Saturday, June 28, 2008

John McCain For Prez - My Contributions Begin

The graduation party for my son is over, the guest have left, and I just sat down at the computer a short while ago. I checked my email and there was one from GOPUSA Friends. It was soliciting funds for John McCain and offered a chance to enter a ride on the bus with McCain contest or something like that. I figured it was as good a time as any to start contributing; and who knows maybe I will get lucky and win a ride on the campaign bus with our next president John McCain. So I made a donation. (Please note I cannot and will not even suggest you make one, as a federal LEO I am forbidden by the Hatch Act to do so, although I can tell you my opinion and what I have done.)

What I donated was not much, in fact it was a pitiable amount at best, it was only $10. Yet, I plan to donate again, maybe after some of the bills are paid for this coming month, and I hope to at least quintuple what I just donated the next time. As time goes on, up until the election, I will donate as much as I think I can spare, and I then I will donate more. I am hopeful I can donate at least a few hundred dollars, maybe even $500 or more. That would be the largest donation to a single political candidate in one election that I have ever made as far as I can remember. Giving someone else that much money will not be easy. We live pretty much on a paycheck to paycheck basis. We are not poor, far from it, but that means we have bills and I like to pay them promptly on time. Lately we have been hit with a number of unexpected house repair/maintenance type expenses. It has gotten difficult to make ends meet, and we have had to hit up our meager savings account to pay the bills. We reduced the saving account drastically at that. So as I said, it will not be easy to dole out that much money for John McCain.

You may be wondering then why I would still want to contribute as much as I am planning to give to John McCain in his run for the oval office. The reasoning is straight forward and simple. I cannot stand the prospect of winding up with Barack Hussein Obama as our next president. My opinion of Obama is that he is little more than a scalawag, poor liar, scoundrel, and charlatan at best. My guess would be that is Obama is elected to the presidency our country will fall into the dregs, lower than it has ever fallen before. Any hope of a better America will have been lost.

Imagining McCain as president, I see things in a better light. I see America left with some integrity. I see a man who has been and will continue to be a leader bringing us into a new era of strength on the international scene. I see someone who will not simply act as president, but who will lead us as our president under our Constitution instead of one as Obama whom I believe would lead us to communism and socialism. With John, I see a chance, at least a chance of our economy becoming stronger within his first 4 years term. I do not fool myself into thinking it will be easy with McCain in office, since he has been too ready to concede things to the left; but surely McCain has integrity above and beyond anything seen in Obama. McCain also believes in many of the core values upon which this country was founded, while all Obama can call for is change - yet he cannot even tell you what the changes will be.

So while I cannot campaign for McCain, while I cannot urge you to vote for him without, as a federal LEO, violating the Hatch Act - I can tell you my opinion of the candidates, I can contribute to a candidate, and I can tell you to whom I have contributed and why. I am contributing to John McCain, and I will vote for John McCain, because right now he is the only possible hope to defeat what seemingly amount to communism and socialism on the part of Obama, and John is therefore the only hope we have of remaining We The People of the United States of America; and he is the only hope we have of keeping our rights as we have known them.

All the best,
Glenn B

Brendan's High School Graduation

Spent the late morning at Brendan's high school graduation, and am now awaiting some guests for a family celebration. While waiting I downloaded the pics I took. I won't bore you with all of them, I'll just show you one short video.

video

As some guy once said in a Jerry Lewis movie: "That's My Boy!" even if he is a young man and a HS graduate ready for college now. He sure made me proud, just like Celina did when she graduated high school and then college. What a great feeling it is, for any parent to experience, to see their kids do so well.

All the best,

Glenn B

Friday, June 27, 2008

Can You Guess The Source Of The Below Quotation?

Read the following, and tell me source of it.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.”

If you do not know the source of the above quotation, well you just might be amazed to find out that it comes from the New York Civil Rights Law, Section 4, Article 2. I wonder does it look or sound familiar to you? Yes of course it does! Here it is with a single word changed:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Yep that is the second Amendment to the United States Constitution found in the Bill of Rights. The NY Law looks awfully similar to it, does it not? Yet New York is one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to firearms possession. I can only hope the NRA will ram it up their snouts in Albany until they realize that the people have the right to keep and bear arms even here in New York.

Reference:

http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/NYSL.pdf

http://law.onecle.com/new-york/civil-rights/CVR04_4.html

All the best,
Glenn B

Firearms Ignorance Personified - Carolyn McCarthy Congressional Representative For My District

Below is a video I found at the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association website. The video is dated, it sounds as if it was made back near February 2007. Over a year old or not, it is worth the watch if you have not seen it before. In essence the video shows a reporter from MSNBC as he interviews the Congresswoman about a gun ban she introduced which would ban firearms with barrel shrouds. He logically asks her what is a barrel shroud and why should a firearm with one be banned. Listen to McCarthy's laughable attempt at sidestepping the question. Besides being laughable, this video plainly shows something important about the anti-gun crowd, but later for that - watch the video first.



So what did it show that was important to learn about the anti-gun crowd. It showed their ignorance. This Congresswoman, the politician who won her first election I suspect based upon sympathy, this ignorant crusader who would ban assault weapons, this horse's ass anti-gun person who would leave us defenseless, does not even know what is one of the features which she finds evil or bad enough to take advantage of in order to ban a weapon that has that feature. She is just absolutely ignorant of what is a barrel shroud, yet it is apparent from the interviewer's questioning that weapons with barrel shrouds were to be included in the gun ban this woman was sponsoring.

Had she even had enough sense to have paused for a moment, then actually used her gray cells to have thought about the two words and their individual meanings - barrel and shroud - my guess is she may have been able to give a good answer as to what was a barrel shroud. As it turned out, she was just too much a ranting anti-gun advocate to give an honest answer right away. She just kept trying to push the party line that guns are in essence bad, and she did so by trying to evade the question and mouth off balderdash instead of an honest answer. Yet the reporter was dogged in his pursuit of an honest answer and pretty much forced her to answer the question truthfully. When she finally did so she had to admit she had no idea about that particular firearms accessory for which she had proposed anti-gun legislation.

How assholes candidates like her get elected and then reelected is beyond me.
This video should be shown again and again to people who are on the fence about gun control. If they saw the ignorance of anti-gun politicians such as is displayed in this video, it might just persuade them to come down off the fence on our side of it. If you know someone who is a fence sitter when it comes to guns rights versus gun control, why not show that person this video, or at least email them a link to it.

Safe shooting,
Glenn B

Allow Me To Gloat...

...and to say (and pardon me if you are sensitive):

Hey Bloomberg, hey Lautenberg, hey Schumer, hey Daley, hey Brady, hey McCarthy, hey Obama, hey all you other anti-Constitutional, anti-Gun Rights nut jobs - we won - you lost; our right to keep and bear arms was affirmed. Now do the right thing and live by the law, or get your asses out of government.

With Pride In America,
Glenn B

The MUST ISSUE Clause

Last night, I read some Heller Decision, and the thing that popped out at me, and that really sank in, was that Justice Scalia said this:

"Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home."

I had been concerned, in fact worried, about the Supreme Court saying the right to keep and bear arms was subject to licensing regulations. Now I am not all that worried. Sure states, and localities, apparently can and will require licensing. Many like my home state likely will continue to try to make the licensing process difficult; but I am thrilled that it now seems the states will by law have to fall under the 'must issue' provision of the court's decision. Those two words, MUST ISSUE, are big indeed. They are not the words: 'May Issue' which imply it is up to the licensing venue to decide if they will issue or not. They are not the words 'Shall Issue' which imply it is a thing of the future. No they are not either set of words that were used by so many states before the decision. The court has made it plain and simple - there is no way around it - it is now Constitutional law - now a right of each person (and always has been) - that if a license is required by a government, and if the person is not disqualified from exercising his or her Second Amendment rights - the government MUST ISSUE the license. Of course the states will argue that the decision only applies to the District of Columbia; but that will be fought against and defeated, in the courts in short order if it goes that far.

Besides the fact that the Supreme Court decided the right to keep and bear arms is a right of each individual, in other words that they confirmed the term "...the people..." in the Second Amendment means each person as opposed to the government, the two words 'Must Issue' are the biggest news in the case. I believe that the section of the decision in which those words are seen will become known as the Must Issue Clause, or the Must Issue Decision. Those two words and the context in which they were used are a virtual powder keg that put power back into the hands of We The People.

My thanks to the Justices; but most of all my thanks to Mr. Heller for going through with this!

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Heller Decision

You already know what they are saying about it I suppose, but if not, well they are saying that an individual's right to keep and bear arms was upheld by the Supreme Court as a Constitutional right. If that is correct, that is great. Yet, I have my suspicions that the states will continue to enact and enforce restrictive anti-firearms regulations and laws as allowed or provided for by the decision and beyond - especially states like NJ, CA, NY, MA and so on. The Heller decision, of course, is a move in the right direction though, or so it would seem. When I get the chance I will read the decision, probably bedtime reading over the weekend - it is kind of long.

If you would be interested in reading the decision, as government was kind enough to supply a copy of it, go here:

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

All the best,
Glenn B

WTF - Are They Out Of Their Minds...

...are they really going into a white frothed at the mouth frenzy, and are they truly about to replace up to 10,000 license plates for free in North Carolina all because some teen kids told their granny that the letters WTF can stand for something obscene in text messages. My guess would be they told her it means WHAT THE F--K, or WANT TO F--K (and I suppose it could mean other things in today's Internet lingo of which I am unaware). It does not matter what they could stand for though, what matters is what grandma did, and therein lies the shame as I see it. Granny reportedly, in essence, takes exception to those three letters, notifies the motor vehicles department, and they go berserk take action to eliminate that letter combination from up to 10,000 license plates, all apparently at the expense of the tax payers in NC. Do you even for a moment doubt that such panic stricken overreaction will spread to other states, and that it will cover other innocent letter combinations.

Let's see now what else should they ban using their line of irrational reasoning, here are some you probably have heard and seen if your ears and eyes have not been covered:

HSB - HOLY SH-T BATMAN


SMD - SUCK MY D--K

SFS - SEX FOR SALE

BAD - BONDAGE AND DOMINATION

KMA - KISS MY A-- (heck the FBI in NY reportedly (source=personal communication) sells a hat with those letters on it, apparently meaning exactly what I just wrote to signify a fed is able to retire)

GFY - GO F--K YOURSELF

TAA - T--S AND A--

Here are some I just made up:

RCA - RACIST CRACKER A--HOLE

ASF - ABNORMAL SEX FOREVER

IHA - I HATE AMERICA (the worst of them all as far as I am concerned, but I would not ban those letters from license plates)

SWK - SEX WITH KIDS

NYH - NEW YORK HOOKER (use any state abbreviation before the H)

Do you get it yet? Anyone can use just about any 3 letters in combination to signify a three word phrase that is going to be offensive to someone else, someone else that is who wants to take exception to something innocent and turn it into something it was never intended to be. The fact of the matter is that the letters WTF followed, or preceded, by numbers on a license plate do not signify the words WHAT THE F--K, or WANT TO F--K, anymore than they signify the words WHOLESOME TASTY FOOD, or WE THE FAITHFUL. Sure if the letters WTF were all that appeared on the plate, one might make something of it, but why do so when it means nothing.

If grandma had, in my opinion, any sense of what was right from wrong, she would have told her grandchildren in essence what I just told you. The letters were not meant to be offensive, and mean nothing when randomly chosen for a license plate dear, so get over the mere coincidence that they can also symbolize something that others choose to make them mean.

Now because of what I believe to have been an oversensitive granny, and because of what in my opinion are overly politically-correct hacks in the the state of NC, the chances are that the taxpayer is going to have to pay for the apparent quirks in the thinking process of that grandma. Why she could not instead just have educated her grandchildren to the fact that yes sometimes there are odd yet meaningless coincidences in life is beyond me unless of course:

SIS - SHE IS STUPID

Of course I do not know if she is stupid or not, but I consider it as a possibility based upon the article I just read.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hmm, Maybe It Was Work - Maybe Not...

...but just two days of work and I am feeling under the weather so much so today that I had to call in sick. Nothing serious I hope, bit of intestinal discomfort, nausea, a lot of aches and pains and fatigue; all in all enough to make me not feel up to work though. I now suppose though that the bouts of nausea I felt on Monday and yesterday may have been the start of some sort of a bug because it is bad enough today to make me just want to crawl back into bed; and I further suppose it was not just the thought of returning to work that made me feel that way on Monday. Oh joy.

More blogging later if I feel up to it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just About To Walk Out The Door To Go To Work...

...but I had to sit down to write this little bit about what I think of returning to work after my vacation:

Ugh, barf, choke, cough, wheeze, barf again, ugh...

Nuff said about returning to work after vacation.

All the best,
GB

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Road Trip 2008 - An Epilogue

Before we set off on our road trip on Father's day 2008, Brendan gave me a nice Father's Day card and a few gifts. The gifts were all fishing lures. As it turned out we caught a few fish with the new lures, and lost at least one of them on a snag. Those fishing lures along with that road trip were one great father's day gift.

When we got home from the trip, I noticed that there was a receipt on our dining room table for a barbecue grill. I looked outside and saw the old one missing with nothing in its place. I got a bit upset that my wife had gone out to buy a fairly expensive grill without letting me know, and when we did not have the money for it; heck even the road trip was an extravagant cost right then what with our recent unexpected expenses to replace a water heater, have an oak tree cut down, and so forth.

The next day, I awoke at about 0815 when the phone rang. It was a deliveryman from Home Depot calling to tell me he would be there within 15 minutes. When he showed up, he rolled a really nice new, and fully assembled, Charmglow barbecue grill off of the truck and around to the spot at the side of my house where we had kept the old one. It was really nice, and I am sure you can tell from the picture I have posted here. Still though I was not too happy about it. When I went back inside, I noticed a an envelope attached to the receipt for the grill. I opened it and found a funny and nice Father's Day card from my daughter and her boyfriend. There was a small note in it from her that said: "Enjoy the grill". I was dumbstruck, and I guess pretty ashamed of myself for having assumed my wife had bought something for us we could ill afford. She has had a habit of buying things when I travel, and I guess I figured this had been another case of that. As you can see - it was something totally different. Then I remembered Celina, my daughter had visited us the day before father's day. When she found out I would not be home, but on the trip with Brendan, she wished me a Happy Father's Day and said my gift would be there for me later. I never imagined for a moment that she and her boyfriend had bought it for me until I read the card.

Our first barbecue with it was yesterday. Of course Celina, Kevin (her beau) were there, as was Brendan and Julia, one of Julia's sisters, and Linda and myself. Everything cooked on that grill tasted better than anything we had before. I don't know if it was the food, the grill or the fact that Kevin grilled it all. I do know it was great.

What a lucky dad am I to have 2 such thoughtful and wonderful children (young adults now) as I do.

All the best,
Glenn B

Road Trip 2008 - The Last Day

Wednesday, the 4th day of the road trip, dawned bright and crisp. Truth be told I am only guessing since I was not up at dawn, but close enough to it to be able to give it a good guess. Another day, another decision as how to spend it confronted us. It was a no brainer, we were going to go canoeing again. This time though, since it was further up the road toward home by ten miles than the other place, we chose Front Royal Canoe Company. Once again we were greeted by nice folks, this time those who worked at this particular outfitter. There was a bit of a difference from the experience at Down River Canoe Company though in that this time the outfitter's workers told us more about river conditions, asked us more about our own experience in a canoe, and gave us a brief overview of how to avoid problems; basically it was a more in depth outline of what to expect on the river. Another thing that was different was the price. Since it was Wednesday they gave us the midweek rate, or in other words they gave us a discount of 25% off of the regular cost.

For the trip, we chose one of 7 miles in length. We had plenty of time to complete it, we started earlier than the first canoe outing, and only had to be back by 6:00 though we chose 5:30. We had to pick a time this time around because we would not end up at the outfitter's base, and they would meet us at the haul out site. A young lad drove us, and another canoeist to the drop off area, and we again shoved off pretty quickly once all of our gear was secured in the canoe. We decided a nice leisurely day of fishing, with enough paddling to get us down river on time would be the way to spend the day; and of course since the sun was shining, we would be on the lookout for turtles too. One thing I did differently on that day was to hold off on putting on my sunscreen, I figured why not get a bit of sun for some color, then put it on. Decisions, decisions - sometimes the right one, sometimes the wrong one.

Well, as on the first canoe outing, and as at Skidmore Lake - Mr. Serious about fishing caught the first fish, and he caught the most fish, and he caught the most variety of species. For some reason though all I took were pictures of him with sunfish. I don't know why I did not take one of him with a bass, he sure caught enough of them (though not many) for me to have thought of framing one. As you can see, the penultimate fisherman (between the two of us anyhow) had that serious look on his face again, it could not be disguised by those Wally World special that passed for polarized sunglasses. I got myself a pair too, with amber lenses, but no you will not see me in them!

As we paddled along, we hit some rapids now and again, or maybe they were just ripples, and for the most part the river was deeper in this section. We did manage to get stuck at least once, again requiring climbing half way out of the canoe to push off, and I have to admit I realized I would have hated to have fallen in because those rocks were not only hard, they had lots of jagged edges where they had been eroded away unevenly by the currents over the eons. It turned out alright though, and we were off safely.

As we paddled on, we saw log after log, and rock after rock, basically covered with turtles. I am guessing that we tried to catch turtles at at least 75% of the places where we saw them, but those aquatic tanks can be fast. Even though we had a net to try to catch them, we had no luck which I suppose was lucky for the turtles. Our net, bought at Dick's Sporting Goods (the original store in Binghamton, NY) was a trout net - one with a long pole shoved into its hollow handle to extend Brendan's reach. It was great for scooping up fish, or for trying to catch turtles and frogs. One of its good points was that the net's edge did not overlap the aluminum rim, but was enclosed inside the rim offering it protection from rocks and such. It was not expensive or anything, but very practical for our purposes. I liked that net a lot, so much so that I had bought another just like it, and we also had that one aboard with us. I was happy to have bought the spare because Dick's apparently no longer carries them. As for the one with the pole stuck in the handle - it was our turtle and frog catching net. By the way, if you click on the pic, it should enlarge, but before you do - can you see how many turtles are on the log (answer below, if I don't forget).

Sometime not too long after the above shot we were faster than one of the turtles we saw, and Brendan was able to catch one. It was a small turtle covered in algae so it was a bit hard to identify without seeing its carapace (upper shell). I think it was a Painted Turtle, but am not all that sure. Still though the thrill of the hunt culminated in a catch after all, and that net made good. I guess it only made good though because this guy seemed to be sound asleep until we were really close, close enough for Brendan to position the net underneath the branch on which the turtle had hauled out to sun it self. That way, when the turtle was finally startled enough to take a plunge for safety, it landed right inside the net. Sadly though, it was the final catch with our net. I guess maybe I should apologize for torturing your eyes with that pic of me holding the turtle, I suppose I should have cropped it to include only the turtle in my hand, but oh well you're tough and can take it - can't you!

Remember I said I was happy I had bought a spare net at Dick's because they no longer carry them. Well, I was even happier I had the spare a short while later on this trip when I asked Brendan - "Hey, where is the net?" You guessed right, it was not to be found. Last I recall it was draped across Brendan's legs as we paddled, but I am not saying that he lost it. That is just where I can picture it in my mind's eye. We both had no idea of how or when it went overboard, but surely that is what happened to it because we searched the canoe at least two times, maybe three times in utter disbelief at our loss. Hopefully someone else, maybe a youngster in search of turtles or frogs will find it down river. The last I suppose I will ever see of that net is in the picture above as we honed in on numerous turtles on a deadfall. You can just make it out in the lower left corner of the pic.

At some point, just a little later on, we saw a nice little island, and we decided to beach the canoe and have lunch. I guess it had been just minutes after we had realized we had lost the net. I wasn't mad, which is surprising for me, but I did mention to Brendan I was sure disappointed that the net had been lost. There were a lot of fond memories with that net (and its predecessors- at least one, but I think two, of the same nets that had gotten holes torn in them and were then replaced with the now lost one). As we ate lunch on the island, I also mentioned how happy I was that we had the spare net, and that it still had the manufacturer's sticker on the handle giving the name of the company that made it. I did not bother looking at the label all that closely, no point since I could not contact them from the island; but I had wanted to make a call to them or shoot them an email once i got home. That way I could check to see if they still made them, and then order a couple of them for future use. Brendan agreed that was a good thing we had the spare. Despite the lost net, all was well. We fished some from the shore, and Brendan also tried to catch some bait. He wound up successful too. You may remember my earlier blog about wanting to see some Hellbenders while on this trip. While we had no luck with them, Brendan did catch a completely other typre of critter, with a somewhat similar name, a Hellgramite. A Hellgramite is the aquatic and larval stage of the Dobson Fly. While I have seen plenty of Hellgramites before, I do not recall ever seeing a Dobson fly - and man they are ugly and have large mandibles. The larval stage is none too pretty either, and while their mandibles look big, they are no match for those of the adult Dobson Fly. If I recall right, Brendan scooped this guy out of the river with the remaining net. He does not like insects and bugs, and is none to fond of touching any of them except maybe a worm to bait his hook; so I took it out and held it in place while he snapped a picture of it. Pretty isn't it! Well while you may not think so, the Spotted Bass who chomped down on it on my second cast with it surely must have thought it an appealing and appetizing morsel. We had only one other keeper sized bass from the river, that one from day one had already been filleted by me, and we now had another for the frying pan. All the others, except the one we ate at Skidmore Lake, were just too small to bother keeping - though now that I think of it - one or two of them 3 to 4 inch ones would have gone nicely in the tank with my Musk Turtle at home.

After fishing a bit more and only catching some smallfry bass (Brendan caught most of them, but he did take a pic of one I caught) we shoved off and headed down river. We soon paddled past another set of small rapids, and soon again saw more turtles. We decided to try to see if we couldn't get close enough to scoop up another one; and I am guessing it was about then that I asked Brendan: "Hey, where is the net?". Now if you are thinking that I am repeating myself, well you would be right; but I am only repeating myself because as you may have just guessed, the spare net was nowhere to be found in the canoe. The last place we both remembered seeing that one was on the little island where I had made the comment about being so happy to have the spare with the manufacturer's label still on it so we could cal them to see if they still made them. I guess my hopes of ever seeing another of these nets was pretty much bashed right then and there. Again, I did not get angry, but I sure was saddened by its loss. Brendan seemed devastated. I think he felt responsible for leaving the net on the island. (After returning home, he told his girlfriend that he felt bad because he had forgotten it there, and because I had mentioned how great it was to have the spare, and to have the maker's label still on it. I will try my best to replace it, and if I do, I'll give the new one to him as a present.) Oh well, life goes on and I suppose we will find a suitable replacement, but I have to admit, I'll miss that particular type of net - we have that particular type of net going on something like 15 years or more now; lots of fish, frogs, and a few turtles were scooped up with them over those years - lots of good memories were enmeshed in them.

It turned out that after that Brendan did not fish much. I did not realize why at first that he insisted on paddling as i fished; but it became apparent he was down because we lost the net. I assured him it was a shame, but it was okay in the long run, after all it was just a net. I even mentioned I hoped that maybe someone else would find it, and see us to return it before we got off the river. No luck there though. So we continued paddling, and fishing, until finally we arrived at the haul out site at about 5:00. We were about a half hour early, so we got all our gear out of the canoe, and then I tried to catch some minnows in one of our minnow traps. I figured we could do a bit more fishing from shore. No luck in that either, and soon the outfitter showed up to haul us, our gear, and the canoe back to the base.

We had planned on staying another day, but Brendan said he has wanted to make this the last day. So, once we were back at the car, that was it. We packed everything inside the Corolla, and we were off headed north. I guess I can say it is nice to have someone with which to share the driving, especially someone I like as much as Brendan, and whom I trust to drive as much as him. He is only 18 but so far has proven himself to be a safe driver. As a matter of fact, he drove all the way home that night. We departed the canoe company at about 6:00 or 6:15, then made a quick stop in a large roadside pawn shop I had noticed on our way in, and now again on our way out. We didn't buy anything, but they sure had an interesting collection of firearms, swords and knives. On the way home we stopped only one or two other times. I think maybe only once to gas up in New Jersey, where the prices are at least .30 a gallon less expensive than in NY. We wound up getting home at just about midnight. Not bad time at all, better than our time going down, mostly because of stopping less. One unique thing about the ride home was that we had a passenger. Remember that Spotted bass I had caught. Well it was in our live bait bucket for the entire ride home. I had a battery operated aerator pump hoked up to it, so it made the trip not too much the worse for the wear. We planned on eating it along with the fillets fro Brendan's keeper, and there is no fish better than truly fresh fish. I forgot to put Brendan's fillets into the fridge when we got home, so they wound up getting tossed the next day what with all the ice in the cooler having melted. I did not want to take a chance on it having gone bad. So what happened to the Spotted bass, well he is now residing in our fish tank with our Musk Turtle. I am hoping someone I know with a pond will want him, otherwise it is the frying pan for which he is destined. Not much of a meal in one small Spotted bass, but it will make a delicious appetizer, that is of course, only if the guy with the pond does not want him.

All in all we had a great time; and I think Brendan would agree with me on that one. I am hopeful that we will keep up this tradition of an annual road trip for many, many years to come; and I mentioned that to Brendan while on the drive home. His answer amused me, assured me, and comforted me when he said that when I am in my 90s, he will have to lift me up to put me into the canoe!

All the best,
Glenn B

PS: Lest I forget, there were 8 turtles that we counted in that pic. Do you see them all?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is It Hypocrisy...

...or is it just me being confused. Well for starters I am not feeling confused at all, and as a matter of fact I am feeling pretty sure of myself when I think that Barack Obama is one of the biggest all time frauds and hypocrites to have run for the office of the presidency of the United States of America. His latest piece of work, or at least the latest piece of work of his campaign team shows, I think, just what a hypocrite is he as he can now be seen standing at a podium behind the Barack Obama seal - a rip off of the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States of America, and of the Seal of the President of the United States of America. I have to wonder does this scoundrel candidate know absolutely no way to stand for that in which he believes or at least that which he espouses he believes? What I mean is that he claims to be the candidate for change. I suppose that means whatever change any of his followers would like to believe we need here in America - yet what does he do but use an obvious rip off of the Great Seal and Presidential Seal to promote himself and his website.

I see no change coming with this guy, not at least from other ultra liberals who have come before him. He is about as Washington Insider as one could possibly become in the short time he has been in DC, and that folks just goes to show that he will be one of the same to fall out of the ultra donkey liberal mold among the likes of Feinstein, Boxer, Schumer, Clinton, Carter and others. I see only disrespect for this country, and the things for which it stands, coming out of him, his wife and his preacher. That disrespect for the USA seems ingrained into his very essence, and now another apparent example of said disrespect is, in my opinion, seen in his mockery of two great symbols of our freedom and of all for which our nation stands.

In light of the seeming hypocrisy, and disrespect, I also have to wonder if this man has any modesty or ability to be shamed at all. First he was evidently proud of himself for not wearing the American Flag lapel pin worn by other candidates, then he defended himself for not saluting the American Flag during recitation of the National Anthem, now he stands defiantly behind this obviously less than original seal, a rip off of two of the greatest symbols of the USA. He seems to be boundless in his lack of character, and his ability to remain shameless when in apparently fact guilty of things for which anyone else would, at the very least, be ashamed of himself for having perpetrated. In my opinion the man is a cad, and is not worthy of running for the presidency - let alone winning it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, June 20, 2008

Road Trip 2008 - Shenandoah River and Beyond

How does the song go: "Oh Shenando I long to see you...." With its forested and farmland shores, small islands dotted throughout her waters, small rapids, abundance of wildlife, decent fishing - I mean who that loves the outdoors would not love this river. So once again, for the third time over the past several years, Brendan and I have been smitten by the beauty of this famed Virginia river, at least the south fork of it.

We left home on Sunday June 15at about 0730 - pretty darned early to get the younger version up, at em, and on the road with all our gear - but somehow I managed it. I am not saying I like to be up before the birds or anything like that, but just that while I would have liked to have left earlier by an hour or so, it wasn't bad timing at all. We had sort of planned on driving to Harrisburg, PA the first day and then spend some time at Hershey Park. I figured the drive there would be a breeze at about 199 miles, and 3 hours 40 minutes driving time per MapQuest. While I was driving I was, as usual, also talking. Brendan usually tunes me out after a while but sometimes he catches what I am blabbering on about. So somewhere along the way, while we were I was talking about our past canoeing road trips to the Shenandoah River, Brendan asked: "That's Virginia?". I said it was, and was surprised to hear that Harrisburg was out, and a direct drive all the way to VA, all 361 miles of it was in. Being a bit leery of just how long Brendan would want to be in the car I decided not to cancel our reservations at Motel 6 near Harrisburg until we were well passed it. While in PA, and long before we reached Harrisburg, we made a stop of about an hour and a half at a Pizza Hut, and then Cabelas near Hamburg. We picked up some lures, and I got a fishing pole to replace one that had broken on me some time ago. While there we took the time to get a good look at all the fish they have in the huge aquariums they have - all native species of freshwater game fish. Impressive, to say the least. We had both seen it before, but Brendan and I got a real kick out of it this time around too.

We then drove on without stopping until we hit the Welcome Center in West Virginia, on Interstate 81. We took a short break, and Brendan snapped a quick pic of me. We took a look at the map in the welcome center - I had forgotten to did out our road atlas, just to make sure I remembered how to get there. Then we grabbed a bunch of WV pamphlets just in case we decided to change plans and spend more time in WV. Then off again, this time with Brendan at the wheel. It's nice to be able to share the driving with my son, almost like the luxury of having a chauffeur and best buddy all in one. Along the way we made a stop for gas somewhere, and one other stop at the Virginia Welcome Center on Interstate 81. Lie in WV we stocked up on pamphlets and info guides about the state. When we drove on I had to start thinking about finding another motel at least for our first night's stay in VA. We had a reservation at the Best Western in Winchester, VA for Monday and Tuesday, but we decided to get closer to where we would likely be canoeing and we eventually decided on a Days Inn in Luray, VA. It wound up being a good choice, close to the canoe outfitters, close to other attractions, clean rooms, wi-fi, free continental breakfast, and nice folks running it. We cancelled the other reservation and stayed at the Days Inn for 3 nights. All in all it took us just about 7 1/2 hours of driving to get there, all three stops included, not bad at all.

Once we checked in at the motel, the rest of our day was spent shopping for fishing gear, and for supplies. I wanted to stock up on enough food for 3 to 4 days worth of lunches since we would likely be either canoeing, fishing, or hiking at any given lunchtime during the trip. So off to Walmart we went. We picked up a fishing supplies, our nonresident 5 day fishing licenses with added national forest permits, and lunch supplies and drinks for the next few days (not a beer or ale among those drinks though). As we drove around the area a bit, I realized just how much Luray, the tow in which our motel was located, has going for it as a road trip destination, or as a great place to live. There is, of course, the Shenandoah River with all the outdoor activities one can enjoy on a river like fishing, swimming, canoeing, rafting, tubing and so on. Then just about 10 miles away to the east is the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park for sightseeing, camping, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing and so on. Maybe a bit further to the west is the George Washington National Forest another great spot for hiking, camping, fishing, and also for hunting. The area is also loaded with caverns that are open to the public for a fee. We figured if the weather got miserable enough we would go and explore some of them, but as it turned out we never got the chance.

On Monday, day 2 of the trip, and our first full day in the Shenandoah Valley, we took off for Downriver Canoe Company in Benton. That was a drive of about 15 miles from the motel. We really didn't set off for that outfitter, but were headed to Front Royal Canoe about 10 miles further north. The thing that made us check out Downriver Canoe Company was that I was pretty sure it was down the same road as a canoe outfitter we had used on our 2 previous trips to the area. I could not remember the name of that one, but I wanted to use them again, and figured why not see if that was the right road. Well when we got to the river, there was Downriver Canoe Company on our right, and there was the building complex for the other canoe outfitter on our left just as I had remembered except for the fact that there were no canoes or signs of an outfitter at the place we previously had used. We stopped in at Downriver canoe Company and we were greeted by an pleasant gentleman with white hair but a youthful sparkle in his eyes. When I inquired about the other place, he told me that it had closed down after the owner, a heavily accented German lady whom I recall fondly, had retired in the last year or two. What a shame, we liked her and her outfit; and I talked to her each time about the old country - my wife having been born in Germany. Oh well, we figured what the heck we would give Downriver Canoe Company a try.

I am guessing we were in our canoe and on the river by about 11:00 AM. None to early, but they only open at 9 on weekdays; and it was more than early enough for sleeping beauty who really seemed to be comfortable in that Days Inn bed despite the alarm having gone off 15 minutes earlier with some truly irritating and loud preacher ranting about the wrath of God. As it was he finally woke up and we set off to enjoy the beauty of nature, which I guess you could see as God's greatest gift to us, too bad that radio preacher did not gear his sermon that way - then I might have listened for awhile.

I digress, so let me get back to the canoe, the river, and the good time we were about to have. We picked a trip of ten miles, and soon were in the transport van with two young ladies , one from Scotland the other from Ireland, who were traveling together, and with a man and woman I assumed to be hubby and wife obviously from the USA. The other two couples were dropped off first, then us. We opted to be dropped off above the rapids, or at least what there was of them since the water levels were on the low side. I guess VA had been spared the rain we had been getting in NY and surely were spared the rains that were pelting Iowa. We wasted no time once we were dropped off and we were in the river in about 10 minutes after having secured all our gear to the cross members in the canoe with bungee cords. We fished a while above the rapids, maybe a half hour or so; and Brendan caught a small mouth or spotted bass almost immediately. Nothing big, maybe a pound or pound and a half; but certainly the first fish of the trip. After a bit, and maybe a sunfish or two, and another but tiny bass, we headed downriver and through the rapids. They were fun but none too exhilarating since the water level was down. Still though it beat working, driving, and just sitting around. As I said it was fun.

Once over them we paddled a bit then started to fish again. We were constantly watching the skies as the weatherman, and the guy who helped us at the canoe rental, both promised severe weather. It was overcast, with lots of low dark clouds, but luckily each time we heard thunder booming, it was further downriver than were we and we stayed dry, at least early on. We had been told if we got in the thick of it to make for shore and wait it out. As it was we just fished and hoped we would not get rained on. A couple more tiny bass were brought in and some more fat sunfish. Brendan caught everything, I'd say about 8 or 9 fish - except that is for two bass about 3 or 4 inches long each. Oh joy, I caught them.

After stopping and fishing, then paddling, then stopping and fishing, then paddling, I started to wonder what time it was since I had forgotten my watch. We had time but it seemed later than it was to me. We continued on that way for awhile. Once or twice we got stuck right atop submerged rocks only and inch or two under the water in some of the other rapids we ran as we went along. Sadly when I get frustrated, I sometimes get not so nice and mouth off orders. None too fun for Brendan especially since I blamed getting stuck on him when it was as much my fault as his, maybe more mine for me being a lard butt who weighs too much. I apologized, shut my mouth and we pushed off, literally by both half climbing out of the canoe to give those rocks a shove. Then more fishing, and looking for turtles. Did I forget to mention that every now and then the sun came out. Once it was shining, it would not be more than 5 or 10 minutes and the turtles were climbing up on any downfall sticking up out of the water. We tried to catch some of them but they were just too alert and quick for us. You might be surprised at how quick they make a dive into the water when they think danger is approaching, it is no wonder that their cousin the tortoise was able to beat the hare.

We kept gliding along, fishing, looking at turtles, seeing cows cooling off in the shallows, watching birds, spotting some big fish swim under the canoe, and catching small ones. Then there was a sudden real darkening of the sky over us, and some loud boomers and lightning, and the water started to be whipped by the wind. In no time it was pouring, and we made for shore along with three other guys in two other canoes. We chatted with them a bit and they said they were catching fish all day long nonstop. When I asked what they were using, one guy said lures. What a helpful piece of info was that you cannot imagine. Heck we tried spinners, plugs both sinking and floating, artificial worms, other rubber like critter lures, live earthworms and meal worms; and we were not catching fish as they claimed they were doing. We must have been using the wrong lures, but no more information was forthcoming from the tight lipped fisherman with who we shared a bit of landing in the downpour. I had to wonder if they had caught anything. After about 10 or 15 minutes of getting soaked, we were off again. Luckily we had found out both the time and the distance to the canoe base, and realized we had enough time to get back if we paddled steadily with one or two stops for fishing. As it turned out, I guess the guy's watch was fast, or his guess at the distance was off, because we got back to the base at 4:30 PM, about an hour and a half before we had to be there. That was okay because in between we again got into the middle of a real bad one. We paddled ashore, this time just he two of us since the others had pulled way ahead since the last stop. I was kind of concerned because we had to have spent about 1/2 hour on the shore waiting for this one to pass. When it slowed down some, we were in the canoe and off toward the outfitter's base. We were both drenched, Brendan more so than I because he was wearing cotton shirt and shorts; and I was wearing a cotton shirt, and nylon swim suit with the addition of a poncho. Brendan was too manly for that, and he got drenched and stayed that way until we reached the outfitter's landing. Once there and not paddling he started to get cold fast and off came the wet shirt. The outfitter's helpers were there to meet us, or actually had come down to the landing to pick up the canoes of the other two parties who had arrived before us. Just lucky they were there to take ours just as we showed up. We put our gear together, and I gave Brendan the car keys and he went and got the car from across the river. We left and hit the hotel. I guess we were back at the hotel when I realized we were short a Camel Back day pack with a lot of our gar in it. Back down to the car, and nope it was not there; so into the car and off at speed to the canoe landing. Of course we got stuck behind a knucklehead who was driving erratically, slow then fast, then over the lines, then crawling, then fast - all when I was stressed out about losing my gear. When we got to the landing, there was my pack where I had left it. I guess the camo was pretty good since no one had driven by and spotted it. Lucky thing for me that it as still there.

After that we went into Luray to eat dinner. We stopped at Uncle Buck's restaurant. I had a burger. It was not cooked medium rare how I like it since they have to cook em medium or more in VA by state Law. Can you imagine the audacity of the politicians to tell you how you have to cook a burger - outrageous. Brendan had a bowl of vegetable soup and we also shared an appetizer called Texas Toast. It was toast smothered with crab meat and cheese, and toasted to perfection. I have to admit the bacon and cheese on my burger made up for it being cooked medium or medium well, and the food and service were outstanding. If you ever go to Luray, stop by this place. One side is a family style restaurant, the other is a bar. Not a bad set up. By the way, I had a couple of ales at this pit stop, one New castle that was on the flat side, and a Yeungling that was delicious. My first and only alcohol of the trip, but since Brendan could drive, a couple of pints were okay.

Later on we took a drive up toward Sky Line Drive in Shenandoah National Park. We headed up to it and turned around because the toll booth was shut down, and because it cost $15 bucks to enter if open. Now had it been the daytime that would have been okay, but I was not about to pay $15 for a short nighttime drive; and the sign said to pay upon exiting at whatever booth through which we would have exited. We were lucky though because along the way we saw a couple of deer feeding at roadside, and we saw a black bear sauntering along the road side a few miles later. The it was back to the motel to hit the sack.

The next day, Tuesday and day 3 of the trip, dawned sunny and much cooler. It was absolutely a perfect day. We decided not to hit the canoes again, I was still aching from the day before, and I think so too was Brendan at least a bit. My shoulders, back, knees and butt all were sore. So what to do. We decided to go fishing again, this time in a lake in the George Washington national Forest. It took us about an hour to find the road out of town to get across the river and to the lake. That was even after stopping at the COC to get directions and a local map. Even the locals had a hard time figuring out where that road started in town, and there were few access points to it out of town, and none within miles of it. Well we finally got onto the right road, and after a spell we were at Skidmore Forks. That turned out to be a stream, and we decided to stop there for lunch, and do some fishing. Lunch was delicious, fishing was not productive though we did see some small trout in the stream. We also saw a mess left by partiers or campers around a large fire ring. What a shame that people haul it in, then get drunk (as was obvious from the amount of beer cans) and then don't haul it out. If I had had a large garbage bag I would have cleaned it up.

After a short stopover, we were off again to look for Skidmore lake. I figured and hoped it would not be far from a stream called Skidmore Forks, and I was right. In a mile or two we hit the intersection of Switzer Lake Road. We figured that any lake was better than no lake, and if not Skidmore Lake, well Switzer Lake would do just fine so we decided to take it. Where did we wind up, well at Skidmore Lake of course! At least that is what the sign said near the lake. Why the road was named Switzer Lake Road and not named Skidmore Lake Road was beyond me, but I would guess there is a story in that somewhere. We fished there for a couple of hours. While hiking along the shore I lifted several flat rocks and spotted about 8 or 9 water snakes underneath them. I caught three of them to show Brendan. As I was headed back to where he was fishing (I figured some solo time would be god for both of us) he came walking toward me looking under some of the same rocks I had checked. I showed him the 3 snakes I had in my zippered vest pocket, and after a few minutes we released them. Brendan made on toward where I had been fishing, and as he did he looked for snakes too. He spotted one about three feet long, and very fat - probably gravid. he told me it had a stub tail. That was one of the same I had seen earlier on.

As for the fishing, we caught a bass or two, or I should say Brendan caught them, and he also caught a few sunnies. (Yes if you look closely in the pic, you can see a small sunfish at the end of his line.) After a couple of hours or so we moved to the other end of the lake to fish there. When we got there, a couple of other guys were jsut leaving, and we took their spot. We were the only ones there at that time, on the whole 118 acre lake. As we walked down to where they others had been fishing, brendan said that they had a fire, and had left it burining. Sure enough, there was a fire ring with hot ashes and embers in it. It was not more than 5 feet from the water, and those 2 other guys had been too lazy to fetch some water to assure it was out. Since it was also only about 25 feet from the woods, I think it would have been wise to have put it out. As it turned out, Brendan and I (mostly I) decided to gather some wood and start a new blaze. We fished, and enjoyed the campfire.

Again Brendan caught most of the fish, just a couple or few, but more than me with maybe one, if any at that area. When we tired of fishing, we sat around the fire and talked and Brendan and I each enjoyed half a sandwhich each, all we had left to eat, well besides a bass he had caught at the lake. I guess brendan was still hungry because he asked me to cook that up for him. I cooked it whole over the glowing embers. Pretty delicious if I say so myself, and Brendan agreed with me on that.

It was starting to turn to the hours of the long shadows as the sun got lower in the sky behind us; and and some other folks arrived to fish. A family of three, mom, dad and young sone - maybe 2 - shopwed up and fished for 20 minutes or so without luck. Then a couple of guys showed up and put a boat with a small motor in the water, and they were off to fish.I also spotted a canoe with fishermaen, and brendan spotted another small rowbaot with fishermen. Remarkable how the fishermen show up near dusk when the fish should be biting the best, but the fish did not cooperate. One other thing also started to show up when those shadows started to get long, and more of them came on as the sahdows lengthened. Dracula said: "Listen to them sing, the children of the night, what music they make." in reference to wolves howling outside at dusk. While these guys did not howl, they sure did have a buzzing, whining, drone, and also were children of the night, and bloodsuckers at that. Yes the mosquitoes had arrived, but luckily for us not in great numbers as on a pst trip we made to the Evergaldes a coupl,e of years back. Maybe it was the chill air, or maybe the smoke from the fire, but we only got a couple of bites each. Soon after they arrived we decided to make our getaway - fire or no fire they get pretty bold as it gets darker, and even the machete that Brendan was carrying would have been poor defense against a horde of hungry mosquitoes (we just had to buy it when we saw it at Wally World). We took off at about 8:15 or 8:30, and I was pretty surprised it was so late since it was still somewhat light out. We got back to the hotel pretty bushed and hit the hay shortly after our arrival.

I figure if you have read this through until now, you must be almost as tired of reading it as I am of writing it; and hopefully there were not too many typos. So for now dear readers I will pull the plug, and go watch something on the Sci-Fi channel. I'll finish up with the last day of the trip tomorrow or Sunday.


All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

What a coincidence that the road trip with my son begins today. I could not have planned it better, and was actually kind of surprised to find out today is Father's day. It should be a good one. Hopes yours is nice too.

Al the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Questions, Questions: What Guns To Take On The Road Trip?

So we leave tomorrow at about 0730 (yeah right, probably not likely buy one can hope that the only son wakes up before then); and the question of which gun(s) to bring along has popped up in my head. Of course I am going armed, with my regular carry pistol, the Glock 19; but I probably will throw another firearm or two into the car to bring along for some fun shooting should we have the opportunity. I am thinking the S&W Model 17 ten shot revolver in .22LR, and maybe the Henry Survival Rifle. They should so nicely for some plinking fun, and if we get lost in the woods with the Henry, well it can live up to its name and protect us from things like ravenous mosquitoes, crazed chipmunks, Pic-A-Nic basket thieving Boo-Boo and Yogi The Bears, and criminally insane psychos. We may take it canoeing too, and if we capsize our canoe whilst canoeing - it floats - or so they say. One never knows when one may have to shoot at a turtle who has decided to torpedo the canoe. Yes a couple of 22s should make any trip like this more fun; and no I don't really plan to shoot any turtles or other critters, heck not even any mosquitoes...

Later for you,
GB

Hellbent On Hellbenders

It's not the best picture, but it was the only one I could find in the public domain. What is it a picture of, why it is a Hellbender - of course! Or if you prefer the scientific lingo, it is Cryptobranchus alleganiensis - the largest salamander in the United States, heck the largest amphibian in the United States. It is native to NY, PA, WV, VA, NC, SC, TN, GA, OH, KY, IN, IL, MO, AR, MI, AL (hope I got the abbreviations correct). Sadly their numbers have been reduced; and although the causes are not known for certain it is believed that loss primarily has been due to pollution, and siltation. Its last strongholds are in PA, WV, VA, TN, NC and GA.

Brendan and I are hellbent on observing and photographing at least one of these creatures while on our road trip to VA. Of course that will mean a side trip to WV and the Monongahela National Forest, but it would be worth it for us to find just one of them. We have searched for these guys over several years in the Susquehanna River system near Windsor, NY and Binghamton, NY but have never see one even though the streams seemed well suited to them. All of the rivers and streams that we searched had large populations of crayfish - one of the favorite dietary items of the helbender. Still though no hellbenders, and I suppose because of an overabundance of silt in the water from runoff originating on farms and dirt roads.

If you would like to learn more about this amazing creatures, visit this site:

http://hellbenders.org/index.html

There are some really great photographs of hellbenders on that site; and instead of swiping them for use on my site (I could not get through to the owner of them via email to ask permission) I figured I would link to the site and let you explore it at your leisure. Check out the second picture on the photos page, it will give you a good idea of just how big these critters get.

Now back to refinishing the bedroom floor for me!

All the best,
Glenn B

Road Trip - We Cannot Afford It...

...but I'll be damned if Brendan and I don't get away on our annual road trip for at least a few days. This June marks some big events for him, his last days of high school, the prom, and graduation. Well the last day has come and gone, so has the prom which was last night. Graduation is not until later in the month. Then he starts a new full time job next Friday. Since I am busy tomorrow working on the house, that leaves us with Sunday through Thursday to get away. I am hoping for a drive to Harrisburg, PA to visit sites nearby - maybe Hershey Park, maybe Gettysburg - could be both. Then a drive down to the Shenandoah River Valley where we may camp out (talk about me being cheap, but only if I think my back can take sleeping on the ground otherwise an inexpensive motel). We have been there twice, and he liked the canoe and fishing trips we took on the Shenandoah River. A couple of days of that, then we head back north. maybe we spend a night somewhere in PA, maybe we drive right home. Either way we are home by Thursday at the latest. It is about the only outdoors 'regular' thing I look forward to all year anymore besides a fall hunting trip; but most of all Brendan deserves it. I think he maybe looking forward to it as much as I look forward to it. I hope so, because that means he will really help get all of our gear ready tomorrow night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to pack for a road trip, now is there!

If you don't see anything left here in the blog from Sunday til Thursday - you will know why.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The House Is Breaking The Bank...

...and I mean that almost literally since it sure is breaking my bank account. First it was the water heater that went on the fritz. That went for about $1325, plus $150 for the permit (can you imagine the politicians eating steak on my dime, I can), plus another $25 for the inspections. Then it was an air conditioner that went kaflooey. Another $110 for a new one, yeah we got a special on some off name brand (if it lasts three years it will have been well worth it). Then the upstairs toilet had to be replaced. About $180 for the toilet and installation kit; then the friggin plumber had the nerve to charge $225, use my tools to install it, and not even set it level. They sent someone today to tell me how they think it will be okay not levelled. I think I may have to contest that charge with Amex. Finally, well for expenses of the last month up through today, I shelled out another $1,195 to have an oak tree chopped down and removed from my property. That was the best offer from over 8 tree service places (well I had an estimate of $675, but that guy just seemingly fell off the face of the earth once he came to give me an estimate). I waited about 3 weeks for him and said fuggedaboudit, and got the next lowest priced guy to do it. He sent a bunch of illegal aliens nice guys to my house to cut it down today.

That of course was enough, but not for my black cloud. Nope, my personal black cloud dumps on me even after it has covered me from head to foot. You see, now the side door needs replacement. A year or a couple of years back, the door jamb cracked, right at the bottom hinge. Good old Stanley Doors, they used the softest wood I have ever seen for a door frame. Well once it cracked, the crack found its way right through the screw holes of the hinge. The screws wobbled and flexed, and ate those screw holes bigger and bigger until now they will not hold at all. I had some contractors who were here for other work, over the past 2 years, look at it. They told me the same thing, it would cost as much or more than getting a whole new door installed to fix it. So now I am off to Lowes to look for a steel door, with steel frame - no more wood, unless they have some with hardwood frames. My best guesstimate is at least another $500 to replace the door.

There I was a few weeks back thinking I would be buying us a new barbecue grill, a nice one, a stainless steel one, for this season - since the old one is literally rusting through and falling apart. I guess that just isn't gonna happen any time soon. As a matter of fact, it looks as if my annual road trip with Brendan may be off this year, or certainly curtailed what with all these unexpected expenses and the cost of gasoline. He is graduating high school, his prom is tomorrow, and I thought for sure we would have a special road trip this year. Maybe we can get away with a camping trip within a hundred miles or so of home. That shouldn't be too expensive, I mean what is a couple of hundred bucks added onto about $3,700 of unexpected expenses in a month. Yikes I hope nothing else goes wrong with this gosh darned money pit or we may not be able to eat except for every other day!

If anything else goes wrong I seriously may have to consider selling some of the boomers; and heck I don't have that many to sell in the first place. I would sure miss em if I have to resort to that. Then again, if gold peaks near a grand per ounce, I do have a 14K white gold college ring I can sell, and one other small gold nugget ring I would be happy to get rid of. Maybe I could get a few hundred for both of them. Other than that, there isn't a thing in my house worth all that much. Heck, I just thought, I may have to stay on my job more than another year if things keep going down financially, that is a truly scary thought, but at least I have a job. Oh well, enough b-ing and moaning; I am off to Lowes to go door shopping to see how much I have to add to the approximately.

In the meantime if any of you can think of any legitimate and reasonable ways for me to earn some quick cash - let me know.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, June 9, 2008

Barack Obama - Gun Grabber?

Well this is what the NRA had to say about Barack Obama, and I glommed it from their website here because they said it MAY be reproduced:

"On the Second Amendment, Don’t Believe Obama!

Friday, June 06, 2008

The presidential primary season is finally over, and it is now time for gun owners to take a careful look at just where apparent nominee Barack Obama stands on issues related to the Second Amendment. During the primaries, Obama tried to hide behind vague statements of support for “sportsmen” or unfounded claims of general support for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.


But his real record, based on votes taken, political associations, and long standing positions, shows that Barack Obama is a serious threat to Second Amendment liberties. Don’t listen to his campaign rhetoric! Look instead to what he has said and done during his entire political career.


FACT: Barack Obama voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry.

FACT: Barack Obama wants to re-impose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban.


FACT: Barack Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting.

FACT: Barack Obama has endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.

FACT: Barack Obama supports local gun bans in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities.

FACT: Barack Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense.

FACT: Barack Obama supports requiring law-abiding gun owners to register their firearms.

FACT: Barack Obama refused to sign a friend-of-the-court brief in support of individual Second Amendment rights in the Heller case.

FACT: Barack Obama wants to eliminate your Right to Carry.

FACT: Barack Obama was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and “research.”

FACT: Barack Obama supported a proposal to ban gun stores within 5 miles of a school or park, which would eliminate almost every gun store in America.

FACT: Barack Obama voted not to notify gun owners when the state of Illinois did records searches on them.

FACT: Barack Obama voted against a measure to lower the Firearms Owners Identification card age minimum from 21 to 18, a measure designed to assist young people in the military.

FACT: Barack Obama favors a ban on standard capacity magazines.

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory micro-stamping.

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory waiting periods.

FACT: Barack Obama supports repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits information on gun traces collected by the BATFE from being used in reckless lawsuits against firearm dealers and manufacturers.

FACT: Barack Obama supports “one-gun-a-month” sales restrictions.

FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on inexpensive handguns.

FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on the resale of police issued firearms, even if the money is going to police departments for replacement equipment.

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory firearm training requirements for all gun owners and a ban on gun ownership for persons under the age of 21.
Copyright 2008, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action.
This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes. "

I have got to tell you, this guy Obama is a scary dude. I can only imagine that his apparent disregard for our rights and liberties probably are shameful on other Constitutional issues as well as the right to keep and bear arms. Besides that I have seen him to be, in my opinion: an ultra liberal kook, an evasive person on the actual issues, an opportunist extraordinaire without regard for truth, and basically in essence a simple liar using his lies to get over on all of America. As I said though that is just my personal opinion of him, but I am sure it will keep me from voting for him. As to your vote, you have to make up your own opinion and then vote your on conscience.

Happy and safe shooting,
Glenn B