Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Cannot Wait To Fly Tomorrow

To say I cannot wait is probably not just right because I probably will have to wait. I anticipate a pain in the derriere trying to check in and get me and my luggage on my flight. I will be pleasantly surprised if all goes without a hitch. I have only two checked bags, and two carry on pieces (a computer case and a small backpack). Then again, being that I have a shotgun, a rifle, ammunition, pepper spray, a couple of knives, a field surgical kit and other things in one of my pieces of checked luggage, and that I have leg irons in another, and that I will be carrying two firearms on my person (I am a fedaral agent traveling on business), I expect at least a minor inquisition at best. Last time I flew out to Arizona for work, I had a Port Authority Police officer tell me that I was positively, definitely, absolutely not allowed to transport ammunition in the same piece of luggage that also contained firearms. Even though I showed him a printed copy of the regulations allowing for such - he argued with me all the way to the TSA screener and the argument was all one sided for a change. The gentelman from TSA told him he was wrong and it was okay for me to have it just the way I had it.

I expect at least the same tomorrow either from the check-in person for the airline, the Port Authority Police Officer who comes to check me because I will also be carrying firearms on my person, or the screeners from TSA. Of course if I clear all of them, I can usually get through the initial TSA checkpoint okay but with the recent terrorist attack on Christmas day, a failed attack at that, my guess is that they will all be jumpy. I imagine the gate agents will also be nervous. So I expect extra checks of my ID, maybe an extra check of my ticket, maybe an extra check of my luggage. So along those lines I have copies of my travel authorization, a copy of the airline regulations about transporting firearms and ammo, and a copy of the TSA regulations about the same.

All the checking I expect will all be okay with me. I don't mind them checking me and my things really diligently so long as they are checking everyone likewise. I sure do not want my plane blowing up with me or anyone else in it. I know I am not going to try to do something like that, never would even contemplate it; but I sure do not know squat about anyone else, so I hope they check them very well too. So while I expect a delay, it will be okay so long as they are professional and polite during my check-in and boarding and during whatever other checks they want to perform. I expect a delay so much so that I expect to be at the airport 2 1/2 hours early for my flight. If I get through quickly, well then I'll enjoy an icy cold beverage or three at the bar - like a coke or 7-UP (no alcohol while armed) and maybe I'll read a book or just keep a wary eye on the other passengers. My motto for this flight is Arrive Alive; you can bet that after what happened on Friday I will be a bit on the wary side myself.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Joke Really Is On Us...

...at least it was on us today. Once again Dumb Luck, or was it his sister Fickle Fate, came to play in the lives of the crew and passengers of the exact same flight, Northwest Airlines flight 253, that was almost blown up on Christmas day two days ago. In an amazing set of coincidences, while aboard Northwest flight 253 from Nigeria to Detroit via Amsterdam, a Nigerian man was observed to be getting up several times and going to the rest room, and at least once locking himself inside the rest room and refusing to come out. This evidently got the passengers and crew on edge after Friday's near catastrophe on the same fight. So, the flight crew radioed ahead for assistance worried that this man was another terrorist.

As it turned out, it is all laughable, very laughable, even though no one was intentionally joking. You see, the man had quite the legitimate reason to be inside of the restroom, and all the reason in the world not to come out when asked to do so by the flight crew. He had a case of the squirts, a la food poisoning. Of course, maybe the joke has yet to be played. You see, it has been reported that this man was arrested upon arrival in Detroit. Can you imagine that - being arrested for having a case of the shits squirts! I think the joke may be coming in the form of a lawsuit but not many will be laughing. Hopefully this guy has a sense of humor and a sense of honor and a good amount of understanding and can laugh off the whole thing in light of how scared others on the flight must have been because of what happened only two days ago under amazingly coincidental circumstances.

Of course the plane was searched, the suspect was interviewed and on and on with the determination being made that he had been ill. Me being the cynical type though has to wonder if the authorities actually checked the blue water to see if any contraband had been passed. I seriously doubt they did so, but it may have been worth the search. The guy could well have been ill, or maybe he could have been passing heroin filled condoms. Did anyone at CBP think of having him x-rayed?

Sources: 1010 WINS radio broadcasts and 880 WCBS AM radio broadcast on 12/29/2009, and http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581232,00.html.

All the best,
Glenn B

Airline Security And Our Attitude About It - What A Joke Here and Abroad

If you don't see that airline security in the United States of America is an absolute joke then I think you are blind. For that matter you could probably say that national security here in the USA is a joke but I would need a lot more time to delve into that one, so for today, the eve of my upcoming flight to Phoenix, just let me discuss airline security.

By now, unless you live in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan, you should know that on Christmas Day a terrorist tried to blow up or cause a fire to destroy a commercial passenger plane. He did so by trying to ignite explosive chemical(s) that he carried onto the aircraft on his person. How was he able to do so?

Well it seems that it was pretty easy for him to get away with his evil deed, from smuggling the substance(s) aboard the aircraft to getting it ready for ignition, to actually igniting the substance. Yet something went wrong, but not because of any security policies, procedures or practices on the part of the airlines, nor of our government. What was it that prevented the disaster - apparently it was good fortune - yes plain old dumb luck! Of course dumb luck had some help, help that would likely have been too late had dumb luck not arrived on the scene in the first place, but it did have help to prevent things from getting worse. That help was in the form of a single, I repeat: a SINGLE passenger, among 278 others and 11 crew members, who jumped over other passengers to stop the terrorist act - more about this later.

For now let me spell out some of the facts as they are known and or surmised so far:

The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was suspected, by the U.S. Government, of ties to terrorists. That was months ago or years ago depending on the source. (See:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581211,00.html and http://www.1010wins.com/Alleged-Terrorist-Known--Not-Considered-a-Threat/5977168.)

In November 2009, the father of the suspect contacted U.S. authorities telling them he feared his son was becoming a radical Islamist, an extremist, that he feared he would do something bad. The suspect's name then was placed into TIDE, a U.S. Government data base that holds information on suspected terrorists.

The suspect's name was not placed into the No Fly data base. According the head of the department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, there was no specific information that warranted placing his name on said list. (Source:
http://www.1010wins.com/HSS--No-Indication-of-Larger-Plot/5977302.) Imagine that, a suspect terrorist, or at least a person who is suspected of some ties to terrorism, or at least in on U.S. Radar in relation to possible terrorism, is on the radar for months to years and there is not enough specific information to have him on the no fly list even though his father feared that his son had become an extremist Islamist. In addition the same suspect had been banned from England as in deported or removed and was not allowed to fly there (source: Fox News broadcast Sunday December 27, 2009). Why - because they had specific information about him, enough to keep him out of their country. Yet we here in the USA did not have enough information.

So what does the suspect do. He buys a ticket for travel from Nigeria to the USA via Amsterdam. He pays for it in cash. It is a one way ticket. (Reported on in a Fox News broadcast Sunday December 27, 2009.) Folks, these are indicators and supposedly there were others, that he should have been watched more closely and given much more scrutiny regarding security before he boarded the aircraft.

We are at the point now where he is on the flight. Apparently he had planned, or someone else had planned, his terrorist act with some forethought as to where he could sit to do the most damage. He had a seat in row 19. On the particular aircraft on which he was traveling, row 19 is one of the rows over the wing. The wing on this particular aircraft, as on many others, contains fuel tanks. Not only was he in a row over the fuel tank, his actual seat was a window seat, so he was right up against the wall of the aircraft. Why is this an important consideration, well it was explained pretty well here:

"A former Homeland Security official told Fox News that Abdulmutallab's seat selection does not appear to be accidental, and that he was sitting in one of the two most vulnerable parts of the plane. The suspect was sitting in seat 19A, which is over the fuel tanks, atop the wing and next to the skin of the aircraft

There is a high likelihood an explosion could be accelerated by the fuel tank, the official said — and that it could damage the plane's structure and puncture the skin, bringing down the aircraft." (Source:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581211,00.html.)

Allow me to go a bit further with this based upon my very limited knowledge of fuel tank explosions. Not only is it important that he attempted to set off a bomb or incendiary device while seated directly above and or adjacent to the fuel tanks on the aircraft but it is very important that he waited until most of, or a lot of, the fuel in those tanks was expended. Yes more fuel would burn longer, but less liquid fuel allows for more fumes, and as I understand more fumes means an explosion would be more likely instead of just the possibility of a burning fuel tank. An explosion would more likely have devastated the plane immediately than would a fire. Of course I could be wrong on this as my knowledge is limited to gasoline fumes and I am only guessing that the same could hold true for jet fuel.

Now we are at the point about 20 minutes or so before the plane is due to land in Detroit. The alleged terrorist gets up and goes to the bathroom. He is in there for quite some time, then returns to his seat where he complains of stomach pains and covers himself with a nefarious blanket. It was shortly after that when other passengers heard a popping noise as that of a firecracker, and saw flames coming from where Abdulmutallab was seated.

So what happened then? Did a large number of passengers get up and pounce on the suspect. Did the crew immediately come running over to extinguish the flames and take out the suspected terrorist. Hell no! One man, who was finally identified on Fox News (on cable) this morning took action. He was seated about one row behind and at least a couple to a few seats across, maybe even across the aisle, from Abdulmutallab. He got up, jumped and climbed over other passengers, who all apparently were doing nothing, and tried to extinguish the flames and control the suspected terrorist. I heard and saw this man explain his actions in a short video clip this morning on Fox News. He put it this way: He wanted to put out the flames and basically immobilize the suspect because he thought he was trying to blow up the plane. Other passengers and the flight crew eventually came to his aid but it was he who single handed took action and who prevented the substance from being successfully ignited, that is right after dumb luck reared its ever so fickle head to help prevent a potential disaster. You see, it seems apparent that the suspect never got it lit properly (again something I heard on Fox this morning but that was probably only a guess). Or maybe he did get it lit right, maybe it takes a few seconds to start blazing to where it would have destroyed the aircraft and killed all 289 people aboard, maybe it was just due to this one brave and heroic passenger that the flames were extinguished and the plot foiled. The suspect was secured and brought to the front of the aircraft and placed IN A FRONT ROW SEAT!

What happened next. Someone decides it would be a good idea to contact all of the other 120 flights over the USA at that time. From 60 to 90 minutes later, all of the crew of those other aircraft were notified.

The suspect has been arrested and charged with: "...trying to destroy the airplane. A conviction on the charge could bring Abdulmutallab up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine." (See:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581211,00.html.)

So why do I think that airline security is a joke. If not obvious to you so far let me spell it out:

Well it was a job well done by someone who was not working - the passenger who saved the day. It was certainly not a good job by the U.S. Government who had this guy on their 'radar' for months to years yet could not find anything specific enough by which to rate him for inclusion on either Terrorist Watch List (not the same data base in which his name was included) nor on the N0-Fly list not even after the suspect's father informed on his own son to the U.S. Government over his concerns about the suspect having become radicalized. Note this is all the new agencies keep saying was revealed by the father. Think of it though, take a moment, do you really think that is all the father told the government officials. Do you think it went like this: 'Oh, my son is becoming radical in his Islamic beliefs and I thought I had better tell you.' Or do you think there just may have been something of more substance to what he told us? Someone really screwed up on this one, and because of one passenger and dumb luck, almost 300 people are still alive today!

Instead of saying something like: We in DHS really need to check into this and get to the bottom of it, and if this happened because of some fault on the part of U.S. officials - well, heads will roll' what does Janet Napolitano say? "Napolitano says that despite Abdulmutallab's success at getting dangerous chemicals on board the plane, commercial flying is safe. " (Reference:
http://www.1010wins.com/HSS--No-Indication-of-Larger-Plot/5977302.) Imagine that, flying is safe.

Well if it is so safe then why are the regulations for flying suddenly changing in what amounts to another pointless knee jerk reaction on the part of the Transportation Security Administration (under DHS) and on the part of the airlines? Why is the government, while not changing the alert level, performing tighter security measures if it is so safe to fly? Why, if flying is safe, are passengers, at least on international flights, being told they can not leave their seats for one hour prior to lading (and this apparently a new regulation enacted by the TSA)?. Why, if flying is safe, are they being told by some airlines they have to stow all carry-ons one hour prior to landing? Why, if flying is safe, are some airlines urging passengers not to bring carry-on items?

Why, if flying is safe, is at least one airline now saying that passengers will not be given blankets or pillows when they fly. Can you even fathom how they think this will prevent terrorism? So the guy covered himself with a blanket while preparing or trying to ignite his device. Could he not just as easily have done do with a sweater, jacket, a coat, a newspaper like the New York Times (I use them because of the size of the paper), or anything else? Would those tiny pillows the airlines give out conceal anything?

Why, if flying is actually safe, is all of this happening now? The truth be told, it is happening now because flying is not safe under the rules and safety policies and procedures that were enacted and changed many times after 9/11. Had they actually been effective, and had flying actually been safe, then the show bomber would never have made it on to the plane and nor would this most recent suspect been able to attempt to destroy and aircraft and kill all aboard. Make no mistake about it, this guy was, in all likelihood, trying to kill everyone aboard that plane. Yet, he is charged only with trying to destroy an aircraft!

Amazingly, even the government is reportedly doubting or at least wondering whether or not current security polices and procedures are working: "But lawmakers are already calling for hearings, and the government may order a review. As President Barack Obama received regular updates on the investigation from his staff, his national security and policy aides have been asking whether the policies the U.S. has in place are working." Can you imagine how long such hearings will take before our government reaches a conclusion. After all, it took them 60 to 90 minutes to notify the crews of only 120 other flights that a terrorist act had just been attempted and to confirm that all the other flights were safe. If the flight in question had been hijacked, instead of a lone bomber trying to blow it up, imagine if you will just how many other flights might have been hijacked and made it to their destinations of destruction, like those on 9/11, if it took up to 90 minutes to notify all the crews of such an attempt. (See:
http://www.1010wins.com/Alleged-Terrorist-Known--Not-Considered-a-Threat/5977168.) Whom are they kidding with regard to whether or not security measures are working - of course they are not working, they cannot even get other flight crews notified in a reasonable amount of time let alone implement security measures that work!

If you really want airline security that works, go to the Israelis and look to El Al. Their security measures work. Their security measures would also piss off a lot of people here in the USA and around the world if they were implemented everywhere but, and this is a big BUT, they would also thwart terrorists. To my knowledge, El Al has never had a commercial passenger plane successfully hijacked and never had one blown up by a terrorist and has never even allowed a terrorist with a bomb or other such device aboard one of their planes. They have a strict security protocol in place and believe me it saves lives by preventing hijackings and other terrorist attacks on their aircraft. Folks, we do not need knee jerk reactions made by a bunch of jerks, what we need are good and strong security procedures put in place that may upset or inconvenience passengers (at least until they get used to them) but that will definitely prevent things like this near catastrophe on Christmas Day.

Now not only is the government at fault here. You and I are at fault too. We need to demand strict polices and procedures concerning air travel security. Why - because it will prevent terrorism and save lives. We need to remember that when we travel aboard an aircraft we are not enjoying one of our rights. We are enjoying a privilege. It is something for which we pay, and for which we need to follow rules, and during which we are the guests or customers of a private enterprise. We are in their facility, on their aircraft, and need to abide by their rules within reason. Within reason means everyone should be screened by machine, x-ray and sniffer, for contraband. Personal searches with a wand should include everyone. Personal patdown searches should include anyone who acts at all suspicious and should also include random searches of at least 1/2 the passengers on any flight. Every piece of luggage should be inspected by machine and by a person. Yes every piece. If all these measure mean you pay more for flying, tough. If it means you have to be at the airport 3 hours before you fly - tough. if it means that one plane full of people is saved - well isn't that wonderful.

Before I close, let me address one more knee jerk reaction. This one on the part of the crew of the particular flight that was targeted by Abdulmutallab. After the flames were extinguished, after he was subdued, after he probably was bound in some manner, where did the flight crew place him? They put him in the first row of seats. The put him as close to the cockpit as they could have done and still have him in a passenger seat. Tell me folks, what is it that was going on in the mind of the moron that arrived at that decision? Did they think that whatever method they used to control him was inescapable. Did they not even consider that he might, from that vantage point, be able to make an attempt at breaching the cockpit. Did they not even consider he may have had accomplices on the aircraft and that him causing a further commotion up near the cockpit (the control area of the aircraft, the part which any terrorist would love to breach so he could crash the plane) would cause them to zero in only on him and therefore miss what an accomplice might be doing elsewhere because of concern he may breach the cockpit. It absolutely amazes me that someone could have been so foolish as to have placed him in the first row, but that is what has been reported as having been done.

We are at the mercy of fools when we fly in the airlines, in the government and among our fellow passengers. Luckily we are also sometimes under the wing of dumb luck and of heroes. Even if everything that stopped Abdulmutallab from igniting the bomb or device and destroying the aircraft thereby killing everyone aboard was due to the actions of one man, it is still in part due to dumb luck - at least for the other passengers - that such happened. Why? Well, I guess because of where he was seated, because he was awake and not in a drunken slumber (I am not even implying he drinks just saying it is lucky he was not snockered), because he was paying attention, because he had the balls to actually do something, because he was not a sheeple, because he was in fact a hero and folks let me tell you that people like him are few and far between. The first to take action when action is need, the first to dive right into Harm's hands let alone Harm's way. The first to realize, hell - something has to be done otherwise we are all dead.

Now what has been done for that man. His name has been mentioned on television. He was seen in a brief video as of this morning, right hand bandaged (I think from burns he received when subduing the bad guy) explaining what he did. I wonder though, why no accolades as a hero. I wonder not how much reward he will be given but I wonder how soon he will be forgotten. Why? Because that is the way we are. We would rather reward someone for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a terrorist who actually blew up a plane rather than reward someone who actually action to prevent a tragedy and save hundreds of lives. Why is that? That is because the airlines tell you not to take action, heck they even demand that law enforcement officers not take any actions until notified by a flight crew member to do so. Lucky for this flight crew and all the passengers that this guy did not wait for anyone. If it was up to me, this man would be given free passage anywhere in the world for the remainder of his life aboard any airline, train, bus or ship on which he wanted to travel. In addition he would be given a reward, not a medal, not a citation, but a real reward for saving lives. Something around a million dollars sounds about right. If he is lucky though, maybe he can do a TV show, or write a book, or get his picture on a Wheaties box. As for the million bucks, he deserves more than that, but I doubt he will see a penny of a reward for his brave actions that prevented a disaster. That is a sad commentary on all of us.

What will happen though is more likely to be this: Airline and government security regulations will be heightened. It will be a pain in the butt to travel from now until about the next high travel season - would that be spring break. Then people will moan and groan and complain about what a terrible hardship it is to have to go through security for an extra 15 minutes or half hour, and about how embarrassed they were to have to be searched or x-rayed, and they will threaten lawsuits, and the airlines and the government will relax the stricter regulations and will be back, if not to square one, then to square 2 and folks we should already be at square 10 by now. Then it will happen all over again. Well, maybe not the part about Dumb Luck and a single hero saving the day, just the heightened security measures - that is after a terrorist successfully hijacks or blows up a plane the next time around. Our attitude about this all is a joke and folks, unless we change our attitude and become serious about our security and safety at the cost of our convenience, then the only ones left laughing will be the terrorists.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top A' The World Ma...

...well, maybe I am not at the top of the world by I am now a member of the Lap Top crowd. That pretty much makes me feel at the top of the world anyhow. My wife gave me a Hewlett Packard (HP) Lap Top Computer for Christmas. I almost fell over when I realized what it was in the box. I really was floored. It is the most thoughtful gift i have received from her in years, something I would be bound to like and something I will definitely use a lot of the time. It is especially a nice gift because I am leaving for Phoenix on Monday for 3 months and was not going to have computer access in the apartment complex in which my job is putting me up. Yeah, they have Wi-fi and all that but unlike a hotel with a business center and a computer or two for the guests, this is a bring your own computer type of deal. Now I can bring my own.

As for the new computer, it seems to have a good number of bells and whistles. It is the HP Pavilion dv7, dv7-3065xdx model. What that model means, at least in this particular case, is that it comes with:

An AMD Turion II Ultra Dual Core Mobile Processor running at 2.4 Ghz with 2 MB of L2 cache

17.3 inch HD screen

500 GB Hard drive

4MB of RAM

802 11bg WLAN

Blue Ray ROM with LightScribe SuperMulti DVD R/RW drive

ATI Radeon HD 4200 Graphics card with 128 MB

Windows 7 Home Premium

8 Cell Lithium Battery

HP Webcam

5 in 1 Digital Card reader

3 Expansion ports

An HP Remote Control (Why I would need a remote for a laptop is beyond me)

Here is a link to the specs from the HP site:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01868468&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=4041777

I suppose that is a lot of bells and whistles for a notebook computer. Still though there is one thing I cannot figure, the 128MB video card. I would have expected at least a 256MB or better yet a 512MB card for today's video memory hungry applications. That is, I hope, an easy fix and I expect to get a new video card pronto. I may bring it back today to see if they will exchange it for one with a better graphics card. Then again the website seems to indicate that this particular video card can have memory added to it (is that possible?). If they can somehow put more memory on the graphics card I will upgrade it to 512 MB or 1GB. Don't tell my wife about me wanting an upgrade for the video card, it is just I am pretty sure some of my PC games will not play on that little memory. She is upset because I said something already about it - me and my big mouth.

The only other thing I really wish that would have been different about the whole set-up is I wish my wife had bought it at someplace other than Worst Best Buy. I cannot stand the place and try not to do business there unless they are the only ones with a product I need. Of course, Linda would not have known that I guess. She bought it there and they talked her into buying a useless security plan for $99.99 under which they made up restore discs and installed an unheard of brand of antivirus software. I did call them to tell them I want to opt out of the plan and will admit that surprisingly they said bring it in for an exchange for a new one without the virus software installed on it. Maybe they are improving.

As for the computer, despite my being picky, I really do love it! It is probably the best present I have gotten in years, certainly the best one ever from my dear wife.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, December 25, 2009

Who Was That Masked Man?

Well maybe he was not wearing a mask but for all I can glean from the news reports he may as well have been wearing a mask. I am referring to the young man whom a passenger of Northwest Flight 253 was speaking about in the following quote in White House: Failed Airline Bombing Was Attempted Act of Terrorism at FoxNews.

"Jafri said he was seated three rows behind the passenger and said he saw a glow, and noticed a smoke smell. Then, he said, "a young man behind me jumped on him.""

That man appears to be a hero. From all that has been reported so far he is the first to have taken action when suspected terrorist Abdul Mudallah allegedly attempted to set of a bomb or incendiary device aboard the flight as it was about to land in Detroit. My guess is that others on the aircraft joined the young hero in his successful attempt to stop Mudallah from causing a major catastrophe; there were a reported 278 passengers on that plane. It has been reported that Mudalla claimed to have been associated with Al Qaeda and at least one report I read said he claimed he was acting under orders from Al Qaeda, see the article:
Al-Qaida link in failed plane attack.

Is this the wake up call we need or was this guy just a psycho. Even if he is a real terrorist, and if he was actually acting under orders of Al Qaeda, I doubt that the American people will fully realize the import of this event, that being: They still hate us and are trying to destroy us one bit at a time. The they are radical Islamists, and they are getting help from those in Islam, and those in Washington (as in DC) who remain silent while it happens. Of course there will be an outcry if these stories and allegations are verified and security at the airports will increase. You can bet though more such attacks or at least attempts will continue. Maybe not on a plane, maybe next time in a crowded railway station, or in a crowded restaurant, or in a school during classes, wherever it is you can bet there will be lots of people around. The terrorists love effect and they love to better the odds of them winning. The more people injured or killed, by a single suicide bomber, the greater the effect and the more the odds get moved toward being in their favor.

Be careful. Stay on the lookout for anything suspicious. Report suspicious activity to the police. Stay safe, but if necessary, do what the young man on the plane did and be prepared to risk it all to save some lives, one of which may be your own. Don't have the attitude that you cannot make a difference. I don't know if the lady who was reported, in the article
Explosive device set off aboard airliner as saying the following had a defeatist attitude or if maybe she did something to help, but if you think like this before getting involved chances are you have already lost much of the fight: "It was terrifying, I think we all thought we weren't going to land, we weren't going to make it." No, not everyone thought they would not make it; some people had the foresight to realize they could make a difference and had the courage to do something about it and prevent a tragedy from unfolding. My hat goes off to that masked young man and the others who assisted him in subduing the suspect and putting out the flames. I am sure he was probably scared, the others who assisted him likewise. The thing is though they decided to do something instead of just give into the fear that they were going to die. They may have been scared, so scared they took action, but action is exactly that which was necessary and was certainly better than be scared into giving up.

All the best,
Glenn B
MERRY CHRISTMAS

Ballseye's Gun Shots 45 - Remington 870 Revisted - The New and The Old

Ah, the Remington 870 pump action shot gun. I have owned one for about 23 to 25 years or so now and whenever I take it in hand it brings back memories. memories of my first big buck (heck my only big buck), and of hunting rabbits and squirrels, and of teaching my son how to shoot a real man's gun (yes ladies, i said a real man's gun - get over it), and of countless hours of tactical training and practice with it but mostly it brings back memories of sore shoulder over and over again! Despite the kick, despite the aches and the bruises, I keep on shooting it because I know that the Remington 870 is about the best all around shotgun I have ever owned.

Besides owning one, I have also been issued one at work for many years now. In fact, I have been issued three of them at work if I have the count correct. The first was an old fashioned Remington 870 with wood stock and fore grip. Then a few to several years ago now, when that first one I had been issued was retired for a newer model of 870, I was issued one with black synthetic stocks. Not all that long ago, I was issued another with black synthetic stocks because the issue on in the middle was having problems. Yes, even a gun I love can have its share of problems, but to tell the truth that was the first 870 that I fired that ever had any recurring issues. It would not feed properly no matter how hard you operated the pump. It would feed but with difficulty that could sometimes require two to three pump actions on the part of your pumping arm. That would not be good so to the armory it went for repair. They sent me a new one.

I have got to say there are some things about these newer models that I like over the older ones we had. They come with a ghost ring sight on the receiver. Heck, the rear sight being on the receiver, instead of on the barrel is a plus as I see it. My old issued gun, and the one I own, also an old timer, have the rear sight on the rear end of the barrel. The new ones also have a much broader front post sight. The Ghost Ring system makes for rapid target acquisition in daylight. The sights also have a glow in the dark dot on the front post, and the rear sight has two such dots for a three point night sighting system.

One thing I do not like on the new ones is that there is no tension cap to retain the magazine spring once you take the cap off of the end of the magazine tube. In other words, the spring can and will fly out of the tube if you are not careful. Of course the retention cap was not a sure thing, they could come loose but rarely did. The big pain here is that when you reassemble to gun, getting and keeping the spring inside the mag tube is difficult, to say the least, until you have the end cap on. You cannot add a retention cap because the magazine is now shaped slightly differently.

Just about everything else, of practical matter, on them is the same. So, I like em both, but sure do miss the magazine spring retention cap. I just shot about 2 weeks ago for qualifications. I usually do very well with the shotgun, getting a fist to hand sized group at 25 yards when shooting rapidly from an unsupported standing position. This time though I was surprised to see that my group was opened up to about 10 to 12 inches, maybe even a bit more. I had pretty much shot a circular pattern around the target center. I figured it was due to my shoulders and neck aching a lot. Tonight I found out differently. Tonight I was getting the shotgun ready for my upcoming work trip to Phoenix. As I picked it up I noticed the rear sight looked to be sitting far back on the receiver at a weird angle. I picked up the gun and the rear sight swiveled around loosely. It had looked funny because it was turned around backwards when I saw it. It was about as loose as it could be without falling off. When I picked up the shotgun again to examine it closer, without even touching the sight, the sight fell off. I got it back in place after some several tries, but I will have to have an armorer at work give it the once over and nod of approval before I carry it in the field.

I obviously had not noticed this before but you can bet that is why I had such a lousy group when I qualified recently. I will take it on the trip and have an armorer check it out. I imagine it is okay now, but I don't want to bet my life on it not being an armorer. I will say this, that never happened with the older models I was issued nor with the one I own. Oh well, lucky for me it happened at the range and I found it at home - instead of when needing it when my life depended on it. Still though, I do not like problems like that at all; it does not give me much confidence in the gun. I can only hope the screw was simply not tightened properly at the factory and now that it is tight this will not recur.

The one in the picture is the latest one I was issued at work.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pope Benedict - One Tough Hombre

I mean at 82 years old, to take a knockdown, then get up and go to say Christmas Eve mass as if nothing had happened, well he has got to one heck of a tough guy.

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The apparent psycho who tried to do him harm looked much younger than him the way she jumped over the barrier to get at him. Did I say apparent psycho, she knew enough to wear bright red to be highlighted on television! She also seemd to have an awful lot of room by herself up at the barrier and swung her legs over it amazingly without hitting anyone else in the crowd. Think she had some accomplices? I would tend to think so.

Very poor security for the leader of the Catholic Church, then again, I guess really tough security would sort of go against the whole idea of the church. Still though, it seems they could protect him somewhat better. Anyway, nice to see he was uninjured. I do wonder about the Cardinal who was also knocked down, heard he went to the hospital for a checkup.


All the best,
Glenn B

The Holiday Rush - Over At Last...

...at least it is for me. I was out most of the day doing my annual Christmas Eve shopping and futzing around. As opposed to most years past, I did not go into NYC today. I did that yesterday but even that was not my usual. I usually go to St. Patrick's Cathedral, yeah I know I am not religious. I still love it there, perhaps because of my Catholic upbringing or because it is just a very spiritual place for me. I did try to get into the church of St. Francis of Assisi on 31st Street, but it was closed. I got there too late, God started keeping hours when I was back in my 20s. I also visit what is another very spiritual place for me, the top of the world, where earth meets the heavens, at least in NYC. That would be the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I thought I was going there, got side tracked, got crushed, crammed, stomped on, pushed, shoved and outright discombobulated in Macy's and forgot all about it. I miss not having gone to those two churches and the top of the world very much indeed; I really don't know what happened that got me so turned around as to not visit at least one of them. Oh well, later for them, I hope.

My rush is over though. No more shopping, no more scurrying about for last minute presents or last minutes items at the supermarket, and I did remember to fill up the car with gas for tomorrow when we are due to go to my sister's place out east. I am scheduled to pick up my mom at 10Am at the assisted living facility and then drive her out to my sister's place. That will be a spiritual experience all of its own; it could make up for missing the two churches and the Empire State Building. When I think of it, it was my mom who got me liking the Empire State Building as much as I do. She took me there, I took my kids there, hopefully my kids will take their children there too.

Once I got home today, I remembered that there were a bunch of presents to pack. I ate a quick dinner of a wonderfully roast chicken that my wife made while I was out, then I got to wrapping. That is all out of the way as far as I know. I tell ya - I really think everything is done. Well, except for bringing up the dozen and a half yellow roses I bought for the wife today, everything is done. They will be a nice surprise for her tomorrow morning when she comes downstairs to take out the dogs.

Wait a minute, I do have yet another task to complete. I have to fix the new Christmas Stockings that are currently hanging off the mantle over the fireplace. Our old ones got ratty after about 20 years or so, so the Linda bought new ones. The thing is that I had written every one's names on the old ones - one for Mama, one for Celina and one for Brendan, one for Oma (my mother-in-law) and one for granny (my mother) and Linda made one for me. What I did was wrote out the names in Elmer's glue and then poured green glitter over the glue. The stockings were red with white trim at the top. I put the names on the white trim. They looked great. Well it took me 2 weeks to buy the glitter but I finally got it today. Hard stuff to come by now that they sell glitter pens and glitter glue; but I wanted the real thing and it took some looking to find it. Tonight, when everyone is asleep, I will do some side work moonlighting as one of Santa's helpers and get the job done.

For now, I'll just enjoy my red wine, The Best of Jethro Tull, and writing my blog and reading some others; and of course, I'll enjoy this one of my favorite times of the year - one that is full of the spirit of love and of giving - and that is a good thing indeed. With that all said, let me say one more thing:

Merry Christmas to all of you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Dumb Luck?

Someone emailed me the below video today. It was described as a video of the World's Luckiest Train Track Inspector. I have got to admit, if the video is a shot of a real occurrence, the guy in it has got to be one lucky man, if not also a dumb ass. My brothers-in-law (wife's brothers) both work for the NYC Transit Authority. Both have had their share of track work. I don't think even they ever heard of anything like this before - sure never told me if they did.



One has to wonder if the guy in the video is still alive. I mean, you would think that he, being a track worker, would have some idea as to whether or not a train may be scheduled to come through that area of track on which he was working and even if not then he would at least give a good look in both directions before stepping onto the tracks. As for his athletic abilities, wow he is one heck of a good jumper. I can only imagine the shakes he got after the adrenalin rush that must have flooded his system. I bet he looks from now on; heck maybe he is even looking for a new profession.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blizzard 2009 - Not Too Bad...

...is how I have to look at last night's blizzard. I measured several spots in my backyard and several out front of my house. Out back almost every spot I measured was between 14" and 14.5", out front they were all between 10-12". So if I lived on the other side of the street I would be shoveling more is how I see it. Just the way the snow lands. A snowstorm like this is unusual around here especially in December but we were lucky because it could have been more. Back in 2006 we got well over 2 feet of snow but then again that was in February. In that storm, NY City had its all time record snowfall of 26.9 inches, that is about 25 miles west of where I am now. I know, not a lot of snow for places like Masena or Buffalo, NY - but an awful lot in NYC and just east of NYC in Nassau County on Long Island. Further east on Long island, in North Haven, NY (very close to Sag Harbor) my sister measured 25 inches in her yard in a level spot. Yes it could have been worse.


Back to it not being as bad as it could have been. Lucky for me I have the habit of going out when a few to several inches has fallen and clearing it away so there is not as much the next morning. I did about 6 inches worth last night. Also, lucky for me, my neighbor let me keep my government car in his driveway overnight. If on the street it would have gotten a ticket for obstructing the snowplows and they would have buried it. There is no room for it in my own small driveway with my own cars parked therein. As I was digging out my driveway and just contemplating going over to dig out my G ride from the neighbor's driveway, I saw he was stuck in the snow in his small SUV. I dug his 4 wheel drive out of the snow just outside of his driveway with the ass end of the car sticking out in the street stuck in the pile left behind by the plows. Yep kiddies, SUVs get stuck in snow too when it is deep enough.

That was a bit of a chore but I figured since he allowed me to leave my government car in his driveway overnight, I owed him more than a thank you. Right after that he brought out a snow blower and did my front sidewalk. That was nice. He then told me his back was killing him and asked if I would continue on to his sidewalk. I know his health is not the best, so it was my pleasure to help him out even though his sidewalk is about 3 to 4 times as long as mine (corner lot). Man what a breeze it was with that brute. It ate it up and spit it out and took minimal effort to push along. That left me only my front walk, and getting my work car out of his driveway. Just getting the driveway clear for my G ride was a lot of work as I did that with the shovel. Only shoveled as wide as the car in a path about 12 to 15 feet long but lots of snow was built up at the curb from the plows. Got it done though and got the car right out and parked back on the street. As I said, not too bad, could have been worse. Lucky I did not have to shovel all of the sidewalk on my house and his without the aid of the snow blower. I have done it before when only a few to several inches and it is a lot of work. With what we had last night, it was probably a heart attack waiting to happen. Now that I am getting older and Arthur I. Tis is a constant companion, I may have to cough up enough for a snow blower. That will wait till next year since I will not be here this winter with my Phoenix trip upcoming. As for this winter I foresee my sons back getting stronger. (Thanks Brendan!)

Right now, I am typing and listening to Nat King Cole's Christmas For Kids CD. Great stuff. I am also enjoying a nice big cup of coffee and letting the Aleve do its stuff (which usually is not much but I guess it helps a little). Of course, if I was a kid or even a teenager (maybe even in my young 20s) I'd be out there now waxing up the rungs of my Flexible Flier and screaming full blast down the steepest hill I could find trying to crash into one of my buddies (that's one of the reasons me and Arthur I. Tis are such good friends nowadays). As for me now, I guess I'll spend the rest of the day puttering around the house and maybe I'll clean my guns and oh yes - I'll be hoping we do not get any more snow for awhile.

All the best,
Glenn B

Snow Shoveling Induced Insomnia

Yep, it is 0330 and I am still up and wide awake. I suppose getting pumped up shoveling last night has kept me going. Oh well, time to hit the hay in a few minutes. When I do wake up I think that about the only thing good for the day will be some gun cleaning and of course - more shoveling. I shoveled about 5-6 inches before and there is more than double that now where I already shoveled. Yowza!

Hopefully we will not be snow bound. I wonder if Al Gore is in town?

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Blizard of 09...

...is doing its best to try to knock down our power lines making it impossible for me to blog, or watch TV or make phone calls (well the phone does have battery back-up for a few hours) so I will get a quick blog in right now. (by the way, I am not exagerrating when I call it a blizzard, I am repeating what I just read in online weather accounts.) Besides doing its darnedest to knock out the power, the storm is also doing its best to make me shiver with cold. Fact is though, I am sitting at my computer sweating like it was 90 and am enjoying a rather large dram of fine spirits on the rocks. I am not sweating because it is hot in my home, the thermostat is set at 62. Nor am I sweating because of the demon rum (err - whiskey in this case). I am sweating because I was outside not too long ago and was shoveling around my house. It sure isn't as easy as it was even a few years ago. Every joint was creaking and now every joint is aching, well almost all of them anyhow. So I figured I had better relax quickly and thoroughly and take something for the pain. Since I have nothing other than aspirin or Aleve, I figured I have a drink instead. I'd rather not mix any of them so my Saturday night drink is just a wee bit bigger than usual.

My guess is that so far we have had at least 5 to maybe 6 inches of the white stuff, and that was where it was flat and evenly distributed. It is pretty fine and powdery and because it is in the mid 20s (reports says it is 25 here) the snow is pretty dry. It is, perhaps, the kind of snow that skiers dream about waking up to on the slopes. It is the kind of snow I dream about when they say we are going to be hit by a major winter storm that will deposit anywhere from 7 inches to 14 inches of snow that I need to shovel (at 3:30AM I saw this had been changed to 12-18 inches expected). If we have to have snow, well then - I am happy when it is like this. Drier snow, fine powder, is just easier to shovel than the really heavy wet snow we are more likely to get.

The storm promises to drop more snow, and the weather man is saying it may also be somewhat spectacular in that we may also get some thunder and lighting. That is always somewhat weird to me, you just don't see lots of thunder/snowstorms, at least not around here but it is something we seem to have had more of in recent years. Must be due to all that man made whatever. If the lightning comes through the clouds it will sure brighten things up with all that powder on the ground and should put on quite a show. If the dogs start barking loud enough tonight to wake me up my first guess will be a thunder storm.

All the best,
Glenn B

Hectic X 10

No it's not due to it being one week before Christmas, well not completely anyhow. I kind of figured that Christmas time would be less hectic than in recent years this time around if only because I got shopping done for almost all the men in the family over a month ago. That includes Brendan, my brother, my two brothers-in-law (my wife's brothers), and my other brother-in-law (my sister's husband). They are all getting something small but nice. I also got the shopping done for my wife's gift last week. She got just what she wanted, it is set up already, I figured early delivery was better than late. It's a SONY 52 LCD TV. That set me back a pretty penny I will admit, but she is worth it even if she cannot stand me. It will give her a retreat so to speak. So, there is not much shopping left for Christmas gifts. I have to get something for my daughter and I already have something in mind that I'll pick up while on lunch break at work this week or while on the way home. Then there is my sister and my mother and mother-in-law but I think my wife took care of theirs.

So as you can see, the shopping is almost done and not causing much of a problem. What is causing a bit of commotion, I suppose at least for me, is that I am leaving for Phoenix 3 days after Christmas on the 28th. There is not much time to get ready for that with this also being Christmas time and there is a lot of getting ready to be done. It is not only packing and such, heck first I have to find things I need to take along. What I mean is mostly gear. I just changed cars at work and emptied out the trunk of the old car and put stuff in my garage.. My son moved most of it and did not pay attention to where he put this or that or another thing I will be needing. So the search has begun. While searching I realized what a mess is our shed and garage and basement. So I have been cleaning up too as I search. That is always chaotic fun for me.

I also have to get my arse in gear to get the Soldiers Holiday Care Package ready. I have some stuff but not a lot. I suppose I will be at Costco today picking up items for the package. Yes I keep saying package. There will only be one this year. I am footing the bill for all of it, no problem, it just means there will be less than when I received help from my readers, in the past, to help give our troops a nicer Christmas and Chanukah. I hope that the lack of donations this year means that each and every one of you who has donated in the past has decided to send a package yourself to our troops in Harm's way this holiday season! I figure to send about $100 to $150 worth of goodies; I think it will put a smile on my assigned Soldier's face. I hope so. If you send something, even a package with $10 or $20 worth of items in it will help make it easier for one of our young men or women who are on foreign soil facing the prospect of a cold, depressing, and lonely Christmas or Chanukah.

Got to go, I am in the middle of setting up our tree and just took a blog break.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 44 - Oh Henry...

...what a fine little survival rifle you have made. It fires both standard and high velocity .22LR, has a semi-automatic action, uses an 8 round box magazine and comes with two of them, is compact and lightweight, takes down easily (pretty much by just unscrewing a screw in the pistol grip and unscrewing a collar where the barrel and receiver meet - no tools required), stores within itself (all components, other than the stock, store within the stock), and it supposedly floats (or so I have heard). The bolt handle is pretty small and is collapsible as it needs to be in order to accomplish the self storing feat of this rifle. The safety lever is located on the right side rear of the receiver and is meant to be operated by the thumb of the right hand. The magazine release is inside the front of the trigger guard. The Overall it is about 35 inches long when assembled but when taken down it is closer to 17 inches long. Its weight is an astonishing 2.5 pounds because a lot of the rifle is plastic - including a barrel shroud - the barrel itself is a fairly thin steel tube covered by plastic which in turn is covered by Teflon; that low weight combined with its takedown and self storing capabilities makes it a great addition to a grab and go pack. It comes in three finishes or color variations of black, silver and camo I am of course writing about the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle, read more about it here:

http://www.henryrepeating.com/h002_survival.cfm.

If you read the info on it at the Henry Repeating Arms site (link above) you may note that it says this rifle breaks down into three parts. That just ain't so. The actual breakdown is into 6 parts. They would be the barrel, the receiver assembly, two (2) magazines, the stock and the butt cap. Even if you leave one magazine in the magazine well, which is necessary if storing both magazines in the stock, and consider the buttstock and butt cap as a single part, that would leave the barrel, receiver assembly, stock and spare magazine - or 4 parts. Yes, I can be pretty persnickety at times.

I have owned one of these diminutive rifles for several years now; mine is the black version. It is the only firearm of which the purchase was due to my wife! Some years back she got me a gift certificate at a local gun shop. The gun shop owner was a crook, super high prices, but I was able to pick one of these up from him at about only $25 over what it would have cost elsewhere (and the gift certificate was not returnable nor did they make change on it except for credit left over) so I bought one of these. Of course I ruined a good thing by telling my wife about the guy being a crook - she figured I was faulting her for getting the gift certificate there and has never gotten me another for a gun - not anywhere! Oh well....

As for mine, I have had a blast with it. It fires pretty reliably, can hit the broad side of a barn (and smaller targets) at out to about 20 or 25 yards and is just a fun plinker. As for betting my life on it as a survival gun, I don't know about that - maybe and maybe not. If it was the only gun available, well then, fine - it would make a good survival rifle. If there were other, more accurate, rifles available then I might have to go with one of them. These guns are not bad shooters but the trigger pull leaves a lot to be desired. Their sights also leave a lot to be desired, at least do the sights that came on mine. The front sight is adjustable for windage and just a push on it with my thumb causes it to move. That is not good because it means the front sight is easily pushed out of proper alignment. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and is a peep sight sort of design but it too leaves something to be desired. Despite those glitches I can do fairly well with it out to about 15-20 yards, maybe even 25 yards. I figure I could probably hit a animal the size of a gray squirrel at 15 to 2o yards fairly reliably and a larger rabbit at out to 25 yards.

While this gun will feed and reliably function using a wide variety of .22LR ammunition, because of the sights and because I think it less inherently accurate than some other 22 rifles I have shot and or own, I suggest finding the ammo that works best in it not only for reliability of function but for accuracy. As you may or may not be aware, even an expensive 22 target rifle will vary in how well you hit the target because of different ammo you use in it and different types and brands of .22LR ammo can vary considerably in how accurate it is out of any given gun. In this gun that effect seems to be multiplied to some degree. Again, I am not saying it is terribly inaccurate, it is simply not as accurate as I would wish it to be, or as I am sure it could be if a few things about it were changed, for a rifle on which my life might depend in a survival situation. I seemingly am not the only one who thinks about this rifle the same way along these lines. See what Gun Test magazine had to say about it here:

http://www.henryrepeating.com/survival_guntests.cfm.

Like the guys at Gun Test Magazine though, I give it a 'buy it' recommendation. If you are looking for a fun, lightweight, compact for storage, rifle in 22 caliber - this could be the one.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Soldiers' Holiday Care Packages

Surprisingly, at least to me, there has not been one red cent donated to my efforts to raise money for a Soldiers' Holiday Care Package this year. That's okay, I am not complaining, just saying I am flabbergasted as to why that has happened. Last year and the year before, there were plentiful donations and I was able to put together some really nice packages for our troops. This year, I will still put together some really nice packages for our troops too, just without any financial help from anyone else. I'll start shopping in earnest tomorrow and try to get the package(s) out by Saturday. Yes, that will be later than in the last two years but I was sort of hoping for some help and holding out with that hope. No more though, no time for that, so a shopping I will go.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pretty Impressive Video - Pretty Impressive Man

This video has been around since at least November. I do not know how I missed it for almost a full month. This is what it is coming to, you know it and I know it. America is going to change thanks to the president who ran on a platform of change, I think though the change will not be what he expected but change it will be!



All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Chanukah

Happy Chanukah To All Who Celebrate It. I wish you a safe and happy holiday for all eight days of it and wish you b'hatzlacha in all you do.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Deer Get The Last Laugh

Once again I have been skunked. The deer that were in the Cascade Valley State Forest yesterday are still there today. There was a car, a pickup truck and an SUV parked along the road yesterday when I arrived and throughout the day I did not hear even one shot from the state forest area. I had thought it would be a good day for deer because I saw some out along the road on the way up. It was a bit foggy or misty, overcast, promised to snow and rain, and was just the miserable kind of day on which deer love to roam about during daylight. I decided to still hunt, no sitting in one place for me since the ground was covered with about 2- 3 or 4 inches of wet snow. I saw lots of tracks in that snow. First thing I saw was a set of bear tracks. Probably made the day or night before. They crossed the stream, that runs through much of this piece of state land from north to south, right near where I had been on stand the two weekends before this hunt. Had I been on stand on Saturday instead of Sunday I might have had bear steaks in the freezer right now and a belly full of bear stew. I then walked over to the area in which Brendan had had his stand and found three sets of deer tracks. Oh well! I followed them for a ways until they went onto private property. They too looked to be about a day old. Don't ask how to tell how old they are, it is a bit complicated and takes some telling. If you were there with me I would explain why I thought they were that old. Could have been days older, but I think not fresher than from at least a few hours before. Well anyway, after they veered onto private property I turned north and found other deer tracks. I figure to have come across about a dozen sets of tracks in all. As I walked it started to snow. The snow was crisp not mushy and wet. No rain was good and a cold snow was better. About a couple of hours later it changed to light rain, then steady medium to heavy. My hunting coat is not waterproof but did not get slogged down too badly. Underneath it I had on a waterproof inner jacket/liner (from my sons waterproof hunting outfit) so I stayed dry. My pants were just old camo BDUs. They got wet at the bottom but not bad. Funny how the tops stay dry even in a downpour. My boots stayed waterproof through about 5 stream crossings but finally got soaked through from all the rain. My feet were wet for about a good 2 hours before I called it quits at around 3:30. I had another hour to go. Not sure why I quit. Yeah I was getting wet, but was not cold. That was amazing considering how wet my feet had gotten - they were soaked.

I suppose I left early because I just did not want to get any wetter and then get cold. I also wanted to hit the road before things froze over. I guessed the roads were sure to be treacherous. I was right on that one. Within the first 100 miles I saw at least 10 accidents - one about every 10 miles. One, on a curve going up hill, had three or four vehicles off the road slammed into a cliff side. The left lane was open and the semi in front of me was going up the hill sideways. I was already committed to the left lane and tried it. I achieved all of about 2 mph on the sheer ice. A state police officer stood at the roadside watching me and pointing me out to a stranded motorist and shaking his head. I guess he figured I was doomed. I made it. I guess the police stopped traffic for a while right after I got through because I did not see another set of headlights behind me for the next 10 to 15 minutes. Then a slew of vehicles passed me - all doing about 60-70 - apparently trying to make up time. I was driving at the breakneck speed of about 40-45mph. I imagine that some of the other accidents I saw involved at least some of those who had passed me. I hit a few more icy patches but I took them at a reasonable speed and got home safely. I was truly amazed (always am) at how fast some jerks drive in SUVs because they have 4 wheel drive. At least 1/2 of the accidents, I think more, I saw involved SUVs, all probably because the drivers were going to fast and lost control on ice. Mind you, if you count, and I did, SUVs do not account for 1/2 of the vehicles on the road at any time, but they usually account for more half or more of those going too fast in bad weather.

My return trip home was 2 hours or so longer than my trip to the hunting spot had been. I suppose I should point out that 1/2 hour was set aside for a nap in Roscoe, NY. I was just too sleepy to keep driving safely so caught a few z's. That helped a lot and then once refreshed I was on my way again. Good thing I stopped too what with all of the ice and accidents and the added hours to get home. The drive of 187 miles had taken me only 3 hours and 10 minutes to get there earlier in the day. The drive home took a bit longer at 5 hours and 15 minutes. The return trip was a bit nerve wracking and tiring with the extra 2 hours but I got home safely. As for the deer, well there is always next yearand I left them laughing. At what? Well, at my lack of success and at the picture of me leaving the woods after getting pretty drenched. I must have looked a funny sight at that.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Going Hunting...

...within a few hours; last day of deer season. So I had best get to sleep - don't ya think? A 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive to the Happy Hunting Grounds. Nope, I won't be there at 0430 but should be there by about 0800 or 0900 if I ever get some sleep tonight at all. Wish me luck. Goodnight!

All the best,
GB

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 43 - I Am Off To Do Some Christmas Shopping...

...and it made me think that maybe you have a shootist for whom you need to shop. Of course, while you are probably not about to buy him or her a new gun for Christmas (or Chanukah) my guess is you might like to buy him something to help him enjoy his firearms sport pursuits. So what is it that you can get for some, who shoots, or collects guns, without actually buying him or her a new gun. Instead of taking pot shots in the dark let me point your sights in the right direction so you hit the bull's eye when you put that shooting accessory under the tree or the menorah. (Do you actually put items under or next to the menorah?)

I love opening up whatever I find in my Christmas stocking. I usually only get something like a Mounds bar or three in there, but that's okay cause they are great. There are some shooting supplies or accessories that make great stocking stuffers. Small items like the following all fit well into the stocking hung by the chimney with care:


A Bore Light
Shooting Glasses
A Magazine Pouch
Silicone Gun Cloths
A Box of Ammunition
An NRA Membership
A Range membership

A Portable Gun Bench/Rest
A Portable Gun Cleaning Kit
A Set of Sand Bag Rifle Rests
A Spare Rifle or Pistol Magazine
A Small Gunsmith Screwdriver Set
A Gift Certificate at his local gun shop
A Bottle of Gun Oil like Breakfree CPL
A Pocket Knife (no not really anything to do with guns but guns guys usually like knives too)

The list of smaller things that can fit in as a stocking stuffer goes on and on. Of course, if you are somewhat more aware of your loved one's shooting needs or just wanting to give something a little bigger and put it under the tree or next to the menorah there are many other choices to make:


A Spotting Scope
A Shooters Vest
A Box of Targets
A Hunting Jacket
A Rifle or Pistol Case
A Rifle or Pistol Scope
A Range Membership
A Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
Shooting Muffs (hearing protectors)
A Gift Certificate for gun related items
A Few or Several Rifle or Pistol Magazines
A New Holster (you maybe better off buying a gift certificate with a holster maker)
A Firearms Book (like The Standard Catalogue of Firearms - The Collectors' Price and Reference Guide (for 2010) or The Blue Book of Gun Values or a firearms manual or a book about firearms' history)


Now if you are feeling really generous, you could go for the gusto:

A Case Ammunition
A Complete Reloading Kit
A Life Membership with the NRA
A Paid For Training Course such as that offered by Front Sight
A Gift Certificate for the price of a new gun at your local gun shop

Now you all know what you can give me, especially those ones in red or green to your loved one if he or she is a shootist. Chances are that anything you get them along these lines will be appreciated. Heck, it took my wife about 13 or 14 years before she bought me something related to shooting - a gift certificate at a local gun shop which I used to buy a rifle. Oh no, wait a moment, she did buy me that fleece pullover about 8 or 9 years into our marriage, I am wearing it today - great quality item. I suppose it is sort of related to shooting since she told me to wear it when hunting. I said no way, she got insulted. The thing is though, it has an awfully close resemblance to some of the colors of a whitetail deer! Oh well, it is my favorite sweater and I still have it and love it even if she maybe had hoped it would shorten our marriage!

If you do go out shopping for firearms accessories and such, and if you are going to buy something like ammunition, a gun case, a scope, magazines or whatever - make sure you are getting them for the right gun in the right caliber or size. If you are not sure, well then, a gift certificate may be the way to go.

By the way, as I mentioned above you can shop at your local gun shop but if they are price gougers like the ones around me you may want to set your sights on alternate sources for firearms accessories. Some places you can try are online sources such as: http://www.midwayusa.com/, http://www.sportsmansguide.com/, http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/, Natchez Shooters Supply, and the like. If you are more conventional and want to shop at a store other than a gun store, then try places like: Dick's Sporting Goods, The Sports Authority, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and Walmart or other stores that sell sporting goods.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Gun Shots 42 - Twas The Night Before Christmas At Ballseye's House

I can only hope that Clement Clarke Moore (or was it really Henry Livingston) can forgive me my transgressions with A Visit From St. Nicholas (aka: The Night Before Christmas or Twas The Night Before Christmas):


Twas The Night Before Christmas
At Ballseye's House
aka: A Visit From A Balless Prick
or: Ballseye's Happy Holiday Hopes
For Mrs. Ballseye

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was unarmed, not even the mouse.
The 45s were slung on our hips with care,
In anticipation a burglar would soon be there.
The children were nestled snug in their beds,
With dreams of .22 rifles in their heads.
Mama with her Colt, and papa shotgun on my lap
Had just snuggled close after setting our trap,
When out in the backyard there arose such a clatter
I jumped to my feet to see what was the matter.
On went the night vision goggles in an eerie green flash
I peered out the window to see a thief holding a gun and cash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Lit up this armed interloper creeping so slow.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a half-track sleigh pulled by an armored John Deere,
With a heavily armed ex-cop, so lively and quick
I knew in a moment, it was my saintly neighbor Nick!
More rapid that comets his bullets they came
As he shot and shouted and called each by name
"Now, Crasher! now, Lancer! Now, Death Dancer and Vixen!
On, Stompit! on Shoot-it! on, Blunderbuss and Blitzen!
"From the bottom of his torso, to the top of his head...",
He shouted, "...we like em alive, but we'll take em dead"!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Twin blued 38s were brought up, just under each eye,
And rat a tat tat, his bullets they flew
With flashes of fire, they all flew true.
When outside I joined the battle, I heard on the roof
An accomplice, who till then, had remained aloof.
As I brought up my shotgun while turning around
Down the chimney the crook went with nary a bound!
He was all dressed in black from his head to his foot
His clothes blended in with the chimney soot.
A bag of my neighbor's goods, he flung off his back
Nimbly dropping his loot while under attack!
His eyes how they widened, he did not look merry,
His cheeks they were pallid, no color of cherry.
No smile on his face, no Christmas ho-ho-ho,
The mask on his face had fallen down low.
The grip of a .380 pistol he held tight in his hand,
And as he landed on hearth, of my wife he made the demand:
Drop your gun to ground, and lay flat on your belly,
Or I'll shoot you dead and turn your brains to jelly."
He was dirty and nasty, undoubtedly no right jolly old elf
So I ran inside quickly, to protect family and self.
An evil look of his eye and a turn of his head,
Then gave me to know, I had everything to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And pointed his gun at me, oh what a jerk!
And when curving his finger astride of his trigger,
My wife showed him then, whose gun was bigger.
She sprang to her feet, her Colt reporting a bang
And immediately next, I 'd swear two bells rang.
Then I heard the crook exclaim, as he hobbled out of sight,
"She's shot me in my balls on this Christmas Eve night."

Of course, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukkah and a Happy New Year but should your holidays be interupted by a lowlife or two hoping to help themselves at your peril, here is hoping that you wind up the winner in any such encounter.

All the best,
GB