Friday, November 28, 2008

Ballseye's Gastronomica - Frogs Anyone?

A few days ago I decided that it had been way to long since I ventured into the land of the lost, which for me would be my kitchen. Yes - I am ashamed to say that I have been a stranger to my kitchen - at least as a man who practices the art of culinary grumpiness - for way too long. So I decided, a few nights ago, to take a trip down to Little Italy where it blends together with Chinatown near Mott and Grand Streets. I was determined to pick up something from Di Palos, and Italian food store that sells absolutely scrumptious things. Not that I knew that from personal experience, but I had watched some cooking show the night before (actually a show about food stores and restaurants and such) and this place was given high kudos.

So I made my way there, the very next night after having seen the show, and I entered the place full of gastronomic anticipation. I expected my senses to be overwhelmed by the sight of the delicacies, the aromas of the many cheeses and meats, and hopefully by the flavors after a taste of this and a taste of that. What I had not been expecting, but will admit I had given a passing thought to, was the other customers who would be shopping therein. So when I walked in the door, and almost had to push my way inside because of the crowd, I was - to say the least - disappointed. I grabbed a number from the glossy red dispenser on the wall just inside the entrance, and they immediately called a number. Heck it was about 20 ahead of mine! I decided to take my number and take a walk.

I walked toward Canal Street on Mott, or maybe it was Elizabeth, but it was southbound. There were a lot of Chinese markets mixed in with the occasional Italian business. Over the years Chinatown has expanded northward to include much of what was once hardcore Little Italy. What a blend - east truly meets west - and when you think of Marco Polo - what could be more appropriate! Yet there have been some hard to blend issues among the Italian Immigrants and Chinese Immigrants, they don't always blend so well; yet I think they get along pretty well all things considered especially because they all they wanted to do was to become Americans. Two groups of immigrants that came to the USA with the same goals -seeking to better themselves and both groups offering their unique cuisines to the rest of New York. I was about to take advantage of one of them, but not the one I had expected.

As I walked along checking out the Chinese vegetable, meat and fish markets, my eye was caught by some movement. There in a bucket inside a fish market was a drum full of frogs. Nice, big, fat, frogs, with pretty good sized rear legs. My mouth watered, I had not eaten frogs' legs in probably 20 years or more. I thought about it for a moment. It would mean buying at least a few live frogs, transporting them home in my car, then keeping them alive until I decided to cook em. Of course this also would mean that if my wife saw em I might be outside in the cold really quickly - she has had enough of my pets, or at least thinks I have enough of them. Heck, there was only one or two other customers in the store, and Di Paolos' probably still had a good 12 to 15 people ahead of me since I had only been out of there for about 5 or 10 minutes at most. It was an easy decision, I bought three frogs, then I headed back to Di Paolos'. I turned out they had only gotten past two or three numbers, I walked back out and headed home.

Now three frogs is not enough to feed even one person on frogs legs even if they are big ones. I had thought I would be buying a few other things at Di Palos' but it just did not happen. So I headed home and figured at least Brendan and I could get a taste as an appetizer to something else. I guess that was Tuesday night. On Wednesday I decided to head back to the same area. I did not even give Di Paolos' a thought, it would be there when I again get a hankerin for Italian fixins; this time I headed right toward some Chinese fish markets on Canal Street this time coming from the other side of Chinatown. Nope, I was not going to the same one where I had bought the first three frogs, they had ripped me off, or tried. I had thought the frogs seemed lighter than that for which I had been charged, and I went back and asked them to reweigh them. They did and refunded me a couple of bucks. So on Wednesday night, I headed for place that I sometimes shop in for fish. No luck finding any frogs there; but I got some nice shrimp - 2 pounds of it. I made to yet another place. They had plenty of frogs and I got another three of them. Then I spied a container of sea scallops in another store and I got a pound and a half of them too. I also picked up some hot pepper sauce with crushed hot pepper in it. That was not for the dish I had in mind though. For the frogs, shrimp and scallops I figured to do something along the lines of sauteed bat wings pond/seafood in a mixture of shredded onions, thinly sliced mushrooms, slivered almonds, a touch of garlic, butter, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and yes maybe even a touch of that pepper sauce. I was planning either one hell of a case of agita or one fine tasting meal.

I got the three new frogs home, and put them into the tank with the three I had already purchased. They did splendidly together. As the night wore on, at least one of them started to croak and sing his froggy song to the ladies in the tank. Lord knows what else happened. Little did they know this was to be their last such encounter, but such is the life of a Bullfrog - which by the way is the type of frog that they were. They grow fairly fast from tadpole to adult maturing in a year or two, they have a furious ferw seasons of mating if they have any luck at all and are not eaten by something else first. They can live up to about 8 years in the wild; in captivity, when kept as pets, they have been known to live much longer. Bullfrogs were native to the eastern and central United States but their range has spread markedly across many parts of the USA and sometimes across the oceans to foreign lands. They did not increase their range by themselves, they had lots of help in the form of people who liked to eat frogs' legs. They are the largest native North American frog, and tey eat a lot to gain the size they can attain. As nature would have it, it is often the destiny of the Bullfrog to eat other smaller creatures, only itself to wind up being eaten by other larger creatures. In this case these were destined to be eaten by other creatures - me, Brendan, and maybe even Linda and Celina.


Well, of course it was not time to cook them on Wednesday night, not with Thanksgiving being the next day and not with me having made a stop in my old stomping grounds on the way home. I got home kind of late after meeting up with a few good friends from the Farmer's Oval days. So I waited until today. Not a bad idea, actually cooking a fresh meal on the day after Thanksgiving and therefore getting around the whole 'we gotta eat leftovers thing. Well at least we got away from leftover turkey for a day, there is always tomorrow and there sure is plenty of turkey from yesterday.
Today, Linda and Brendan were out with Oma (Louise, my mother-in-law) to visit my mom; and Celina was working. Around noon or so, I went down into the basement, figuring this was the day for the frogs to meet their maker, and I clobbered them pretty good to make sure they would not feel a thing when I prepared them for cooking. Then I got down to the butchering part, I guess that is what you would call it. A sharp knife, and a pair of pliers were all I needed to get the job done. As it turned out, for some reason I only slaughtered 5 of the frogs, and gave one a pardon. I seem to recall something about me thinking there would be no pardons around here - but oh well what the heck.

After butchering the frogs, I rinsed the legs well, and I put then between several sheets of paper toweling in the fridge. I had time to kill before I would be ready to cook since it was only about noon. Then I went to work on our checking account, 6 months of unbalanced mayhem and a few hours of working it all out. Once I had gotten that dirty deed out of the way I poured myself a nice iced tea and Potato Vodka and then got to work on cooking the evening's meal. I did not have time to take any pictures when I was actually cooking it like I did when I was butchering them. It is just too hectic for a high strung type like me in the kitchen, especially since it has been such a long time my not being in there cooking (well truthfully I made an apple pie not all that long ago - yes from scratch, but it had been awhile since I did the main meal). Anyway, I got right down to it. I sauteed the frogs legs separately. Then I sauteed the onions and mushrooms and almonds, then added the shrimp to that. I sauteed the scallops on their own. When everything was ready I combined all the ingredients. Sides were boiled Yukon potatoes, and steamed corn kernels. When I sat down to chow down, I decided it would be best to slice up one of the Yukons then toss some of the pond/seafood mixture on top of it. Man it was good, and I can not think of a better complimentary vegetable than was the corn. Mmm, mmmmmm goooood.

While eating, I told Oma what was the one mystery ingredient in the dish. She asked me in sort of an incredulous tone: "What is this?". I told her again and she made a face showing her disgust. A few seconds later she was smiling telling me how wunderbar it tasted. Linda gave me sort of the same look but she too gave it a try and shortly thereafter her portion was devoured. Brendan hardly spoke except once or twice to say it was good and to say the frogs' legs really did taste a bit like chicken. He ate every morsel too. All throughout the meal, I was none too sure it was really to every one's liking; I am burdened with a lack of self confidence, something I have carried with me since childhood. Yet even I could see that from the looks of the cleaned off plates, yes indeed everyone had loved it.

Celina just got home from work as I sit here typing. She usually visits us on Friday nights. When she came in she asked what smelled so good. She sat down to eat almost immediately, and she called out to me that it was great. I guess I've done good today. I think maybe I should start getting back into cooking, maybe at least one or two meals a week, a loaf or two of bread a week, and at least one baked desert weekly too. Time will tell. I stopped cooking for a reason, it got me to wound up if something went wrong and my being wound up affected everyone. I have to admit though, I don't let it get me that way nowadays. Besides that, if I must say so myself, I can whip up a pretty tasty meal now and again, and when I make my genuine Apfelstrudel, it is to die for - I mean it.

Hmm, things have just changed a bit. Celina suddenly has stopped eating the frogs' legs. She had been devouring it, then I asked her what she thought it was that she had been eating. She said shrimp, scallops and squid. I asked her if she had ever seen squid with bones, and she was baffled. Then Linda told her what it was that she had been enjoying ever so much. That was it, she would not eat another bite of it, although she ate everything else. Oh well, she ate everything else, and had been eating the frog thinking it was delicious until learning what it was threw her appetite off. Ignorance can truly be bliss! Luckily for me none of them saw the pics that accompany this post, and better still did not see the pics I did not include with this post (much gorier). Brendan could handle the pics but I am pretty sure the girls would not have been happy, at least not if they saw them before the meal. Then again, that last pic is not bad at all - is it?

All the best,
Glenn B

I Suppose I'll Have To Go Shopping...

...sooner rather than later for items for the Soldiers' Holiday Care Package for which I have been accepting donations. So far I have collected $25 from me (I'll also throw in whatever I pay for shipping the package(s) to the soldiers) $50 in a check, and $150 of donations sent to me via PayPal 150. Those bastards at PayPal would not waive their fees on my received into my account relative to money donated toward this effort for a mere three weeks. Their explanation laid out the rules, which apparently they would not budge on, regardless of the fact that I am collecting for a care package and that every penny more we collect means all so much better contents inside the box. So far the fees I asked them to waive have amounted to an astronomical $5.87. Can you imagine that they would not waive those fees when it really could mean adding something nice to one of the care packages. My bet is that the fees will not amount to more than $10 to $20 for all the donations I receive toward this effort; and they are apparently too tight to want to help that effort by waiving those fees. Certainly has me considering whether or not I should keep using PayPal. I will make up the fees out of my own pocket, screw them. I digress from the original idea of this post, sorry bout that...

Okay, so I now actually have received $225.00 in donations. Some of it has already been spent, but not much of it. I bought the cigars, a box of Tootsie Roll pops, a package of ChapSticks, and another thing or two I cannot recall right now. I am probably left with about $165 to $170. I had been planning on buying including some flashlights in the care package like i did last year. too bad Streamlight has not gotten back to me on my inquiry about whether or not they could sell me some tactical lights at a discount. Last year they donated a dozen of those lights, very nice of them. This year not a peep from them, but I'll keep hoping. I also was going to buy ear plugs directly from the manufacturer - E.A.R. Inc. since they offered a 10% discount off of their online pricing. I have discovered that many retailers sell them online for even less than that - much less. I suppose they get em less expensive because they buy in bulk - so I'll be looking to an online dealer for them. The manufacturer was asking $42.00 for a box of 200 TaperFit 2 earplugs. I found them as low as $27.90 plus shipping per box of 200. Wait a few minutes here, I'll be right back. I am going to order them right now...

Five minutes or so later I am back at the blog, the ear plugs have been ordered from Cooper Safety at a total cost of: $35.04. That was a pretty good price. I probably could have found them at an even lower price but the Cooper Safety website looked real business website as opposed to something from a fly by night company, that is one that flies away at night with our money.

Okay, let me take a look at the receipts:

$35.04 - 200 pairs of Ear Plugs

$29.23 - Costco for Tootsie Roll Pops, 12 decks of playing cards, and 10 pack of ChapSticks

$34.90 - A Cigar Sampler, box of 25 cigars

That makes it $99.17 spent so far; and that leaves us with $125.83, and hopefully with at least a few more nice donations to add to that later since $125 and change will not go far. If I do not get enough for 6 tactical flashlights (about $40 each not including), then I will just buy some decent pocket knives to include in the package. I'll see what I can do. I may have to shop for them now, and you guessed it, that means from right here where I sit via O.M. (online magic, if only all the gurus of old who chanted "om" while meditating could have guessed how important that word would become).

Later for you, I need to get shopping.

All the best,
Glenn B

I Am Thankful...

... just as much today as I was yesterday on Thanksgiving for many things:

For my family whom I love very much, for their health and well being, and likewise for my friends.

I am thankful for my upbringing, for the attitude toward life that it has given me. One aspect of that attitude is that I should earn my keep, and earn the things I want to keep. There is a much more than subtle difference between those two objectives, but both involve the same work ethic. I am thankful I have it, though i will admit to all to often wanting something for as little work as possible. The thing is I never achieve anything without work, so even if I want something for nothing I always wind up working if I ever truly expect to get it. That goes no matter how much I might bitch and moan and complain about things. Sometimes I wish others would be more able to see that in me, some of my bosses at work for instance. Then again the ones who ever truly took more than a mere moment to try to get to know me have realized that I am one of the better workers they have ever met. As for the others who have not seen it, they are shortsighted and that is not my shortcoming. As for my family, I sometimes wonder if they realize how much I have worked to make things as good for them as I could make them. I suppose someday they will realize it if they have not already done so.

I am also thankful for the questioning attitude I often exhibit. I do follow or obey blindly they who tell me how it has to be. I am the penultimate cynic, and I find myself questioning the reasoning, the motivation, behind others words when they tell me THIS IS THE WAY IT IS, as in their way or no way. Sorry I was not born yesterday, and during the course of my life I have seen lots of folks who have told me their way was the the only way, the best way, the way I had to do it or see it and so on. I find it difficult to accept that others think they can think better for me than do I. I think for myself and do it quite well.

I am thankful that I am loyal. You see, even though I often question authority, or question those who tell me how they believe it should be, I also can and will follow they who have earned my trust, and they who have demonstrated to me that they are worthy of my loyalty. Maybe I should have said that differently, I am happy I do not give my loyalty cheaply or blindly, but only to someone who has earned it. Imagine that - as I expect myself to earn things, I also expect the same of others.

I am thankful that I can and allow myself to sometimes be vindictive. No it is not always better to turn the other cheek, but rather to be prepared to defend ones self and one's family. If you want my trust and loyalty earn them; however if you destroy that trust by hurting me or my family - don't expect me to say: 'Please do it to me or us again'.

I am thankful for the good life that my beliefs and my work have afforded to me. I am thankful for the roof over my family's head, the floor under our feet, the earth in which we garden, the cars that we drive, the clothes on our backs, the food that feed us, the education we have received, the rights we are at liberty to enjoy, the life we lead.

I am thankful to be an American, a citizen of the greatest nation that this earth has ever known. Greatest not in size, not in strength, not in number of conquests, not in number of citizens, but rather in our freedom, our rights and liberties.

I am thankful to those Americans, and others, who help us maintain our great nation as a beacon of righteousness and freedom.

I am thankful to and salute those of our military who are on foreign shores protecting us from they who would harm us.

I am thankful to and salute our Law Enforcement Officers, those who protect us from the same; but please do not confuse this with promoting self inflated pompous buffoons in law enforcement who seek to steal away our rights and control us by way of police power and excessive government regulation.

I am grateful and thankful that I have been allowed to serve my country, even if only in the civil service, for the past 29 years.

I am thankful I have known my limitations, but also that I have been able to shoot for the stars on certain occasions damn the limitations.

I am thankful that I have known when to quit asking for or expecting more - this especially with regard to my having been satisfied, even happy, in the levels I have achieved in my career. We were not all meant or cut out to be bosses, and I have always been quite content being in charge of an army of one - that being myself. It's not that I think I would not have been qualified to have become a boss, heck I am positive could do the job better than many if not most of those who have been my supervisors, just that I was content not to do so - I guess mainly because I see how self inflated many become once they achieve a level of power over others.

Mind you, I am very thankful for the good bosses I have had; and thankful that most of the less than good ones were pretty benign.


I am thankful that I have been able to pursue interests other than simply working my life away; thankful for the down time - even just for moments of leisure where and when I found them.

I am thankful for the opportunity to tell you all of this, and more importantly thankful to you for reading it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ballseyes Firearms Accessories Tournament 2 - Winner

There were only 9 entrants into this version of Ballseye's Firearms Accessories Tournament. The contest was to guess how many boxes of ammunition were in my foot locker/trunk, on November 6, 2008, the person coming closest would be the winner.

The guesses sent in were: 325, 166, 158, 137, 117, 98, 75, 72, and 61.

The actual number of boxes of ammo in the foot locker was 266. That makes the guess of 325 the closest. That entry was sent in by Jered, who now needs to contact me with his mailing adress and some other info, upon which I will send out the scope that was the prize to him.

All the best,
Glenn B


Ballseye's Firearms Accessories Tournament 2

I will announce the winner sometime this afternoon. This morning I'll be driving out to see my mom and should spend a few hours with her. I should get back home by around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Right now I have got to get going. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Later for you,
Glenn B

6 Pretty Hefty Frogs...

...2 pounds of shrimp, and a pound and a half of scallops should blend nicely with some other ingredients (like butter, salt, white pepper, sliced almonds, or sliced chestnuts, some shallots or green onions and whatever else I can come up with) for me to come up with one heck of a delicious appetizer for our Thanksgiving dinner. Then again, I may have to hold off on things because I have to travel to see my mom tomorrow, then head back home for our holiday meal; and you can bet my wife is not going to off a half dozen frogs then gut em and saute em . An outdoorsy catch em, skin em, cook em Sarah Palin type she is not; but she is one darned good cook. It's just she sure won't cook those frogs, I'd bet on it myself. But I digress. My day will be filled with running around and that will have time being very tight for me, so those frogs may yet make it until Friday - but you can bet they are not getting any sort of a presidential pardon around here from me. It's just been way too long since I have enjoyed frogs legs.

Oh, if you are wondering where I came up with 6 large live frogs in New York in November just let me tell you that you can buy just about anything in Chinatown when it comes to good eats. Thats where I picked up the shrimp, the sea scallops and the chestnuts too. I am getting hungry just thinking about it all. Mmmmmm gooood.

All the best,
Glenn B

Happy Thanksgiving To All

May it be a peaceful day here in the USA. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the world, but India is having one hell of a troubling time right now. Damn these piece of shit evil terrorists who prey on the weak, the unsuspecting, the innocent. While we are at damning them we really ought to think about killing all of em too, and then ought to get serious about it. Maybe that is not a very Thanksgiving like thought or so you may think; but I would be darned thankful to wake up to find out every last one of them was wiped out while I slept.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ballseye's Firearms Training & Tactics - Some Observations of Bad Habits At The Range

While over the course of a few trips to a local range recently, I got to watching other people shoot. Nope, that is not why I went, I went to shoot but I also got to watch some others shoot. Of those of note, one of them was shooting a revolver, another a semi-auto pistol, and a couple of others were shooting 22 rifles. All of them (well one of the two shooting the 22 rifles anyhow, and the 22 pistol shooters) did things you should not do when shooting or examining guns.

I am not reporting on what they did in order to chastise them, I am dong it to save you some grief by pointing out what they did in the hope that you will avoid mimicking them. Let me start with the two guys shooting the 22 rifles. They were shooting safely, minding there own business, and doing nicely until they got curious. Now it was not the curiosity thing that got them doing anything wrong, it was probably a lack of manners or just lack of common sense where they fouled up. You see they came over to my shooting point and started to ask me about the Remington 870 shotgun my son and I were shooting. No problem since they waited for a break in the shooting, and were polite about it. Well almost no problem. As they were talking to me, one of them reaches out and picks up my shotgun. I remained calm and polite as I immediately explained that he should not be doing that without asking me for my permission to handle my firearms first. He put it down right away and all was well. The thing is, it is absolutely not alright to pick up someone else’s guns at a range or anywhere else without first obtaining there permission. Just don’t do it – it could get you yelled at, or could even result in something as extreme as you being shot.

The other things I saw happening were problems of a tactical/training nature, and are definitely things to avoid if you want to be the winner in a gunfight. One of them was, at least to me, so comical I almost burst out laughing. I mean it almost looked slapstick ala Charlie Chaplain and the Keystone Cops. I remained stoic though because I did not want to embarrass anyone. What was happening was that a pistol shooter was firing on a silhouette target and blasting away slow fire. No it was not the slow fire that was funny, but how the shooter was drawing his weapon. He appeared to get a decent grip on the holstered gun, then drew it, and as he drew the pointed it upward at about a 45 degree angle, pushed his arms out both forward and up at that angle to maximum extension, locked his elbows, then tilted his arms at the shoulder to raise the pistol even higher, then brought the pistol down to eye level to sight it (well actually dropped it a bit below eye level as do most shooters using this well outdated method of drawing and sighting in and then raised it back up a bit to eye level, then fired. All this drawing his pistol from a strong side hip holster. He then reholstered and started over again and repeated this over and over. I have not seen someone draw and aim in like that in years. I used to see it done often by old time shooters who shot revolvers, and who were trained in how to draw and shoot sometime, oh about in the stone age or at least 25 years ago or so. It seems to have been a method taught by police departments, federal agencies and the military, and was usually taught for one handed shooting though it carried over to two handed shooting. It was and is most obvious if the shooter was firing one handed.

So what is it about this method of drawing that I don’t like besides it looking funny to me. Well – it can get you killed. Anyone who draws and then sights-in in the manner I just described is using up valuable time that may mean winning or losing a gunfight. You see, when you draw from a strong side hip holster (the only type I recommend wearing) the best way to get your weapon on a target that is further than about 3 yards away is to punch it out at the target. I mean that almost literally too. By this method, as you begin to draw, already having acquired you grip, you pull the pistol up and out of the holster. This causes your arm and wrist to be bent at an awkward position but one necessary to effect the draw. As soon as the gun clears the holster though, you no longer need to maintain that awkward bends in wrist and arm, and you can point the muzzle toward your intended target. As you point the muzzle at the target, you immediately will notice that your arm and wrist are more relaxed and in more of a position to control the gun. So why ruin that better ability to control the gun by then contorting yourself into another position in which you have less control of the pistol? Instead of doing what the shooter above did, once the gun is clear of the holster, you should point the muzzle at the target, and then punch or push your arm out and up to eye level with one controlled continuous and smooth movement so long as the target/adversary is not close enough to attempt a takeaway.

Why not try it now and see how it feels. NO DO NOT USE A GUN. Place your hand at your side, with index finger extended like a gun barrel. Then pull up as if drawing from a strong side hip holster, when at the point where you think you have cleared your imaginary holster, point your index finger out at your imaginary target as if it were the gun barrel and push or punch your hand forward toward the target while smoothly raising the hand to eye level along with the movement of the punch. Have the left hand move to meet the right hand as doing so to acquire a two handed grip. Both hands are basically punching out and raising up in one fluid movement. Do not make it two separate moves - do not punch out your hands then raise up your hands. Do it all in one smooth motion so that as your hands are traveling toward the target they are also moving up at an angle to reach eyelevel or just under it when your hands are extended to shooting distance. You can also do this with just the shooting hand to practice one handed drawing and shooting. Once you get it, try it at the range with an unloaded weapon. When ready, try it with a loaded weapon with which you will actually shoot right after you draw and achieve you aiming hold using this method. Remember the trigger finger stays off of the trigger unless you intend to shoot and are actually ready to shoot. Do not draw from the holster with the finger on the trigger, only place the finger on the trigger when ready to fire.

If you have been doing it the wrong way as was the shooter whom I described above, well you will probably notice a few things right away. The movement is more natural the way I described, it gets you right on target faster and more accurately, it is easier to repeat over and over again with the same result and that is you being right on target, your shooting will probably improve.

Okay enough on that, now for the other bad habit I observed. I watched a revolver shooter who was shooting much the same as was the guy who was drawing incorrectly but who was also doing something else very wrong. It also happened to be another old school technique that was taught by many police departments and federal agencies, and probably in some branches of the military. Before I tell you what was being done wrong, allow me to say it was probably taught with neatness in mind. Now mind you, neatness is a good thing, but is not called for when you are shooting in a combat situation except maybe as to where you neatly put your bullets, and by that I mean on target.

What I saw though was neatness of another type and it had nothing to do with hitting your target, and could in fact prevent you from hitting it. You see, as the guy unloaded his revolver, he dropped the empty shell casings into his right hand. How did he do that. Well he activated the cylinder release with his right thumb while still maintaining a grip with his right hand. Then he pushed open the cylinder with the fingers on his left hand as he should have done. The he canted the muzzle upwards somewhat and took his left thumb and pressed on the ejector rod ejecting the spent shell casings. Instead of letting them fall to the ground as he was getting more ammo with his right hand (as he should have been doing to combat reload) he held his right hand cupped under the cylinder and allowed the spent casing to fall into his hand, then placed them into his pocket, then grabbed more rounds with his right hand and reloaded. How much faster would his reload have been had he allowed those shell casing to fall to the floor as he grabbed a speed loader, or even loose rounds, with his right hand. He wasted an awful lot of time - an awful lot of time in a gunfight could be a split second, and he wasted several of them – catching and placing those rounds in his pocket all for neatness.

Even if you only shoot competitively, you should unload and reload a revolver in the combat style in the event you are ever called upon to defend yourself with the revolver. It is a good habit to have, and you can always bend over and pick up the spent shell casings after you are done at the range, or after you win the gunfight – although it would be better to leave them there for the police in the aftermath of a gunfight. By the way, the same holds true for a semi-auto. Unless you are doing a tactical reload during a break in the action, you do not catch and retain a magazine that you are dropping from the magazine well. Instead you allow it to free fall to the ground, and as you are doing so your weak side or non-trigger finger hand should be reaching for, grabbing, then inserting a loaded magazine.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where We're Headed - We're Not Headed There If I Can Help It

By Robert A. Waters April 7, 2003

You're sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door. Half awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.

With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out two shadows. One holds something that looks like a crowbar. When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor.

One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside. As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you're in trouble. In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered.

Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm. When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter. "What kind of sentence will I get?" you ask. "Only ten-to-twelve years," he replies, as if that's nothing. "Behave yourself, and you'll be out in seven."

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you're portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choir boys. Their friends and relatives can't find an unkind word to say about them. Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both "victims" have been arrested numerous times. But the next day's headline says it all: "Lovable Rogue Son Didn't Deserve to Die." The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters.

As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.

Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he'll probably win. The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you've been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time.

The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven't been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn't take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.

The judge sentences you to life in prison.

This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term.

How did it become a crime to defend one's own life in the once great British Empire?
It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license.


The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns.

Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.
The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of "gun control", demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)


Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals.

Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearms still owned by private citizens. During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released.

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, "We cannot have people take the law into their own hands." All of Martin's neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences. Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn't were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn't comply. Police later bragged that they'd taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens. How did the authorities know who had handguns?

The guns had been registered and licensed. Kinda like cars.

Sound familiar?

WAKE UP AMERICA, THIS IS WHY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS PUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT IN OUR CONSTITUTION.

"..It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." --Samuel Adams

© 2003 Robert A. Waters - All Rights Reserve

**********

I received permission from the author to publish this here in my blog. An amazing story. Of course there is another side to it that you can read at Wikipedia wherein it is claimed that the home owner shot the thugs as they tried to flee. Heck that would be legal in Texas wouldn't it? Regardless I think the whole atmosphere surrounding firearms, heck any arms, in England is ridiculous; and their attitude about someone trying to act in self defense is terrible; and besides that their police are a sham. Don't let it happen here, even with an all lib power surge in the House, the Senate and the oval office. Fight for your rights.

By the way, the author's current website is: http://www.robertwaters.net

His blog can be found at: http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blogspot.com

I may have to start visiting there with virtual regularity.

All the best,
Glenn B

Emails Away

I sent an email to StreamLight asking if they would consider being generous to allow me to purchase some flashlights directly from them at a discount for inclusion in the care packages.

I also sent an email to E.A.R Inc, the make of the E.A.R. Taper Fit 2 foam ear plugs that Jamie V and his unit appreciated so much in a previous package I sent them. I am hopeful that E.A.R. Inc. will sell me a box of 200 pairs at a good discount for inclusion in the package. These earplugs are great for the range as stand alone ear protection or as additional ear protection under a set of shooter's ear muffs. I also use them to help me sleep when in a noisy location. They are soft enough to remain comfortable for long periods. I imagine that Jamie and his unit - being an artillery unit - can find good use for them.

A third email also went to PayPal to ask them to waive their fee for when I receive any money as a donation toward this effort. If not, I'll cover it out of my own pocket so all your money goes toward purchase of items for the packages.

All the best,
Glenn B

Soldiers' Holiday Care Package - aother update

I have got to hand it to you folks - you are generous. I started this up this morning, and I already have collected $175 in donations (including my own) from only 6 folks; and I have a promise for 2 more donations. Wow that is great.

Since I started this thing late it is nice to see that those of you to whom I sent out the emails asking for donations are wasting no time getting them to me. I am not wasting time either. Today I had to stop at Costco for some stuff for home. I got there pretty late, they usually close at 4 on Sundays, and I arrived at 3:30. It was mobbed anyway; then I found out why - because they were staying open until 6 today. I figured while I was there I may as well start shopping for the care packages for the troops.

So far, besides the cigars I ordered online earlier from Thompson Cigar, I picked up the following at Costco:

A big box of Tootsie Roll Pops

A box of 12 decks of Bicycle brand playing cards.

A 10 pack of ChapSticks.

A 5 pack of Gillette Deodorant.

I just pretty much grabbed some things that caught my eye that I figured our guys and gals could use. Tonight I'll probably order a large box of ear plugs. I sent some of them in the first package I sent a few weeks back, and Jaime V. told me they were a very appreciated item. I guess they come in handy for sleeping, and probably also come in handy because Jaime and his buddies are in an artillery unit if I recall correctly.

Like last year I will check into getting them some higher end items like nice pocket knives, and maybe some nice compact high intensity flashlights. I don't figure we will be as lucky as last year to have Streamlight donate another dozen flashlights and extra batteries but you can bet I'll ask them. Even if they do not donate them outright as they did a year ago, maybe they will give a good discount on them.

For now I have some online shopping to do since time is short and the money is there to spend for these care packages.

All the best,
Glenn B

Soldiers' Holiday Care Package - update

I don't know a whole hell of a lot about cigars, but I am considering this deal for a purchase toward the Soldiers' Holiday Care Packages. It has a variety of hand rolled cigars, light, medium and dark wrappers in different sizes, and comes with a carrying case. That case might be just the thing to keep them safe in a war zone, but something tells me once the care package is opened and these are seen inside, there will be lots of aromatic smoke in the air pronto and no cigars left to protect.

http://www.thompsoncigar.com/default.aspx?page=product&sender=csearch&uid=2680

Powerhouse 25 Sampler Case, Set

Contains:


5 CHAVON

5 EROS ROBUSTO

5 DONA INES

5 MIRAFLOR

5 BELMONDO VIN RES

1 TRAVEL CASE

(Edited to Add: Well within the first hour, I received 2 $25.00 donations, plus my own $25, so I have placed this order, and have money left over for more good things. The cigars will be sent out quickly after I receive them to make sure they are fresh when they get there.)

All the best,
Glenn B

The Donations Are Already Coming In...

...and not more than 1 minute after I posted the notice about collecting for the Soldiers' Holiday Care Package and posting the PayPal icon, I received the first donation from Al S. I have to hand it to him too because it was a generous one. Thanks Al.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Hunting I Will Go, A Hunting I will Go...

High Ho The Merry Yo A Hunting I will Go - NOT! I had planned to be hunting this weekend, even if by myself but it looks like today is out. I have to go to visit my my in the rehab center, then off to my sister's house to help her pack. We will be packing some of my mom's things because she will be going to live at an Assisted Living Home (long story best not told here but suffice it to say this will be best, and an Assisted Living Home is more like a hotel with most of the amenities than it is like a nursing home). We figure to pack some things that will give her room there a personal touch - family photos, knick-knacks, and such. I suppose it will be a long day, about an 85 mile drive to my sister's place - thank goodness the rehab center is on the way there.

So no hunting for me today, and no other blogging until maybe tonight. If I go hunting tomorrow - no blogging then either.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today In History - The Columbine Masacre

Are you saying, hey wait a minute, the Columbine High School Massacre took place on April 20, not on November 21, well you would be right. Then again, who is referring to the Columbine High School Massacre? Not me that is for sure. I am writing about the original Columbine Massacre, the one that took place on November 21, 1927 when about a half dozen coal miners were killed by police during an organized strike called for by the union known as The Industrial Workers of the World (a leftist loony union if ever I have heard of one, but still no excuse for the actions of the police and mine security officers that day).

There was scuffling, there was blood, there was violence, and then there were reportedly a couple of shots fired into the air by the sheriff. Of course that was all that was needed to get the other LEOs shooting and many who did not deserve to be were wounded or died as a result.

See this for more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbine_Mine_massacre

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SKS - does it stand for 'Samco Krap Sent'?

No, actually SKS is the designation of a rifle issued by many Com Bloc countries during the 1960's through the 1970's and probably even into the 80s and 90s, but you might wonder if you saw the rifle i just received. I recently ordered one from Samco Global Arms, Inc. It arrived at my house today, and when I got home from work it was waiting for me on the coffee table in the basement right where I would find it when I went down to watch TV. My son knows where to leave things so I will not miss them.

I ordered a NEW CONDITION Yugoslavian SKS, model: M59/66A1, the latest of all the models. When I saw the box, I decided to have a quick dinner before opening it. After dinner I went at the box carefully opening it to make sure I did no damage to the new SKS. I need not have been so careful. You see, as it turned out, the NEW CONDITION SKS was not so new. Now mind you, I know the various conditions for military surplus rifles, of which this is one. I realize that there are New Condition Rifles, Factory Re-Conditioned Rifles (often mistakenly called NEW or NEW CONDITION), Excellent Condition, Very Good Condition, Good Condition and so on down to pieces of out and out krapola. The one I ordered was advertised as NEW CONDITION, and therefore it should have been in a condition that indicated it was new. Mine was not and that was obvious.

For starters, there were two glaring repairs in the wood stock. One was about 1 1/4" x 3/4" x 1 1/4 x 3/4"" in a rectangular shape. Wood had been removed from the stock and this piece put in its place. There was another similar repair that was smaller in size, maybe 1/2" x 1/2" on each side. In addition there are several grooves or gouges, several scratches, and several nicks in the wood stock and wood handguard. Furthermore there are several scratches, scrapes, and dings in the metal parts of the rifle. It also appears as if this rifle has wear to the bolt which would indicate it has been used previously and is not NEW CONDITION. I noticed to that the bore seemed dark, not bright as advertised but will admit I did not clean it due to the other problems. One part, the rear sight had a serial number, but not matching the number on the other parts that were serialized 9and there numbers matched one another). Finally, I noticed that the gas shutoff button was bent.

Now mind you, the attached pictures do not do the damage justice. It was darned hard to get the scratches, nicks and grooves to show at all once the flash filled them in. In real life it all looks worse, except maybe for that repair job - that at least came out as is in the photograph above. The next two photos show the differing serial numbers and some wood dings and a scratch. You would have also seen a scratch on the magazine but I guess the way the flash filled in, or caused reflections - you cannot see it. It is there though right on that side of the magazine.

I could probably have accepted the rifle if the only damage had been the metal scratches, scrapes and dings and the serial number on the rear sight; but the addition of the wood repairs, the other wood damage, and the bent gas shutoff valve, the wear on moving parts as if previously used, and the possibly dark bore make it totally unacceptable. So I fired off an email to Samco about the
problems. I am hopeful this was an oversight on their part due to the increased number of orders they received as a result of the November 4th presidential election. Hopefully they will still have actual NEW CONDITION Yugo SKS rifles in stock and will be able to find me one. Of course if they want to take about $100 off the price of this one, I might go for it because even with the Cosmoline on it I can tell it has a sweet trigger. Otherwise I'll let you know how my attempt at an exchange for one in truly new condition turns out.

Thankfully I ordered and paid for this using my American Express card and they have a pretty good history of assisting with customer complaints against sellers who sell other than what they have advertised.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wolf Ammo Mislabelled, and an Apology To Sportsmansguide.com

Why revisit? Well, yesterday I was repacking 500 rounds of Wolf 7.62x39 ammunition for return to the Sportsmansguide.com because they had apparently sent me the wrong ammo. I had ordered Wolf 7.62x39 154 Gr. Soft Point, and the boxes of ammo they sent me said 122 FMJ instead. As I was packing something funny happened. I noticed that sometimes when I looked at the boxes I was packing, I saw them labelled as Wolf 7.62x39 122 Gr. FMJ, and at other times when I looked at the exact same boxes they were labelled as 7.62x39 154 Gr SP. I looked saw the SP, a moment later looked again and saw the FMJ. I wondered if I was seeing things. I was flummoxed but only for a moment. I took a closer look at a box, turning it in my hands as I did so. Then I saw it, the cause of what a moment before I thought may have been an illusion, and the reason I had believed that Sportsmansguide.com had sent me the wrong ammo. The boxes were labelled with both designations. On the top of each box, and on the opening flap of each box, they were marked one way, and on the sides of the boxes they were marked the other way. I then opened a good number of the boxes and lo and behold all those I opened contained the SP ammo I had ordered. Of course I immediately sent off an email to Sportsmansguide.com customer service explaining what I had discovered. What a pain in the butt this has all been over a labelling error by Wolf.

So I suppose I have to make a retraction of my earlier statement that Sportsmansguide sent me the wrong ammo, when in fact it was the right ammo, but labelled incorrectly by the manufacturer. I have to admit, Sportsmansguide was right on top of this when I notified them of the perceived problem. They promptly made arrangements for me to return the ammo for an exchange. So my hat goes off to their customer service for that; as of course it does to their order department for getting my order right in the first place. My apologies to them for thinking they got it wrong in the first place, but I think they will understand how that happened with the mislabelled boxes.

If you have recently purchased Wolf ammo in either designation above, you may want to check to see that you got the correct ammo. It could be you ordered the FMJ and wound up with SP instead. You may also want to pass this along to others you know who use Wolf ammo.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Hunt Is Over...

...and the deer are still laughing at us in the woods. We hunted the stand I had selected back in early September, and checked again and again over the months since, and we did not see a thing even though it was obvious the scrapes were still active. The next day we opted to do some Still Hunting in the morning. Saw nothing. Later on we set up near an apple tree, then even later near an apple tree that was growing on the edge of a swamp just inside the forest. Brendan found that place. It had the most deer sign around it that I have seen in years. I thought for sure we would at least see some deer there. No luck though, well no luck for us - plenty of luck for the deer.

We did manage to get ripped off at the inn where we stayed. I paid the outrageous price for a room with "all the amenities and a restaurant too" as they told me. Wound up the restaurant was closed for the season and the amenities did not even include a telephone or radio in the room, nor a television that worked properly, nor a full bath. The shower stall was all of what one could fit into and have barely enough room to move to wash up. The sink, outside the bathroom had a vanity with light bulbs some of which were burned out, and the sink was missing its stopper. The water pressure was horrendous or the water was turned down somewhere along the piping, and the hot water faucet took several minutes to produce something that even approached warmness. I must admit it eventually did get hot. There were no drapes on the window, but there was a light screen of sorts hanging outside the window blocking any view we may have had and still allowing the car lights from the roadway (adjacent to which our room sat) to illuminate the room. Of course there were Venetian blinds but they and that foolish looking piece of front yard fence they hung outside the window did not do as good at blocking the headlights from -penetrating our room each night as would have a cheap pair of drapes from Walmart. All this for the "off season price" of $99.00 plus tax per night. Now we could have paid $89.00 plus tax per night for a smaller room without a kitchenette. I opted for the larger room because it had a table - the other was so small as to preclude having even that amenity. The kitchenette had a small fridge, a micro-wave oven that looked ancient, and a coffee maker on which I almost burned myself when we arrived. It was turned on and man was the empty coffee pot hot. Yes we also had heat, but once turned on it came out so hot as to be in a sauna. I had to get up in the night and turn it off, but somehow it never quite turned off and the room was 'something-something' as my son said (two references to the anatomy in there that I do not need to repeat). Besides all of that the room seemed somewhat dirty, things like the carpet seemed not to have been cleaned in some time, even on our second morning - after maid service - the carpet obviously had not been vacuumed by the maid. Well after a horrendous night's sleep, what with all the traffic on this road (I had asked for a room on the quiet side of the inn) I almost decided to leave the next morning. We toughed it out though because to find another place then would have been a royal pain the arse. So we stayed the second night, and wound up so tired from our lack of peaceful sleep the first night that we slept somewhat better the second night. Of course to contact the manager I had to leave my room, pick up a house phone outside the office door and hit the "red" button. Imagine that it would have been about 5 degrees in the middle of a blizzard and you needed to speak to the manager about something like your heat not working.

Now the above is not just my complaining. Even Brendan was turned off by many of the things I just mentioned, and he also mentioned the odor in the place. He mentioned it several times, saying it smelled like an old lady's house. I suppose they used some cheap air freshener or cleaner that had a horrendous odor to it - sickly sweet perfume sort of a thing. He also said everything in the place looked either old or cheap, and I have to agree. The place just reeked of the discontent of other suckers who stayed there in the past. Imagine that when I said something about the place, in the middle of nowhere being as high priced as it was, the manager laughed and said 'you think that is high priced, during the season we charge $159.00 for a room'. I don't think they could get $39.99 for those rooms and have someone who stayed there think they got a good deal. I will never stay at this dump again. I'd rather stay at a Motel 6 and pay less than half and have a cleaner room, with all the lights working, free telephone, free cable TV and so forth.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Remember that phone outside the office, the one I used to call the manager. Well it had a neighbor. Its neighbor was a small mail box with a sign that said something like "Early Bird Checkout". I left my key inside of it when I checked out. The thing was though I was hesitant to touch it to open it because its top was covered with bird shit. I guess the early birds did sort of check out there literally, well at least they left something there regularly - and no one from the inn cleaned it. Yep, next time I hunt there we will either camp out, find another motel, or make it a one day trip. I will never stay at this dump again. I'd rather stay at a Motel 6 and pay less than half and have a cleaner room, with all the lights working, free telephone, free cable TV and so forth.

As for the actual hunting: It poured on an off the first day out, but we stayed dry thanks to some decent waterproof clothing we were wearing. Well I forgot my water proof pants, but even though my legs got wet on and off while walking through the woods, they pretty much dried off during breaks in the rain, and while sitting on our stand I covered up with a poncho. Brendan was bone dry as far as I know, I bought him a decent waterproof camo hunting outfit, and also a waterproof hunting coat in blaze orange. He wore the blaze orange coat and camo pants. I wore his camo jacket with a blaze orange vest over it. While we were out, and even though it poured an awful lot - we saw several gray squirrels, a couple of red squirrels, some hawks, many crows lots of smaller birds, and Brendan saw owls twice. The second day was a dry one, but somewhat colder. Heck the first day was in the mid to high 60s, the second day was in the 40s or low fifties I suppose. We were ready for the cooler day though and stayed pretty warm. Well - Brendan's feet got cold late on in the day, I think he needs slightly bigger hunting boots.

We had a nice time exploring the woods looking for deer on the second day when we Still Hunted. We hunted the woods for a couple to a few hours walking only a mile or so in all that time. We Still Hunt slowly. Don't ask me why but Still Hunting means stalking or seeking out prey, and stand hunting usually means you are sitting on you butt in your stand. After the Still Hunting, we took a stand near an apple tree. While there, Brendan was looking around and found another apple tree in the woods just off of a swampy area down below the area we were at. We moved there for the last couple of hours of the hunt. We saw a lot of deer sign, while we were hunting - deer droppings, rubs and scrapes. As a matter of fact, the spot that Brendan found at that second apple tree was loaded with so much sign I was truly shocked not to have seen any deer show up. Then again we were only at that spot about 2 hours. A full day there likely would have had at least a few show up there. So if we head that way over Thanksgiving weekend we may get us one yet. Of course that trip will be a one nighter, or if a two nighter we may have to stay at a motel in Kingston, NY about 20 miles away from the hunting grounds.

As to us not seeing any deer, we heard lots of shooting, but I only saw one deer leave the area on the back of a SUV. My guess is either lots of bad shots, or just guys shooting at squirrels. We heard one guy shoot about 20 or 30 rounds in rapid succession, now there was a real sportsman - don't ya think! I was happy we were, by the sound of it, nowhere too close to him. I think one reason there apparently were few deer taken was because the first day was so warm. Deer tend to move more at night in the heat up this way from what I know of them. In addition, there was a full moon on the 13th meaning that there was still plenty of light at night - another thing that keeps deer more active at night than in the day time. By the way, even on the ride home we did not see one even deer on a car. I suppose many other hunters fared like us.

Oh well - next time.

All the best,
Glenn

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Hunt Is On

o , o , RHINEBECK, NEW YORK Astronomical Applications Dept.Location: W073 55, N41 56 Rise and Set for the Sun for 2008 U. S. Naval Observatory Washington, DC 20392-5420 Eastern Standard Time
Day Nov.
15 0646 1634
16 0647 1633
17 0648 1633


All that the above gobbly-goop means is that the days are getting shorter; and that where Brendan and I will be hunting on opening day of the firearms season for deer the sun will be up at 0646 and set at 1634 or 4:34 PM. That means we will have to be up well before, maybe by 0400 and at our stand by about 0500 to 0530 at the latest. Hopefully there will not be so many other hunters in the area as for us to be stumbling over them, or them over us. Then again, since it was a full moon on the 13, the moon light on the early morning of the 15th will probably be sufficient to see without artificial light while making our way to our stand. The moon will still be up, it will not set until about 0900.

As for those other hunters, anyone want to take bets on how many shots we hear before sunup and the official beginning of the season on Saturday morning. Brendan and I will await the legal shooting time no matter how tempting a shot may present itself before then, but I am pretty sure someone else in the area will not, happens every year.

We leave for the hunting grounds early this morning - one day in advance of the season opener. Who knows, maybe we will get lucky and bag a turkey on the last day of the turkey season later today. Heck, I just realized it is this morning already, I need to hit the hay.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The BGI

Not long after I first passed the test for the U.S. Border Patrol Agent position - oh way back in around 1977 or 78 - and was then offered the job - I had to undergo what is called a full field background investigation. This was done to make sure that I was the kind of a guy to whom the United States of America could trust its secrets, and to make sure that I was the caliber of person who could be entrusted with enforcing the laws of this great land. Each and every 5 years since then (with one glaring exception that I can think of) I have been required to undergo similar background investigations. Heavens only know how I could have changed my loyalties within each of those 5 year periods and become a spy, or something like that, for the other side. Truth be told I am currently the subject of one of these investigations right now, this despite the fact that I have openly been stating my intent to retire in about 13 months, and despite the fact that I will be subject to mandatory retirement in a little less than 4 years. I should also point out when my last BGI was due - or no - maybe I had better not embarrass anyone in our government over that one.

Mind you, I am not complaining. I think that each and every person who has access to any sort of classified materials should have to undergo and pass a background investigation. That includes my boss, his boss, her boss, his boss all the way up to the top man. Yep - you guessed it. he top man in the federal Executive Branch of government - the branch by which I am employed - is the President of The United States of America. Now I understand that rank has its privileges, and although I readily admit I do not always agree with that concept I can agree that the President should have some additional privileges over the regular guy or gal. The thing is though, when it comes to National Security, there should be no quarter given to anyone regarding their worthiness of being given access to classified materials - none whatsoever. This is the whole thing I do not understand about the man who is our President Elect. He reportedly has obvious long term ties to a racist, hate mongering preacher who damned America, he reportedly has obvious long term ties to and planned part of his political career along with a known radical militant/terrorist, yet he is deemed fit to be made aware of the most secret information concerning the welfare of our nation. Sure, I know - he claims not to have known the true side of his preacher even after attending his church for about 20 years; and he claims less than friendship with a guy allegedly responsible for bombing the U.S. Capital and other places, and for killing police and injuring officer(s). Furthermore he says that he was only, what was it, 8 years old when those alleged terrorist activities of his associate took place - so how could he be responsible.

Well allow me to assure you of one thing. He is and should be held accountable for the associations that he knowledgeably makes and maintains throughout his life. He had knowledge of the alleged, and self admitted, Weather Underground Activities of William (Bill) Ayers; yet he chose him if not as a friend (as most see their relationship) then as an associate with whom he has maintained and cultivated that association over many years. If such an association was dug up in my personal history, during one of the many background investigations that have taken place during my career, and it was shown I had knowledge of the background of my associate and that said background was terrorism, what do you think would have happened to me. At the very least I would have been investigated more thoroughly. I probably would have been interrogated at length to determine the extent of my collaborations or associations with such people. In the long run, had such an association been founded, I would in all likelihood been denied my security clearance and therefore I would have been fired. This does not only hold true for me - this holds true for virtually every employee of the Executive Branch of our government. In other words every law enforcement officer, every special agent, every file clerk, every administrative assistant, every inspector, every officer, every computer operator, every mail room clerk all the way up to every director of any agency with the Executive Branch of Government. That is if of course if I had already passed my initial BGI and had gotten the job in the first place. If such information had been revealed in my initial BGI I would never have gotten the job to begin with.

So can anyone out there tell me how it is, that a man with such questionable associations can be given access to the most secret information that our government has within its files? I mean it! Give me a rational, logical, legal, answer that fully explains the regulations about how anyone can be given such information despite the fact that there seemingly is no way possible that he could pass the same BGI that I am required to pass every 5 years. In my opinion, it is an absolute failure of the system to allow this to happen. Each and every person who is given access to those secrets should have to pass, in my opinion, the same test to show they are loyal beyond a doubt and therefore are worthy of being entrusted with the same. By the way, I do not mean just the current President Elect, this should go for each and every President Elect, as well as to every politician who gains access to classified material. I bring it up now, meaning no disrespect, only because I am reminded of all this by way of my current BGI, and because of the current situation surrounding the questionable background of our President Elect - a situation I have never heard of before with regard to any President Elect throughout our Nation's history. How is it now that we, the rest of the members of the Executive Branch of our government are expected to look up to this man as our soon to be chief executive, and how is it that we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard than that to which he is held remebering, after all, he is soon to become the President? It is just baffling, but I will do my best to respect him and his office so long as he upholds The Constitution of the United States of America - the very same thing I am sworn to uphold and protect.

All the best,
Glenn B

Insomnia fanned by heartburn from hell

If I did not know better, I would suspect someone poisoned me tonight but I suffer from both of these nefarious maladies more often than I would choose to do so. Nexium be damned; it has not worked tonight and that is to my great dismay, discomfort, and lack of sleep.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gun And Ammo Order Blues

I am having little luck with orders I have placed for guns and ammo lately. First off I ordered a Yugo SKS in new condition from SAMCO last Tuesday night. Then I ordered 500 rounds of 7.62x39 HP, and 500 rounds of 7.62x39 SP from Sportsmansguide.com. The next day i realized I had lost my credit card, the one with which I had placed both orders. Luckily, or so I thought at the time, the credit card was charged for the ammo right away. As for the Yugo SKS, well SAMCO did not charge my card at the time, I suppose waiting until they processed my order.

I called SAMCO last Thursday to say I wanted to give them a different credit card number. They said wait until Monday, and to send an email. I sent them an email. They replied by Friday saying they would call me back this week to take care of the order. No one called yesterday. I called them today. They found my order, and told me they changed the card info. I asked when my order would go out and was told in another 7 to 10 days! I asked why so long and they said it was as if I had just placed my order today. The lady said maybe she could get it expedited. No one else was available, but I will call again tomorrow to see if things can get sped up.

I also saw today, when I checked my Sportsmansguide order status, that the delivery was set today for the ammo. According to the UPS tracking it was on the delivery truck by about 5:50 AM. Funny, it did not get delivered until between 1630 and 1700 (4:30PM and 5:00PM). I checked the box before letting the uPS guy leave to count the boxes of ammo, all were there this time. last time they delivered to me a few boxes of ammo were missing - apparently pilfered by someone who had cut a fine opening in the package then sealed over it to make it look as good as new. Too bad I did not look closer at the ammo boxes. Yes they were all full, but the thing is it was not the correct ammo. I ordered 500 rounds of Wolf 7.62x39 154 gr. SP and 500 rounds of Wolf 122 gr. HP. I received the HP ammo, but in the place of the SP ammo I found FMJ. I just sent an email to Sportsmansguide.com about that. They have a policy of no ammo returns, but they had best accept a return on this since I did not order what they sent to me. Hopefully they will make it right pronto, and hopefully SAMCO will send the SKS promptly so I have something out of which to shoot it all.

All the best,
Glenn B

Take A Moment To Honor Our Veterans...

...whether the veterans you honor be living or dead. Remember what our veterans have done for us: they have served for us, they have helped build and have protected our great nation, they have fought to preserve our rights and liberties, they have shed their blood for us, and many have been maimed or died for us. Next time you see a veteran - why not say thank you. In the meantime keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shotgun Shoulder...

...is something that sooner or later effects all of us who shoot a 12 gauge shotgun. Brendan and I went to the range today. We wanted to try out the Remington 870 shotgun and the Marlin 336 in .35 Remington at a range of only 25 yards. A range somewhere between 25 and 50 yards will be the likely average distance for a shot this deer hunting season. As it turned out, Brendan shot the 12 gauge first, with full power loads. We only use 2 3/4" shells as opposed to 3 inch magnum shells, this because the gun is only chambered for them. Still though, a full power 2 3/4" 12 gauge slug gives one heck of a kick. After just a few rounds Brendan was complaining that his shoulder hurt. I try to get him to hold it the way I learned so it will not hurt, but it got him good today.

My method, the one taught to me and not one I created, is to stand square to the target, then mount the butt of the shotgun in the v formed at the end of the collar bone where it goes into the shoulder joint by raising the trigger hand elbow high as you seat the butt. I wind up with only about a couple inches of the bottom of the stock actually against my shoulder. This happens because as I mount the gun to my shoulder, I also mount it to my cheek. I do not lower my cheek to the side of the butt stock, but raise the gun to my cheek. I pull back firmly to hold it in place, step forward with my left foot (I am right handed) leaning into the gun, and then fire when all else is ready. If the gun stays in the notch I described, then there is little pain from the recoil if any. The pain from recoil usually comes from the butt being placed against muscle. Of course if you do not get it right, or if you shoot and the recoil causes the butt to come out of the notch and you do not reset before the next shot - OUCH. I'll have to see how firmly Brendan pulls the gun into the notch. I think he must not be pulling it back firmly enough because it happens fairly often that he hurts his shoulder. I don't want him getting bursitis or arthritis when it can be avoided by better technique. I'll also be purchasing Remington's new recoil pad when I can find one, supposed to greatly reduce felt recoil.

video
In the short video I have embedded, you can see the effects of Shotgun Shoulder and how it makes Brendan react after shooting the Marlin 336. The Marlin has some kick, the .35 Remington is no puny round, but the kick has never hurt before. Watch the video and tell me if you think it hurt him after the first shot. By the way, he was wrong when he said he thought he did not hit the target. He hit it almost dead center. He was using the scope set at either 4 or 6X, we usually shoot with it at 10X, but getting ready for the hunt I lowered the power. Easier to acquire a target at the lower setting when out in the woods, and more than enough magnification for a good shot. I would have shown you the target, both shots were within about 1/2" of each, but I ran out of memory in the camera as I was shooting the video.

Did you spot the effects of shotgun shoulder? Brendan does not normally shake off the pain like he did after that first shot. Had he not fired the shotgun several times beforehand there would have been no such reaction. By the way, note where his right elbow is when he holds the rifle. Up high, but not quite high enough to form that good notch I was talking about. The elbow should almost be pointing somewhat upwards for the shotgun (I don't recommend holding it up for a rifle).

Hopefully all Brendan will need is one shot with the Remington 870 during our deer hunt. The area we plan to hunt first is a shotgun or handgun only area. He had a one shot kill on his bear hunt, and I think if he sees a deer that presents a shot he will shoot just as well.

All the best,
Glenn