best. I wonder, but do not judge, if knowing that made it easier for her to do. I suppose it must have been tough for her, and that it is tough each time she does it. It was quick though, and Sprocket never knew what was coming, nor felt a thing from what I could tell. The thought that kept going through my mind as we waited, and as she was leaving us, was that she had trusted us to care for her. I know for a fact it was tough if just for that one thought along, hell it was the toughest thing I have ever done - bringing her there and going through losing her - being responsible for it. I am sure it was even tougher for Linda - she loved Sprocket with her all; and I imagine she had a similar thought to mine yesterday as we waited for Sprocket to be taken from us.

We will all miss her. We all loved Sprocket dearly, and we will miss her the same. Linda sobbed all the way home, nothing I could say or do would console her, though I think she found some comfort in me. Celina was over yesterday and shed more than a few tears for her, and Brendan is pretty torn up too. I am sure that everyone who knew her will miss her. Onkel Alex was hit hard when I told him what we were going to do; and to him I can only say thanks for bringing Sprocket, and a lot of joy, into our lives. I don't know if there is anything I can say or do to help ease their loss, or mine, except maybe to say that Sprocket The Rocket was heaven bound in a flash, and mama and papa were there with her at the end. Now she is in a place with no pain, and with fields through which to leap and bound, and ponds in which to swim at her heart's desire. We miss you girl, and we loved you - but I sure don't have to tell you that because you knew it, it was evident in how you loved us.

Filled with sorrow,
GB

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Common Courtesy Cop

It is annoying, you know the loud mouthed jerk talking on a cell phone while seated next to you in a restaurant, or on a bus, or on a train, or in an elevator. It is even scary to see someone walking down the street apparently having an animated conversation with no one in particular, scary until you realize they are hooked up to a cell phone (and maybe still scary when you think about how animated they were on a phone). I have often wondered why some of these people bother getting a phone and calling plan in the first place since they talk loud enough to be heard in the next state. Still though, its not much different from someone without a cell phone and who is simply having a conversation at way to loud a decibel level in a public place.

Sure some of them do not realize how loud and obnoxious they are being, and all it takes is someone to politely ask them to keep it down; but many of these blabber mouths lack common courtesy, and in that they lack respect for others. They either just keep it going, or even get louder, if someone politely asks them to tone it down. That can be a cause of conflict with those around them, especially the person who was annoyed enough to ask them to tone it down in the first place. So how do you handle the situation if you are the one who is offended or upset about a loud, obnoxious blabbermouth who is incessantly blabbing on a cell phone? I would do it with courtesy, and with respect, and if that did not work, well I would try to enlist the assistance of others who also seemed offended; all the while keeping it civil. I really try to remain civil, but I will admit if some gets in my face I can become pretty loud and gruff myself.

That does not mean I would start trying to grab things from people, or start slapping people, or yelling obscenities at them (though I have done so on occasion, I really try to keep it civil). As to the grabbing and slapping, I see moves like that as not only rude and disrespectful but as a physical threat. If someone came at me to grab something from my hands, or if someone slapped me, well I would defend myself as necessary and then I would restrain the person until police arrived. There is a good chance that something like this could happen to me or you. To me because I sometimes take the Long Island Railroad, and it seems to me that there is a self appointed vigilante common courtesy cop riding the rails of said RR. He was recently charged with a couple or few misdemeanors, and was tried in court, but won his case, see:
Man Who Yelled at Phone User Acquitted. I think he feels vindicated that his manner of accosting people on cell phones is the proper thing to do. I think he is an asshole rude and crude in his dealings with folks who are being too loud on cell phones; and I think it would be better handled in a polite and courteous manner. Now this guy is a retired cop (after only 10 years on the job as per the report I read) and is now a lawyer. He reportedly has several law suits filed against other LIRR passengers and against the MTA (the outfit that runs the LIRR). Are you getting the picture? This guy is, I think, an overinflated, pompous, rude, arrogant, nasty jerk someone who is thinking only of himself, and feels he must push himself onto others to make the world right. Right for whom - well for himself I would think, and not for you or I.

Being rude in an attempt to counteract the rudeness of another in no way overcomes the rudeness of others, it solves nothing. Too bad he does not realize that. He seemingly has missed the point that if you want to be a common courtesy cop, then you need to do so with common courtesy, and respect, toward others. If you do not do so with courtesy - well then you have become exactly the type of person against whom you are crusading. Err let me correct that last sentence - you have become worse than those others if only because you are doing as they do while seeing yourself as their better. That is out and out hypocrisy as I see it. I pity this guy, I really do; but I must say that should he ever take a physical swipe at me, it is not pity that he will feel in return.

All the best,
Glenn B