Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fresh Eggs in the Incubator...

...and you know I don't live even anywhere near to a farm, so if you guessed they are some kind of reptile eggs - well, you guessed right. My female corn snake laid a clutch of eggs about 2 days ago. I don't know if they are going to be alright or not, because as things would have it I forgot to assure that the humidity level was high enough for them, and they kind of caved in a bit. Chances are though they are still alive and well, and my having moistened the sphagnum moss / coconut husk fiber blend that they are in should solve the problem. Time will tell if all the eggs are viable; if not they should start discoloring within a few days to a week or so. As for the ones that are good, they should hatch in about 60 days if I keep them at the right humidity level and proper temperature. I incubate them at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and am not sure of the humidity level but it has to be close to 90 to 95 percent in the incubation chamber. The chamber itself consists only of a plastic food container with the lid on, and with the lid drilled through with small holes to allow some air to circulate through it. I always amazes me how fertile and viable eggs manage not to become overridden with mold or fungus in these conditions, but they usually make it all the way to hatching without mold or fungus killing them. As for the bad eggs in the clutch, well they do get attacked by mold and or fungus, and it makes them smell pretty badly quite quickly. Sometimes I leave them in the incubator, that is if attached to other eggs, because I don't like to risk rupturing a good egg by trying to pull them apart. Snake eggs, unlike bird eggs, are leathery to the touch, and remain pliable as opposed to becoming brittle. They also often adhere to one another just after the time they are laid. Also, as opposed to bird eggs, they need to pretty much remain in the same position as they were when they were laid by the mother. The great majority of snakes (except some pythons and cobras) do not tend to their eggs, and snake eggs never need to be rolled over as to bird eggs. In fact rolling them over can reportedly kill the embryos.

For now, I'll just pretty much leave them alone, and check on the incubator's temps now and again. The incubator I use now is basically just a container in which I place the incubation chamber, and in which I place a waterproof heating unit and some water. The heater heats the water to about 80 degrees, which in turn evenly heats up the interior of the container including the incubation chamber along with the eggs inside of it. In about 56 to 65 days, I'll know if I did it right.

All the best,
Glenn B.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Not Much To Write about - So Allow Me To Intoduce you To Potato Vodka.

When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, and then Queens, I remember my father and my uncles (brothers on his side), and a few years later my godfather (husband of my godmother, both my moms friends), then my uncle (my moms brother) all talking about various things. One of those topics that has stuck in my mind was about a subject that oft times comes up in man to man discussions as it did in these various talkfests - and that topic was booze and in this particular case I mean Vodka. Somehow, I recall them talking about Vodka, over many years and throughout many get-togethers of my disjointed family. One of the recurrent themes was which of the few countries, from which it was imported, produced the best vodka (back then not nearly as many were imported as are today). I seem to recall Russia coming out as the winner for best country of origin, although I don't remember or know if a lot was imported during the cold war (although I did find out that Stolichnaya was first imported to the USA in 1965 and then Pepsi made a Pepsi-Cola for Stoli swap with the Ruskies in 1973 - both right about the time period about which I am writing, give or take a few years). They also discussed Polish Vodka, American Vodka, and Vodka from northern European countries. I don't recall an awful lot of what they said, but I do remember them telling me it was made from potatoes. I got a taste now and then, and I remember too that it was terrible.

Well nowadays, I don't think it so terrible. In fact I think it is a great alcoholic beverage to mix with other things like sodas, juices, other alcoholic ingredients, flavored seltzer and the like. The thing is though, in all those years since the mid 60s through today, I have never as best I can recall, enjoyed a Vodka that was distilled from potatoes. Stoli is made from grains, Absolut and Grey Goose likewise as far as I am aware. I am not sure about Finlandia, Ketel One, or Boru, but my guess would be grain for them also. By these brands all I have had the pleasure of being stung. Not that vodka has a nasty bite, it is neat and clean, but it can pack a sting to your psyche if you drink enough of it at any given moment. I have done so, let us say, more than thrice.

But I digress from the meat (and potatoes) of the matter - and that my friends is Vodka distilled from potatoes. It was indeed long ago that I began to associate potatoes with real man's vodka. I had known from an even earlier age, that meat and potatoes were a real man's eats, and darned tasty at that, and I enjoyed them as much as did the adults even if I was only a young lad at the time. So why would not potatoes be part of a real man's drink too! It only made sense to a lad of somewhere between about 7 to 14 (when I was mostly at home listening to all these old farts, and not yet hanging out in the park with my friends getting sloshed). Now as I said, I do not recall ever imbibing of the spirits of distilled potatoes in the past. Heck I never even saw a vodka made from smashed in the past as far as I know. But there I was, in the vodka section, of the local retailer of fine spirits, just before this past weekend began. (Last Thursday or Friday night, which it was I cannot recall.) Well, there I was perusing the stock on hand, and debating between Stoli, and another brand or two, when something caught my eye. It had not quite registered, but I knew whatever it was had been important enough for me to scan the bottles again once or twice before it did register. When it did, a smile came to my face, because what I had seen were the words: POTATO VODKA" and the words "100% Neutral Potato Spirits".

I grabbed hold of a bottle and took a better look. The brand was Luksusowa, made in Poland, and it was 80 proof. It was also triple distilled through charcoal. All seemed well with the world, except maybe that it appeared the only bottle size they had of it was: 1.75 liters. Now that my friends is about double the size of the bottle I normally get, and I thought it a tad much. I searched in vain for a smaller size and finally decided on the one at hand. I was happily surprised to discover it was only about $26.00 including tax for that size bottle. I usually pay more than that for less than half the amount of another brand, and those made from grain. Now do not get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with booze made from grain, not even Vodka made from grain, but Vodka made from potatoes had a certain aura to it for me - after all I had memories of it being the real man's Vodka!

So needless to say, I grabbed it, paid for it, and was soon enjoying it. I had a couple of drinks with it over the weekend, mixed drinks made with simple ingredients like cherry flavored seltzer, orange juice, cranberry juice, and Hawaiian Punch. I liked it best with cherry flavored seltzer, but the others by themselves, or in weird mixtures with one another, and some vodka are all fine by me. Of course before trying it in a mixed drink, I gave it the real man's test for any booze and I had one (or was it two) neat (straight up). It was ever so smooth, and that was a big surprise considering how inexpensive it had been. Now after several more mixed drinks, and one or two neat, I can say without a doubt, it is still ever so smooth. This is good stuff, and I suggest if you are a Vodka drinker and can get hold of a bottle, that you give it a try.

The terrible picture I just took of it is to make you familiar with the look of it in case you happen to look for it in your local fine spirits emporium. The stuff in the glass next to it is a combination of OJ, Cranberry Juice, and a tad of the Luksusowa Potato Vodka (can't have too much since I do have to work tomorrow). I have to wonder, does my concoction have as many servings of fruit and vegetables as does that letter after U/number before 9 drink they advertise on television all the time? Maybe not, but I'd bet it packs more of a wallop and tastes better. As you can see there has been a fair depletion of the liquid nectar from that bottle in just a week's time - of course, mostly taken in over the long Memorial Day weekend.
If you do decide to enjoy some of this splendid alcoholic beverage, please remember to drink responsibly, and don't mix drinking alcohol with handling firearms, driving, operating machinery and so forth because when you screw up in a moment while drunk, you have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.
All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stocking Up...

...on supplies, as in putting together a cache of survival items may seem silly to some, but the realization has hit me that it may not be a bad idea. I don't mean going out and buying things for a 'emergency preparedness bag' or for a 'grab & go kit' (which I already have), I mean actually going out and stocking up on essentials such as food, medical supplies, toiletries, paper products and so forth in a large enough amount to last my family at least a few to several months. This is not something that would be easily done at today's prices, but I am truly concerned that future prices will climb so high as to either make these prices sky rocket further, that there will be a major depression, that civil unrest dues to the economy will create disruptions in supply, or that something along the lines of a major truckers strike will completely cut off supply.

So what would one include in such a store of supplies. One of the first purchases I am thinking of making will be a water filtration system. Nothing fancy, and something small will fit the bill. A couple of Brita pitchers will do nicely. After that I will think of foodstuffs to purchase. I am thinking about a couple or few bags of rice in the 50 pound size, about 100 pounds canned or vacuumed sealed flour, several pounds of salt, several cases of canned vegetables and fruits, canned meat - again several cases, powdered milk, and some high energy foods like nuts. As to medical supplies I am thinking of picking up enough to stock first aid needs my family for at least a year. As to toiletries, I think a good supply to last at least a few months would be in order. I do not mean things like perfumes or hair gel, but rather things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, mouthwash. Other things that might be a good idea could be: matches, candles, batteries, flashlights, charcoal, a can or two of gasoline for emergency use only. There are quite a few other things I will include on my list. Shopping for all this stuff could be done in a day, but I sure cannot afford to buy it all at once. I figure if I spread out the purchases over the next few paychecks, well it should work out fine.

I am not about to do this because of any great fear I have that we are about to face doomsday or anything like that; but I do see the signs out there that we may indeed go into a deep recession which would put us only one small step away from a depression. I remember the riots of the late 60s,the shortages of the mid 70s, and my mom lived through the great depression and through the rationing of WWII. If I ever have to face anything along any of those lines, I would hope to have been somewhat prepared by the time things get bad. Now I may go out and spend a lot of money on things, and then the economy will suddenly turn rosy and good times will be upon us. That will be okay because times will be good for me too and the money while spent will not have been wasted because I can still use all the items I bought. Of course it will not have been all that great if I will have gone out and made a lot of purchases at inflated prices and then the prices drop drastically, in fact that will suck. The thing is though, I keep wondering which way I would be worse off: spending too much money now on things I did not need right now, or not having things my family and I need when times get really tough and then not being able to get them at all. I think you know the answer. So this weekend I'll be on a BJ's Club or Costco shopping spree to start building up the larder.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - Take A Moment Today... remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in military service of their country. Although many think that today is akin to Veterans' day, it is a vastly different holiday. On Veterans' Day we honor the veteran of military service living and dead. However, this is Memorial Day, a day to honor those who have fallen in battle never to raise themselves up again, or those who have otherwise died in military service. They are in my thoughts in a place of honor, they deserve at least as much from each and every one of us.

All the best,
Glenn B

A New Soldier For Me

It has been awhile since my adopted/assigned soldier in the Soldiers' Angels program returned stateside. We keep in touch a little bit now and then, which reminds me I have to drop Bob a line to see how he is doing. Now that he is back home, I was left without someone in the military to whom I could give some support while he or she is over in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't know, I suppose though that because it was Memorial Day Weekend, this all came to mind so yesterday I sent an email to Soldiers' Angels requesting I be assigned to another soldier. I was pretty surprised, when I signed on line today, to see I had received an email from them already assigning me to another soldier.

Once again my soldier is over in Afghanistan. His (or her) name is Jamie (sorry I am not allowed to give away any more about his/her identity, and no I don't know if its a guy or a gal, so I will use he from now on). He is in FOB Salerno in or near Khost, Afghanistan. If I understand correctly, it is pretty close to Pakistan, and right on top of the Taliban stronghold in that region. My guess would be hot as hell in the summer, and icy cold in the winter. If I figured out the military address correctly, then he is part of a Field Artillery Regiment that supports the 101st Airborne. I won't know more about him until he gets back to me.

In the meantime, while waiting for a reply to the email I just sent him, I will start with the task of putting together a decent care package for Jamie and his fellow troops. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments section. I have put together and sent quite a few of these packages already for other soldiers, but I am always open to suggestions as to what to include inside of them. One new idea just read about, in a tank you note from a soldier to someone who sent him a package, is to send bandannas among whatever else I include in the package. They seemed to be a big hit.

Right now it is time for me to make a trip to my brother-in-law's house to pick up some hot pepper plants he has for me. Then maybe a stop by a Memorial Day parade. Then to some stores to pick up some goodies for the care package, and then back home for a BBQ, and to get some more painting done in the now spare bedroom (almost done with he job, hopefully by tonight).

Have a happy Memorial Day, and if you are thinking of how you can help support the troops, why not become one of the many who have joined the ranks of
Soldiers' Angels, it is easy and well worth the effort.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Started Painting...

...the small bedroom about a week ago. Well, not really painting, but opening and cleaning out cracks, then plastering. I did more of it yesterday,sanding (thank the gods for a good dust mask), then a second coat of spackle where needed. Then more sanding today, then vacuuming up the mess. After that I washed the walls and ceiling, just a rinse really. Then I taped up all the molding. Then I realized, holy horse feathers, some of the cracks were still not fully filled in with spackle. So a finishing touch with the spackle.

Before I started all this today, I tried to replace the handle on the upstairs toilet. Gave a turn of the nut to take it off, and wham the side of the toilet tank broke off. Thank goodness only above the water line. It looks like it must have been cracked there somehow, maybe however the handle got busted put the crack in the tank. I wonder. Did not matter, because I needed to think about replacing either the tank or the whole shebang. I opted for the tank, but the guy at Home Depot told me the tank size is no longer made. I find that hard to believe - I mean that a tank today will not fit on a toilet of old, if only because all the other holes, as in the ones to attach the bowl to the floor, the flush hole, the valve hole, remain standard sized throughout the years. So I hemmed and hawed and just bought some painting supplies. I figure I'll check better on the tank size, maybe go to a plumbing supply store and see if I can get just the tank. It would be a whole lot easier to fix that.

On the way home from HD, I stopped at the local supermarket. I picked up a couple of lamb chops, a 12 pack of St. Pauli Girl, and some cherry flavored seltzer (great with vodka). The chops went down on the grill right after I got home, and a couple of beers soon followed the chops down my gullet. Then back up to the room to get done what I outlined above. Right now, over another St. Pauli Girl, I am here typing this, and waiting for the spot jobs of spackling to dry. I figure about an hour or two. I'll get that sanded and then its primer/sealer time. Hopefully I get the whole room, really more like a jail cell, done tonight with the primer/sealer, then tomorrow I'll put on the paint. The wife wanted lime green, and I got something between the outside and inside colors of a lime. Green for the walls, white for the ceiling. I think it is disgusting, she has not seen it yet. I hope she likes it. Really though, I figure once on the walls, with the stained woodwork trim, it will look nice.

Wait a minute. What was that? I think I hear a duetches frauline calling me, a St. Pauli Girl at that. Time for another cold one; later for you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Apartheid Has Not Disappeared...

...but rather it has again reared its ugly head, this time maybe a head of a different color. See: Anti-foreigner violence in South Africa kills 50.

It seems that South Africans have taken to the streets of squatter camps and "dormitories" and have been attacking and killing foreigners, blaming the foreigners for loss of jobs and the like. While I agree that foreigners could be responsible for loss of jobs, especially if enough of them are illegal aliens and are taking away jobs from South Africans by way of undercharging for their own labor, I also believe that the attackers have stooped to the dregs through their deplorable actions. They are most assuredly justified in their anger if it is true that so called immigrants are taking away their jobs, however they are at the same time repeating apartheid by taking the violent actions they take. I mean, are the attackers not the very same people who claimed ethnic rule and oppression was wrong, immoral and illegal? Or is it that South Africans just believe it to be the case when a certain ethnic group is in power and it does not suit them? The hypocrisy of the current state of affairs seems par for the course when it comes to ethnic disputes. I imagine there is some hope as others are marching for peace; but maybe the best hope would be found in South Africa having a strict Immigration policy that affords its own people the opportunity to work without interference from aliens, illegal or otherwise, who push citizens out of jobs. Sound familiar?

All the best,
Glenn B

Socialist Takeover of U.S. Oil Companies On The Agenda, How Far Behind Is Tyranny

What can I say folks, you heard her say it; there is no doubt she wants to socialize our economy with a government takeover of businesses like the oil companies. I have no great liking for those price gouging businessmen, but I do much prefer a free market and our Republic over anything that a big mouthed apparent communist loving and socialist loving politician like Maxine Waters has to offer. What do you think she would do next if her bid for a government takeover of the oil companies was successful? How she remains within her political office is far beyond my comprehension except for the fact that she was elected in the 35th District of California. She not only, in my opinion, deserves to be removed from office, but probably to apologize to the nation and to promise she will never again accept political or public office.

If you live within the 35th District of California, that she supposedly represents, I think you should consider doing all you legally can do to get her out of office because I think If left to folks like her our country would be on its knees in no time, and 'we the people' would be 'we the oppressed'. As a matter of fact, everyone who has access to a keyboard or a pen can write to her to denounce her statement, or call her to do the same, and to insist that she step down from political office. Will it work - hell probably not - because she is, in my personal opinion, a pompous ass; but it will remind the rest of them in Congress that we will not stand for the likes of her trying to get away with things like this; and most of the rest of them have brains between their ears. Heck if enough stink is made about this, maybe her constituents will wake up. When her reelection stint comes back around - I would think that you would want to vote her out of office if you want to do yourself a favor.

All the best,

Glenn B

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Twice in A Week At The Range...

...sort of made the week an especially nice one. On Monday I qualified for my job. That means I had to shoot the Glock 19, twice for qualification, and once for a tactical shoot. Then I shot the Remington 870 for qualification 2with slugs, and for another round with buckshot. Finally it was the H&K MP5 submachine-gun. Loads of fun even though it was a geriatric Monday for me and I was having trouble getting things right. Heck, I shot only a 234 out of 250 for my first qualification round, then a 238 out of 250 for the second. maybe not bad, but not good by my standards for myself. If I shoot below 240 I am very dissatisfied, and if below 245 or 244 well I am not all that happy about it. I got 5 out of 5 in the center ring with the shotgun, though that too had its troubles. I had to pull out two shell casings that did not eject fully. Just a bad day I suppose. Finally when it came to the MP5 I must have been back in the swing of things. I scored a 240 out of 250 with the subgun. Not my normal either, but acceptable for me by me.

Yesterday, after a ho-hum day at work, I decided to head to the West Side Rifle & Pistol Range on W. 20th Street in Manhattan (NYC). I figured I could use the practice with the Glock, those low scores of mine were bugging me; and I also wanted to make sure I did not get stuck in Memorial Day weekend traffic on the way home. Besides that I wanted to shoot my Ortgies pocket pistol, and a couple of my 22LR handguns I had with me. As it turned out, I forgot the key for one of the gun locks, so my Beretta 70 S stayed in the range bag. I did have a good time though with the S&W Model 17-8, and with my Ortgies and Glock.

As for the Glock, I banged away with about 250 or 300 rounds of ammo. That was fun, and presumably I needed the practice. When it came to the S&W Model 17, I probably fired another 300 rounds easily. Its the only revolver I own, but it sure can be a lot of fun. Being a 10 shot, and shooting inexpensive .22LR rounds, fun is bound to be had with it.

When it came to the Ortgies, I only had 14 rounds of ammo with me for it (I had it in my bag without extra ammo than what was in its two magazines), so I decided to see just how accurate it could be for close in slow fire. I set the target up at 7 yards and fired all 14 shots at it. I was shooting FMJ Magtech .32Auto ammunition. Not a bad little group at 1 5/8". Next time when I have more ammo for it with me, I'll shoot rapid fire, point shooting, at the same distance and also at a closer range to see just how good of a pointer this would be in a self defense situation. My guess is it would be a whole lot better than yelling for help when a bad guy was trying to hurt you.

As you can see from the photo of the target this little pistol, manufactured sometime in 1920's Germany, is inherently pretty accurate. I don't know if it was me, the ammo, or the gun that put almost every shot a tad high and to the right. I'll try with another brand of ammo and see if I get different results. As for the gun itself, I can tell you the sights are darned difficult to pick up, especially with my middle aged eyes, and my guess would be that they would be virtually useless in a low light situation thereby demanding that you resorted to point shooting with it. They are certainly nothing like modern combat sights, and are basically just a sight channel milled out of the top of the slide, and a thin blade front sight milled into the front of the slide. All in all though, my guess is: it would be okay for close in self defense work; and after all that is just what for a pistol like this was designed.

Then onto the S&W revolver. I can say without a doubt that the ammo I shot through the S&W Model 17 made a lot of difference in the group size. I shot four different types of ammo through it on this range trip. I started with Federal Champion solid nosed ammo. This stuff is old, probably at least 15 to 20 years old. It still shoots and gets the job done, though it is pretty dirty leaving a lot of unburned powder behind. I got a fairly tight group with it with one flier. It was high and to the left at 21 feet when aiming center of the target. Of 7 shots fired aiming center of target, 6 were in a group almost covered by a quarter, with one flier. Measured group size was 1 1/4" for 7 shots. When I changed the sight picture to that of a lolly pop, and used Kentucky windage to move things a bit right, the last three shots were pretty much in the bull. A sight adjustment for this ammo would do the trick.

Then I put some American Eagle high velocity solid nosed ammo through the S&W. All the shots were closer to the center, but no tight grouping as with the federal Champion. In fact this ammo produced the widest grouping (not counting fliers) that I shot all day with the 22LR ammo. These shots were scattered in a group spread out to 2 5/8"; pretty miserable.

Next up was Peters high velocity solid nosed bullets. Te ones that come in the yellow plastic box. I had 6 of them make one hole, but also had 2 fliers, and 2 that were close enough to the rest of the group not to be considered fliers. Another 1 1/4" group size, not counting the fliers. All of these also a little to the left, and high (except for one low left flier). I guess that a sight adjustment would do the trick.

Finally I shot some Remington Golden Bullets, high velocity, solid nose. I got 9 shots in a 1 1/9" inch group, pretty much dead center of the target, with one flier low to the left. I cannot recall, but my guess is that last time I adjusted the sights on the S&W it was for this lot of Remington Golden Bullets.

Not the best I have ever shot, not by a long shot, but not the worst I will ever shoot either. All in all I had a fun time at the range, even though I spotted one guy a few lanes to my right who decided he was Billy The Kid, or some other desperado. He was shooting from the hip, somewhat from behind the booth, and therefore definitely too far behind the firing line, with a pistol in each hand. Every few shots I heard that unmistakable zing of a round ricocheting off of something. Since this range is in the basement of an old building in NYC, it has support pillars downrange, and I figured that was where some of his bullets were striking. Luckily no one was hit by a ricochet. Of course, once I saw that, I was off of the range and over to one of the guys who worked there to say my piece about this fantastic pistelero less than safe shooter. The range guy watched the self imagined sharpshooter for a bit, then went into the range and told him to knock it off. After that I went back to my lane and shot up the rest of my ammo, and left for the night. As I was packing up, a friend of the trick shooter told him something to the effect: 'Don't worry about it, they only said something because they don't know you yet, and how good you shoot'. Two asshole buddies peas in a pod I suppose, but thank goodness only one was shooting like that right then. That is the thing about a range, you always need to be safety minded not only about your own gun handling, but that of others at the range too.

Once I left the range, I made it home in about 35-40 minutes at most. That has got to be a record for me, and I drove right at the speed limit at least 95% of the way. I guess staying at the range until about 8PM did the trick and all of the holiday weekend traffic had disappeared, along with all of those folks who were trying to disappear for the weekend.

All the best,
Glenn B

John Augustus Roebling and Washington Roebling...

...father and son, would both be proud to know that their most acclaimed piece of architecture, an engineering marvel, has withstood not only the 125 years since it opened, but also the additional 13 years it took to be built. Of course I am talking about The Brooklyn Bridge - today marks the 125th anniversary of its opening. If you have ever been to New York City and you did not get a chance to see the Brooklyn Bridge, let me just say you missed one grand old lady. It is truly a sight to see, and better yet - if you walk across her span - there are some fine views of New York Harbor, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty. There is a lot of story behind this bridge, once the tallest structure in the western hemisphere, and for many years the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is an engineering and architectural marvel. Why? Well because it was designed to be built 6 times stronger than necessary, yet during actual construction inferior cables were supplied by a crooked supplier. The younger Roebling (his father having died from disease before completion of the bridge) decided to go with the inferior cable instead of delaying the project. In addition one of the two support towers, the one on the Manhattan side is built over sand, as opposed to that of the Brooklyn side supported by bedrock. Why the difference, because of caisson disease (the bends) - and the younger Roebling was afflicted by it due to his time down in the caissons. He decided to stop sinking the supports of the west tower
down to bedrock level, and the tower is now atop sand, supported only by sand, 30 feet short of the bedrock. Yet despite that, this beautiful bridge still stands as she did on her first day.

I lived in New York City most of my life, and now live not far from the city on Long Island. I still work there, and still sometimes take the Brooklyn Bridge to get to work. It is mot a pleasure to get caught in the traffic jams that routinely happen on this bridge, but it is always a pleasure to see the view from it. Like some other bridges in New York, the Brooklyn Bridge has rail traffic that crosses its span in the form of New York City Transit Authority Trains - the subway (though there the trains are elevated); and I have crossed her that way too. I have also taken a boat ride around manhatan that twice passed under her span.

One thing the Brooklyn Bridge offers, that most other major spans in new York City do not offer, is the chance for the pedestrian to walk across her length. In all my time in and around New York City, I have only attempted this once. I decided to do so, one beautiful sunny spring day some years back, and I made it half way before I had to turn around and get back to court in Brooklyn. Someday though it will be my pleasure to walk across the completeness of her span, and that day is coming soon. Why soon? Well now that I think of it, I had always said I would someday go to the top of the World Trade Center to visit the observation deck and to dine in the restaraunt there. For some reason I always decided instead to visit the Empire State Building when I wanted a grand view of New York City and the surround states. (Yes you can see at least 5 states on a clear day from atop the Empiere State Building.) I figured the WTC would always be there for me. As it turned out, I never made it to the top of the Trade Center even though I worked there for several months. Now I will never have the chance. Before something disastrous can happen to the bridge, or before they close it to pedestrian traffic for whatever reason, I plan to make it across her span at least one time; and I imagine I ought to get my ass in gear before I lose the opportunity. Its funny what we take for granted as a thing that will always be there, I did just that with the WTC; I will not do it again - and certainly not with the Brooklyn Bridge or with my opportunity to walk her span.

If you want to read about the Brooklyn Bridge, try a web search, or look at these links, but let me remind you - the best thing you can do is to visit it:

All the best,
Glenn B

Why Debase Our Country Like This?

So Jenna Hager (aka: Jenna Bush) reportedly answered "sure" to Ellen Degeneres when Degeneres asked if she and her lesbian lover could use the Bush ranch for their wedding (see:,2933,357921,00.html). Okay, okay, yeah it was probably supposed to be funny, a joke albeit a bad one. Still though it brings a question to my mind. My question is this: "Why would the not only the daughter of the current President of the USA appear on a show hosted by Degeneres, but why would the First Lady also appear on the same show?" I ask this in light of the fact that the Bush family is supposed to be a Christian family, an Evangelical family if I recall correctly, a devoutly religious family, yet they give appeasement to the lesbian and gay communities in exactly the same manner that they appease the illegal alien community! It is a sad day for those in America who cheered George W. Bush's speech in Israel earlier this week when he came out against those who offer appeasement to our enemies since now the Bush family is offering appeasement not only to criminals who broke the law to enter our country (and who often continue breaking our laws), but also to those who would make a sham of the institution of marriage as well. What is next - pedophiles, or terrorists being invited to a Bush BBQ?

If I am ever again faced with the offer of voting a Bush into office, I will vote democrat for the first time in my life in a presidential election. That is of course unless the Bush is running as a Dem - heck they sure act like Dems - don't they! I used to think Jimmy Carter the worst president in my lifetime, but now I am no longer so sure since the current president seems to be trying his hardest to out do Carter. One thing Carter has going in his favor: At least Carter remained loyal to his political party's base and remained a screaming whacko lib like the rest of them; on the other hand Bush claims to be a Republican, and to me he seems anything but Republican. I wonder if we will be paying war reparations to terrorists and seeing them on the ranch too, right next to the pedophiles. This president is the most liberal Republican I have ever known, except of course when it comes to filling the pockets of big business. What a sham he has pulled off. What is, in my personal opinion, the word that describes him? RINO - pure and simple.

All the best,
Glenn B

Osama bin Laden's Liquor Store

Yes you read that correctly! It seems Osama bin Laden had been hiding out somewhere far from Pakistan in Brooklyn, NY. He actually was found running a liquor store to help fund his slime bag cause. Gladly though this has come to an end, because he was shot numerous times this morning by a rare bird in NYC, an armed citizen. Don't you wish that what I just wrote was true? Don't you wish it could be you who was the lucky bastard hero who got the chance to gun him down. I know I sure wish it could be me. Well now you have the chance. Heavens forgive me for saying it, but this is absolutely great. I knew I went to the range last night for a good reason. See:

I just cannot believe this has been around since 2001, and I never saw it before.

Good shooting,
Glenn B

Friday, May 23, 2008

Keeping The Right To Keep & Bear Arms... something we need to work at in order to accomplish it. It isn't easy that is for sure, what with the millions of anti-gun fanatics who are out there. One way to help overcome their influence is to support groups that support the RKBA. National groups like the National Rifle Association, or the Gun Owners Foundation, state/local groups such as the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. I try to do my part, and I support these three particular organizations. I am a life member of the NRA, an annual member of the NYSRPA, and a yearly supporter of the GOF. I recommend that if you want to keep your RKBA, you should do something similar.

By the way, every now and then, it is nice to get something more than continuous solicitations for funds (like those I receive from the NRA) or newsletters (like I get from the NYSRPA). Yes every now and then it is nice to get a letter thanking you for what you have done. In that regard I have to hand it to the GOF because an acknowledgement like the one they sent me let's a person know that not only is their donation being used to fight for our rights, it is also appreciated by those who received it. That appreciation, coupled with a job well done, goes a long way toward making sure I will donate to them again.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Now This Could Become Addictive...

...especially if I had a real one, enough gas to fill the tank to get me to where I thought it would do any good, and of course - a good supply of shells.


All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh Tell Me It's Not So - Not Mr. Sulu Too!

Maybe I have been living in a cocoon, and maybe that is why I never realized that the actor who portrayed one of my favorite characters from the original Star Trek series apparently (and reportedly) was and is a man who prefers the company of men in a gay way! Go here to read the brief story about how George Takei plans to marry his partner who I am assuming is a man with a name like: Brad Altman.

First it was Rock Hudson (a he man of the film world), then the rumor was that Jim Nabors (aka: Gomer Pyle from the Andy Griffith show, and Gomer Pyle USMC) had joined the ranks (maybe just rumor?), and now Mr. Sulu too. I am in disbelief is all the rest I can say.

If any one ever proves to me that Chuck Connors (aka: Lucas McCain- The Rifleman), who was married three or four times and had at least a few kids, was also gay as I have heard it rumored, well I'll probably just shoot shit myself.

All the best,
Glenn B

We May As Well Just Push The Button & Nuke Ourselves...

...I mean just go here to look at what we have become, at where we have arrived. Beware because it is, in my opinion, quite disgusting. If anyone other than the doctor in the spotlight thinks that this is acceptable, either medically, moraly, or legally - well then one person is enough to convince me we are doomed as a society - we have just degraded too far to have any hope of recovery left for us. So, we may as well launch the nukes and wipe ourselves off the face of the earth.

I mean that most sincerely.

Glenn B

Monday, May 19, 2008

Down To The Final 4...

...firearms qualifications at my job. Well that is the way it looks right now since I am planning on retiring in July 2009. I had figured January 2009, but financial concerns will have me staying on until July. If things do not change too much, and if it looks like our economy will hold its own so I can get another job after I retire from my career as a federal LEO, then today's firearms qualifications will be first of the final 4 I will enjoy as a shooter. I miss too the days when I was also an instructor, but those ended several years ago. Oh well, even if these come to an end, I am pretty sure I will be at the range on a fairly regular basis to keep my hand in it so to speak.

I guess being that close to retirement means it is time to start saving for the retirement carry piece. I am thinking of an HK of one model or another. Fifteen bucks a week sounds about right. I will have to start brown bagging my lunches, and saving my change.

All the best,
Glenn B

An Open Apology

It seems I may have inadvertently offended Xavier with my below post:

It was never my intent to belittle his creed, nor opinion, nor to insult him in any manner. If there was a perceived insult within my words, please allow me to assure Xavier and the rest of you, that such was totally unintentional on my part. I wrote what I did as a discussion of Xavier's piece, and as an expression of my opinion about carrying of firearms, and I would hope it is viewed as nothing more that that. For any insult that was taken, or if my blog somehow conveyed to anyone that I was being disrespectful, I do apologize.

To make sure I am understood, I am apologizing for my words allowing for an apparent perceived insult or perceived lack of respect; I am not apologizing for my discussion of the creed, nor am I saying that my opinion expressed in my reply has changed; and it is a sincere apology - absolutely no disrespect was intended.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today in History - Plessy v. Ferguson

...was decided upon by the Supreme Court of the United States of America thereby upholding the legality of the policy of Separate but Equal between the races, see It is an irony that Abraham Lincoln, who would later pen the Emancipation Proclamation, was nominated to run for the presidency on this date only 9 years earlier. Of course he won the presidential race, with slavery as a hot issue of the day, the southern states seceded from the union, the states were joined in war against one another, and out of that bloody fray was born freedom for all Americans whether black, white or otherwise. It was an irony indeed that said liberty was one assuring equality, yet it was deemed that equality could somehow be doled out separately for different people. Some of each race continued hating the other, and it was soon apparent that just because all men were freemen, it did not mean they had to be seen as acceptable in the eyes of those who had hatred in their hearts (and this worked and still does work both ways).

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Gas Thefts - Am I The First To Wonder When They Will Start?

Heck, I am old enough to remember the gas shortages and rationing back in the 70s when Nixon was president. I also remember that theft of gasoline right of of a car's gas tank was pretty common. So in that light, with prices at an all time high, I have to ask:

Why are there no reports of gasoline thefts similar to those of the seventies?


Why hasn't some enterprising young rascal, in the automotive parts industry, paid off some hoodlums to go out and start stealing gasoline, so that his company can be the first to get in on the buying frenzy for locking gas caps?


Why hasn't some slimeball reporter paid some young thugs to go out and start stealing gasoline out of folks gas tanks, in a few different neighborhoods, in a major city, to get the big news scoop?

I mean, you can bet that it probably happened just like that in the 70s. maybe not an automotive parts company employee encouraging hoodlums to steal gasoline, but do you doubt that the news reporter types did it back then? I remember riots where newsmen were accused (and I believe convicted of or at least proven to have done so) of dropping brick on the ground with a $20 bill attached to it, during race riots. The brick just happened to fall at a minority youth's feet. Guess what happened next - the reporter's camera crew got a great shot of that brick flying through the air and smashing into a window while the reporter gave the play by play. Have we become that much better of a society that none of this will happen during the current fuel crisis? (You had better believe that regular at $4.29 per gallon is a crisis.) I hope so, that is that we have improved as a society and will not resort to such petty thievery, but I doubt it. My guess is that it is just a matter of time before we start hearing reports of gasoline thefts, of someone being beaten for trying to siphon gas out of someone else's car, and of the need for protection in the form of locking gas caps, and locking fuel filler doors (remember them, virtually all new cars had them for about a decade, but not all cars have em now).

I only hope that my thinking about this, and writing about it here doesn't spur some knuckle head dirtbag into action because I certainly do not condone or promote theft of any sort, nor do I want to inadvertantly give someone the idea and then they do it. It just baffles me though that it has not already started, or that the Mud Slinging Media has not somehow stirred the pot and created the problem to make news. I suppose it is just a mater of time.

All the best,
Glenn B

A Firearm's Creed Regarding Concealed Carry

Thanks to quidni pro quo I got to read The Concealed Carry Creed that appears at Xavier Thoughts - Nurse With A Gun. I left a lengthy reply to the post over at quidni pro quo, where I first saw the creed. After a bit, I thought I would post my reply here in order to make sure this gets around as much as possible to promote some intelligent discussion on the issue. Read the creed here, then read my reply below. Hopefully there will be some good discussion and sharing of thoughts, and more of it because now it is being discussed on at least three different blogs.

MY REPLY (with a minor but important edit as noted):

"As a legitimate and legal gun owner, I have to say there is an awful lot in that 'creed' with which I disagree. This sort of disagreement usually arises whenever anyone says this is the way it must be, and the only way it must be - just like it is said in that piece.

For instance, my weapon is not only for the protection of life. if that were the case it would only ever be used defensively. My weapon could also conceivably be used not only to protect life, but to ensure the continuance of the United States of America and her Constitution.

I will not seek ‘never to have to use my weapon’; instead I will practice with it often in the event I ever need rely upon it. If I were to seek never to use it, I would put it in a drawer and lock it away, or I would surrender it to my enemy. I would indeed seek to use it as I find myself morally, logically, and justifiably able to do so - otherwise why bother having it. I will not be "forced" to use my weapon as would the author of the 'creed' I would choose to use it when I deem necessary.

In preparing myself to use my weapon, I will not as would the author of the 'creed' acquire superior training; however I will train with it to make myself thoroughly familiar and proficient with it in various situations. To believe that any training I receive, or any practice I perform is superior leaves me open to failure because I have unwisely underestimated the ability of my assailant.

I will never be able to know, and understand all laws regarding the possession and use of firearms, or anything else for that matter. The legislators who enact laws, the executive branch who enforces them, and the judicial branch who interprets them are constantly at odds with one another over the meaning of laws, and all three are at odds with the People over the same, so how is it that anyone can believe that we can be expected to know it all.

On the other hand, I will make every effort in good conscience to obey laws about firearms, until those laws violate the Constitution of The United States of America. When that violation is blatant, and it results in the harm to fellow good citizens, and oppression of our rights to an extreme degree, I will do all within my power to uphold the Constitution of this great land. if that includes violating unjust, oppressive and tyrannical laws to achieve preservation of the Constitution, well then, so be it. Failure to do so means the end of liberty and justice, and the demise of a nation.

I will go far beyond the so called '4 Rules of Safe gun Handling' if only because they are a poorly abbreviated version of the Rules of Firearms Safety that were taught for many, many years before someone well versed in firearms decided to shorten them to help sell his name and his book. Yes he knew a lot about shooting, but Colonel Jeff Cooper was a fool if he believed those 4 rules were what it took to handle a firearm safely. I don' t believe that is what he thought, but I do believe it helped him sell himself and his book, and maybe that made him much worse than a fool in this regard, and I say that without attempting to detract from giving him his due relative to his other knowledge about firearms and his ability to use them. (edited a bit from the original to show I defer to the man and his experience on many things related to firearms, but just certainly not the 4 rules)

The above is not my creed, I have no creed when it comes to firearms usage. Life with all its twists and turns cause circumstances to change from day to day, and I tend to be flexible when it comes to my practical applications of anything. That includes my use of firearms. There is always something else to learn, maybe something to discard that you have already learned.

Of course if I were to have a creed, it might go something like:

I, Glenn Bartley, do solemnly affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

And you can bet I would be willing to use a gun to get the job done within the framework of just and moral legal system.

This may seem like semantics to some of you who read this. I think not. I think there is a definite difference between myself and the author of that creed, a basic difference in our philosophies when it comes down to the nitty gritty of it all. Not a vast difference mind you, but an essential one. Maybe I am wrong, maybe we are more alike than I imagine, and it is just the way of saying things that differs. Regardless of which, I am pretty sure our philosophies do not differ that much that we would not both strive for morality, justice, and the right way of being a responsible gun owner. For that, despite any differences, I tip my proverbial hat to the author of the Concealed Carry Creed.

By the way, I did not give my reply in order to offend the author of the creed; but rather to intelligently promote discussion about it, and to make others and maybe even the author himself realize there are a lot of other ways to look at legitimate firearms ownership. In that regard, I suppose my intent was also maybe even to get others tho think about whether or not creeds are probably much to narrow in scope to be applied to such a topic as carrying, or use of, firearms. "

All the best,
Glenn B

ARSENAL - Why Become Defensive Over Use Of This Word

"28 guns qualifies as an arsenal these days?"

The above comment was found on The High Road in this thread: It and all the and all the other comments in that and other threads like it about the use of the word arsenal made me scratch my head in wonder. So I penned a thread about the word and its use, and why people who own guns become defensive when they hear it, or see it, used to describe a collection of firearms. The following is a quote from my post, that can be found here: If you wish to comment, you can do so at the end of this blog; or you can go to The High Road and comment there where your comment is bound to add more interest to the discussion that is sure to follow.

"...I was pretty surprised that a comment like this one was not the first one after the initial post, but as I was reading the thread starter, I knew for sure that one or more like it were surely coming. It always seems to come up whenever anyone calls a cache or collection of weapons and arsenal. Nothing personal in my using that one, it was the firs tone in the thread, and the thought struck me to write a thread on the subject so I quoted it here.

The fact of the matter is that use of the word arsenal, in the case of 28 firearms could be quite accurate. For example, if small military unit consisting of 14 people, had a storage room in which they stored 28 firearms (all long guns) would that not be an arsenal? Throughout history such a collection of firearms for a small military outpost has often been referred to as an arsenal - were the people who called that an arsenal wrong? Similarly, if a group of survivalists had a room in which they stored 28 firearms, half of them long guns, and half handguns, would that not properly be called an arsenal? I think it would be correct to use that term to describe that room. Add to the mix ammunition, firearms cleaning supplies, tools for repairing firearms, knives, and so forth and it seems even more clear such would be a correct use of the word. If guns were also manufactured there it would be a cinch. Still though, an arsenal can simply mean a collection of weapons.

So I wonder, when an individual is arrested, by police albeit it in a restrictive state like NJ, and the media uses the term arsenal to describe the same thing - except that it was in possession of an individual - why is it that the term suddenly becomes incorrect? I believe it becomes incorrect only in as much as gun owners, and gun right advocates see this word as a negative term and believe it is being used against us and our RKBA by the anti-gun lobby. Even if that is the case, that those who advocate for gun control are trying to make it sound like some evil collection of weapons, the fact of the matter is that the definition of the word arsenal, and its historical use, both support the fact that 28 firearms, even fewer, can indeed be an arsenal of weapons. Although it can be one, an arsenal does not have to be a manufacturing plant for weapons, it can be a mere storage building or room in which a number of firearms are stored, or can be a mere collection of firearms. If a collection it can be large, medium sized or relatively small - two weapons, though a stretch, could possibly qualify as an arsenal, though a small one indeed.

Here is one definition of the word, this from Merriam-Webster:

"Main Entry: ar•se•nal
Pronunciation: \ˈärs-nəl, ˈär-sə-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian arsenale, ultimately from Arabic dār ṣināʽa house of manufacture Date: 1555
1 a: an establishment for the manufacture or storage of arms and military equipment b: a collection of weapons
2: store, repertoire "

Here is another definition, this one from from Encarta:

"ar•se•nal [ rssən'l, rssnəl ] (plural ar•se•nals)
1. weapons storehouse: a building where weapons and military equipment are stored
2. armaments: a stockpile of weapons and military equipment
3. resources: a supply of methods or resources
an arsenal of teaching strategies
[Early 16th century. Directly or via French<> "

I think that when we become so defensive at the use of a term like the word arsenal, we are missing the forest for the trees. Why not just agree and say, wow that indeed was a small arsenal of weapons. So what - there is nothing wrong with owning an arsenal. In fact an arsenal of firearms whether a collection, a storage room of firearms with repair shop, or an out an out manufacturing plants, with repair shop and storage facilities for firearms all seem perfectly legitimate to me - so why get defensive about the word that describes those things. Many of us, quite defensively, deny time after time that an arsenal is just what it is when it comes to a collection of weapons. Instead of becoming defensive, and playing into the hands of the anti-gunners, start using the word regularly to describe your firearms collection. Make people, who are gun owners, and non-gun owners alike, aware of the fact that there is nothing bad about legally owned arsenal, and that the word itself is properly used to describe a legitimate collection of firearms as well as a manufacturing plant for firearms; therefore the public should not misuse construe the word as something negative. If however, we as firearms enthusiasts continue to misconstrue that same word, then we basically agree with the anti's incorrect portrayal of an arsenal as indeed a bad thing; and in that way we help the antis win their battle against because we too are giving indication that it must be something bad. That is pretty self defeating, so why give the antis any ammunition with which to shoot down our rights, why not educate folks instead that an arsenal is something of which to be proud in your role as a free citizen who exercises his/her rights in both keeping and bearing firearms, and maybe even storing them in an arsenal? "

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Shared Lunch...

...with a stranger yesterday. Sure that could be a risk not worth taking, especially in the heart of New York City where you can run into all sorts of weirdos, vagabonds, hoodlums and scalawags.

Yet this guest was rather an amusing one, and had only a light appetite. He came, he ate, he ran flew. Of course, he and another two or three of his finely feathered friends stopped back a time or two more for a bit of lunchtime chatter and to grab another morsel. I was making, or about to make a quick call when I remembered the camera in the cell phone deal (therefor the poor quality shot, but a nice one anyhow), and I eyeballed this guy just as he was eyeballing the crumb (Cinnamon Raisin Bagel crumb, mind you).

Despite their flightiness, and their tiny appetites, they were the best lunchtime company I have had in a while. I was more than happy to share my lunch with them, and what are a few crumbs in the grand scheme of things? Not a lot to me, but maybe the world to a sparrow.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Was Going To Ask 'What Are We Coming To'...

...but it appears I should Ask 'What Have We Become'! I took my usual look at the news on this morning, and I was pretty appalled by what I read there. It wasn't just one story that made me cringe and wonder what we have become, but story after story after story told of how twisted humankind has become especially with regard to how people treat one another.

Here are some snippets from the articles that pretty much just made me wince with disgust:

U.N.: Burma Cyclone Victims Not Getting Enough International Aid - "Rainwater was the only source of clean drinking water for some of Burma's cyclone victims Tuesday as the U.N. said only a tiny portion of international aid was reaching the region. The country's military regime, which has renamed the country Myanmar, has been accused of hoarding high-quality foreign aid for itself while people make do with rotten food." ( source:,2933,355250,00.html).

How wonderful, an already repressive regime now taking the aid meant for its cyclone smashed people and using it to fatten themselves while their countrymen suffer. This is apparently a common enough occurrence throughout the world that maybe it does not shock - but as far as I go I am still disgusted by it.

Then we have this gem: Michigan Teen Gets Life Sentence for 'Thrill Kill' Beheading - "A teenager convicted of killing a man, then beheading him and setting fire to his body in what prosecutors called a thrill killing was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole." (source:,2933,355176,00.html). Again probably what is a fairly common type of crime. The point is that it has become common, and we have allowed it to become so.

Here is yet another: Cleveland Man Pummeled to Death by 15, Urinated On and Stripped in the Street - "Even by tough, urban crime standards it was a grisly attack: Up to 15 people chased a man, then kicked and beat him to death on the street. Before police arrived, one attacker urinated on the victim's head." (source:,2933,355235,00.html)

This one reportedly a gang crime, and also a common thing in our world.

Probably the most disgusting of the stories, if true,that I read today, was this one: Man and Woman Indicted for Training Woman's Child to Be Dominatrix, Selling Her for Other Sex Acts - "Federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed an indictment against a man and woman accused of training the woman's child to be a dominatrix, selling her services and photographing some of the acts. (source:,2933,355257,00.html)

U.S. Attorney John Wood said the case is the first in which a parent of the victim has been charged with the commercial sex trafficking of his or her own minor child."

Do you think for a moment this is the first time a parent has done this? Despite what U.S. Attorney John Wood says about it being the first time someone has been so charged, it surely is not the first report we have read in which a parent has been reported to have been training their child to perform sex acts on other adults. It is not an all that uncommon thing in the Bizarro World in which we live nowadays.

It is not just the criminal, or the obvious psycho, who are committing acts that should not be allowed; but it is the everyday person who has allowed themselves to slip into a murky place within which their good judgement and any sense of decency is replaced with a desire or need to act out as powerful through some repugnant manner toward other people. For example, here possibly is one such case (I say possibly because it is alleged): Report: Man Says He Was Forced to Sit in JetBlue Flight Bathroom for 3 Hours - "...a flight attendant volunteered to sit in a “jump seat” so Mutlu could make it onto the flight headed from San Diego to New York, according to the New York Post.

About 90 minutes into the flight, however, Mutlu says he got a rude awakening when the pilot informed him that the flight attendant was uncomfortable in the jump seat and would be taking the regular seat back, the paper reported." (source:,2933,355237,00.html)

So guess where they allegedly made the passenger sit - on the toilet. If that is true, you just have to ask yourself what in Hades is going on here! What are we becoming. It is not the deranged mind of the thrill killer, not the perverse machinations of the mother who would train and then sell her daughter for weird sex, not the will of a dictatorship, not a gang mentality at its worst, but rather the mindset of people who are there to serve us the paying customer - in this case airline employees. If this story is true as told, then can you imagine the screwed up thought process that led these pompous pieces of shit people to do what they did to this poor man by making him travel in what amounts to turdthird class aboard an airline that does not have third class seating. It is an outrage, and is the type of outrage that is often overlooked by the rest of us because it has not happened to us.

That is the real pity of all of these events, not that we overlook the really bad ones, the heinous criminal ones, because we have not yet been a victim; but rather that we tend to overlook the lessor one that took place on the plane. It is because we allow ourselves to overlook degrading acts like this when perpetrated on others, that we also become too callous to things that are worse. We do not see these lessor evils that are rampant in society as a sure gin that the gateway for much worse evils has been opened, and those evils will prey upon us if they but only have the chance.

So how do we deal with it all. Well first of all we need to get ourselves in order. We need to complain about every case of abuse that a person like the airline passenger goes through of which we are aware. Why, well because doing so will accomplish a few things. First of all it will make the public service companies out there realize that we the public want to be served not abused. It will make them realize that when they abuse one of us, they stand to hear complaints from hundreds if not thousands of us; and when they realize that they will be so scared of losing business that they will change their tunes -you can bet on it. But the effort has to be there on the part of Joe Everyman, otherwise we are doomed to more of the abuse. Once we get that started in the right direction, we also need to remain courteous to one another. Yes I mean you to me, me to you, even if we are total strangers. This is the way it used to be to a great extent, and things were much better then. Besides just courtesy we also need to be responsible for one another. No not like in a socialist or communist community, but rather in a community made up of good citizens who give a damn what happens to other good citizens. There are several ways to do that. When we see someone being harassed or mugged, or harmed - we need to shout out "hey stop that" right after we have called 911 to report it to the police. We need to consider fighting to save the little old lady who is getting mugged, the young woman being raped, the bum being beaten by a band of young thugs. Why, well because it could be us on the bad end. Wouldn't you like someone to help. I would.

In that regard we need to arm ourselves legally. With what, well with firearms if legal, or pepper spray if legal, or an expanding baton if legal, or with a TASER if legal, or with a stun gun if legal, or with whatever we can to help defend ourselves and our neighbors. If you ever see something like one of these crimes taking place, urge others to help - don't try to be alone hero and get yourself killed because you were foolish; but don't depend on the police getting there in time either. Most times it takes them minutes, and the evil deed is done well before they get there.

What else can you do? Write to politicians and law makers. Get your state and locality to allow concealed weapons carry. Push for your state enact castle doctrine. Join a neighborhood watch. Push for legislation to clean up the streets of lowlife bums who commit low level crimes. Then the police will only have to worry about the real bad guys once those others are off the streets. Push for immigration reform to punish illegal aliens and remove them from the USA. Push for a border fence for the length of the border. Voe for politicians who are for legal immigration without giving amnesty to make illegals legal. You get the idea by now I am sure - it is me, and you, and your spouse, and your neighbor, and your bartender, and your barber, and your tailor, and the grocery store manager, and the deli clerk, and the car salesman, and the mayor, and the teachers at your kid's school, and the scout leaders, and your minister, preacher, priest, rabbi or imam, and your dog catcher, and your garbage man, and your police officers, and flight attendants, and on and on and on who all have to do this on an individual level. Once we all start doing it - writing to politicians, calling them, calling 911, helping people in need, fighting for our rights - guess what - we will have started the uphill climb to victory in taking back America for moral, law abiding, good hearted people who give a darn about one another. Wouldn't your neighborhood, and mine, and the next guy's all be nicer places in which to work, and live, and even just pass through - you bet they would be.

All the best,

A Brand New Craftsman Lawn Mower,...

...that I picked up at Sears last night, meant a newly mown (or is it mowed?) lawn today. An old edge trimmer that did not work when I plugged it in, and then got a quick repair (took apart the handle and reconnected a loose wire, even I never knew I was so handy) meant that the front and back postage stamp sized lawns are now trim albeit still pretty poor excuses for lawns. Then a quick blow round the house with the leaf blower, followed by a quick sweep up of a pile of debris here and there, and the old homestead looks presentable. Now for some refinishing of the front door, a job started about a week or so ago but had to discontinue because of the weather, and it will really look a lot better round here. After that maybe some filling in of holes in the garden, our newest dog Mimi is a digger, then maybe a few dabs of hot sauce here and there where she usually digs and I am hopeful that problem will be gone. Once I'm all done with my chores, I'll be enjoying the best shower I have taken in awhile. I cannot wait to feel the cascading streams of hot water running over head, then flowing over my body till it trickles down between my toes as I take the first hot shower in our house since the new water heater was installed earlier today. Yes the new A.O. Smith hot water heater, a jumbo one at that holding 50 gallons (our last only held 30 gallons) is in place and all fired up. Utopia right here at home (even though I'll be broke for the next month or three paying for it all), but still Utopia - can you imagine that!

I had better get going if I really want to be first into the shower; I've lots of work to do before then, and Brendan gets home from school and lacrosse practice within a few hours, so time is of the essence. Later for you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Cold Shower Tonight...

...seems to be in store for me. Our hot water heater went on the fritz, and with the price of oil what it is I have decided to replace it with a gas fired system; and I'll still have oil heat for our home heating system but only because I cannot afford to change both the hot water heater and the boiler. As it stands now, the lowest estimate I got for installation of a HWH with 50 gallon tank will be $1,275.00 (the highest estimate was $1750). That is better than the replacement cost for an oil fired one at $1,680.00, and I figure the cost of gas will be less than that of oil - but who knows what will be what in 6 months or a year. It is sort of a crap shoot, but some favorable things about gas are that: it burns cleaner, the unit itself will require almost zero maintenance (and the constant pain in the ass oil burners needed maintenance every couple to few months), one less oil appliance to leak oil from its filter (yes sometimes we have had leaks), gas is currently more efficient and less expensive than home heating oil, and I am told they last longer than oil fired heaters. I would have liked to have ordered a tankless unit, but the cost to purchase and install one of them was about $1,000 to $1,300 more depending on who gave the estimate. What with having to have a tree taken down in my backyard, and the best estimate for that being $1,500.00, and also my needing to buy a new lawn mower at about $220.00 because ours is shot, and you can see money will be tight around here - so the extra cost for a tankless unit was not even a consideration. If only that darned rebate check would show up, I sure could use it - but of course I won't get as much REBATED to me as someone who made less money than me last year, and who paid less taxes than me - but I digress.

So I await my last estimate, promised to get here by 0830 tomorrow, then I make my pick of poisons plumbers for the HWH. Hopefully they will get the job started and finished tomorrow as most said they could do, including the man with the low estimate so far. Funny, all the estimates are for the installation of the same exact HWH by brand and model. Go figure. As for tonight, no more lallygagging around, I am off to Sears to pick up a Craftsman Lawn Mower - one of their least expensive models. After that I would love to stop off an pick up a bottle of Vodka, but me thinks my pockets will be too empty for such an extravagance as that - though lord knows I could use a good belt after my day with the plumbers today. Of course they could surprise me at Sears and give me something like another $25 bucks off the price and things would then look better for that clear elixir for which I have a hankering.

All the best,
Glenn B