Friday, December 31, 2010

There Was A Moon Out Last Night, Rembering Nick Santamaria of the Capris

Yesterday afternoon, Nick Santamaria - a devoted husband and father, pretty nice guy, our neighbor and great singer left this world. It was only right that there was a moon out last night - a waning crescent - one of the prettiest moons - I have to think it was for him. You see, Nick was the original lead singer of and a songwriter for, The Capris. Their biggest hit, or at least most memorable song for me, was this one, There's A Moon Out Tonight:



Nick left singing many years ago and became a NY City Police Officer and made a career of it. After retirement from the job, he then then came back to singing. Once again it was as the lead singer of the Capris. They did oldies shows. As you can hear in this video, he had not lost it - his voice was still golden.



Sadly, Nick would not long remain as the lead singer for the Capris. Several years ago now, Nick was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Amazingly enough, even though he had a lung removed, he tried his best to keep at singing. Here is yet another video of him singing: There's A Moon Out Tonight, this one after doctors had removed one of his lungs. In this one, Nick explains what happened to him with the cancer. Then he sings. You can see, it wasn't easy for him to get through it but he did it and he still had it. That was in November 2007.



Soon afterward his singing career came to an end, it was a difficult choice for him to make. Nick's health problems remained, then yesterday, he lost the battle to live. His family and the rest of us lost him and his golden voice but heaven most certainly has gained a voice that is sure to compete with those of the angels.


On a personal note: My family and I will miss him. He was always nice to my wife and children. I am sure they will miss him in their own ways. I'll miss him calling me Greg (over the past 16 or 17 years that we had been his neighbors he almost never got my name right but that was okay), miss the occasional talk about politics or current events or about our gardens or about our kids, miss him out there in the deepest snow with his snowblower cleaning my sidewalk when I least expected it, miss sometimes shoveling for him when he no longer could get it done and my back was willing and able, and I will miss him shaking my fence. I don't think he ever knew I caught him at that, I don't remember ever telling him. He used to complain about my dogs barking at him if they and he were out in our adjoining backyards at the same time. Over the years, I often looked out the side window to see what they were barking at and there was Nick, at least a few times, shaking the fence and teasing the dogs as they just barked away at him and as he talked to them. I am sure he liked them pretty much when they were quiet but I think maybe he had a secret - that he liked them even more when they were barking at singing to him.

Our condolences to his family and loved ones.

All the best,
Glenn B

Couple of New Links Added To The Blog Roll

For your reading pleasure, I just added a couple more blogs to the blog roll, these are both under the new and improved header: Take A Shot With (not at) These Shootist Bloggers

In Jennifer’s Head (http://injennifershead.com/)

Violent Indifference (
http://violentindifference.blogspot.com/)

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 30, 2010

All That Snow and No Kids Out Playing

Yesterday I drove into work later than usual (worked later than usual too). That means I drove down several miles of residential streets to get there. As I was driving I noticed that something was missing - there were no kids out playing. Despite the fact that there were huge piles of snow everywhere, either from plows dumping it here and there or from people piling it up near he curb while shoveling there were no snow tunnels with kids crawling in and out of them, no snow forts with kids attacking them and other kids defending them, and there was not one snowball flying through the air. Likewise, I have not seen almost any kids out sleigh riding. I have passed spots that used to be literally covered by scores of sleigh riding kids right after a good snow and those places have been empty of children. Since Sunday I have seen only 3 kids with sleds.

It was not that long ago that my son would have been out there with his buddies having fun in the snow with all I mentioned above - maybe as recently as 7 or 8 years ago by my guess. Other kids used to do likewise all the way back to a very long time ago; so where are all the kids today? What are they doing instead of having snowball fights and sleigh riding? Is their a virtual snowball fight game out on Nintendo or Xbox? Does Wii have a virtual sleigh ride game? Or is it that kids just have become intolerable homebound wussies because their parents have steered them in that direction due to political correctness, police who would arrest them for assault if they throw a snowball or lawyers who would sue their parents for the family home and life savings if they broke a window or if someone slipped and fell on snow they got on the sidewalk while playing? Maybe I just drove past all the wrong places and they were out elsewhere but to tell the truth I have not seen more than 3 kids out enjoying themselves in the snow since Sunday! It just baffles me that they would forsake all that good, wholesome, healthy, normal type of active fun, that only comes with a good sized snowfall, for anything else.

All the best,
GB

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Can You Do The Burqa Bungle

The woman who is the subject of this video reportedly up in her alleged attempts to file false claims of racism against an Australian Police Officer. Watch the video at the below link, but read this first:

This is the type of crap that good law enforcement officers have to put up with all to often; and the cop in this video was obviously doing it all the right way as far as showing respect to the woman went.

The video is not dated, but there is a time stamp on the police cruiser video showing the event took place in July 2010; then the reporter says it happened 5 months ago which would seem to indicate this report is very recent.

Out of all the stuff in the video, the bearded Muslim guy near the end, who says that the judge should show compassion for the woman's children and drop the jail time, is the thing that gets me most. Did that woman, or the guy trying to get compassion for her kids, ever once stop to think that the officer might be married with his own children and how false accusations would have effected them had the accusations stood up. I doubt it and if she had thought of it my guess is it probably brought her pleasure to think the infidel's children would suffer.

Of course, there is also her lawyer's claim that another burqa clad woman filed the charges - not his client. I have often wondered just how ridiculously licentious a lawyer could get - now I know at least until another goes lower. I have put up with the likes of him for 31 years now and they never cease to amaze me as to how low they can go.

http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/Video.aspx?videoid=af53d2ac-f507-4e8d-983a-a5a259bbe6fc

All the best,
GB

Monday, December 27, 2010

More on The December 2010 Snowfall

I am going to guess that in my village we got about 14 to 16 inches with drifts piled up to at least 20 inches in places (like outside my side door and on my patio and on my front lawn). Luckily for me, I shoveled last night twice and my front sidewalk only had about 5 inches on it this morning. I figure that last night I got 6 inches cleaned off the first time, 6-8 the second time and then 5 inches more this morning - some of that being snow blown back onto my property by the wind and not just from the snowfall. The winds were pretty strong, I am guessing gusts up to 40 or 45 mph. Right now it is much calmer and it has not been snowing for hours though they say snow showers could be in store this afternoon.

Now that my property is shoveled clean and sprinkled with snow melt (don't want the mailman tripping or slipping), I am soon to be off to retrieve the government car that I left parked in a public parking lot yesterday before the white stuff got too deep to drive safely. Hopefully they have not ticketed it, it is a pay parking lot. Sundays were free so I did not pay yesterday. My daughter thinks they will not ticket anyone for parking there today since you have to have all cars off of the streets or the snow plows but I am none to sure. Thus, we are going to go dig it out soon and I'll drive it home and park it on the street now that the plows have come by.

Oh my achin' back/neck/arms/hips. A warm piece of apple pie might help me feel better. Just may have to show my daughter how I whip one up.

By the way, I know that 14 inches or so of snow is not that much for some places but where I live the average snowfall for the whole year is only 24.5 inches. It was a lot of snow for us and an awful lot for a less than 24 hour storm to dump on us when you consider our average yearly snowfall. Of course, some got hit much worse, they are saying part of northern NJ got 29 inches. If this is due to global warming, I may have to start praying for global cooling but somehow it just wouldn't seem right since it was 23 degrees here when I got out of bed this morning. That by the way is well below average for this area in December.

All the best,
GB

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Addition To The Blog Roll...

...this one under other bloggers of note, or whatever I call it over on the right side of the page. It is Kansas City Old Time Music. Reminds me of the days I used to attend blue grass festivals and fiddle contests when going to Dead shows. I had to stop going to concerts because of all the second hand smoke in the air; once I got my career job as a fed, I did not want to light up like a Christmas tree if they gave me a pee test. Sure do miss the shows though. Maybe I could see one nowadays, as I understand and as I saw at the Willie Nelson show in Manhattan last year there is no smoking of any kind allowed.

Well, the link to the new blog is in the list to the right and here it is again if you want to click it without having to search for it. Has some good links to music videos there, love those old timers on the fiddles:
http://kansasoldtimemusic.blogspot.com/

All the best,
Glenn B

The Big Snow of December 2010?

I know it snowed a lot in my hometown last winter when I was away in Phoenix. I had thought for sure my wife then appreciated all the shoveling I had done over the years since she finally got her fill of it last year. Apparently it did not sink in on her, she told me tonight the thought of buying me a snowblower for my birthday or Christmas never crossed her mind. How I wish it had done so though. I was out twice, once about 3 hours ago or so and again just minutes ago to shovel. I figure it to have been at least 6 inches the first time around and at least as much to an inch or two more this last time around. The thing is, it does not look as if this last time around will have been the last time I shovel before it is all over. It is still coming down from what I can tell although truth be told, it is hard to tell. The wind is blowing hard, I figure gusts up to about 40 or so - just a guess mind you, but hard enough to send it all sideways and to make it pile up in some sizable drifts here and there and to make it difficult to tell if it is just blowing around what has already fallen or if new stuff is still coming down.

I wasn't going to do the whole sidewalk and side patio again, I was just going out to shovel a path in the backyard and a swath large enough for our two Chihuahuas to do their makings for the night. Once outside though, even our mid sized mutt, Mimi, would not go except in the area I had shoveled. Usually she loves to run in the snow but it is just that nasty out right now. She did her thing on command and ran right back to the door to get inside. The little ones went too - and I am happy that means no new spots on the basement carpet!

Well, once I got done making space for the dogs, I decided why not go at it all once again. The side of my house where we have a small patio was really piled high, I'd say about 8 to 10 inches. Got that done then went out front and did the sidewalk and front walk and part of the driveway, just enough to walk past the cars to the sidewalk to clear it. Was not as bad out front, you could actually see I had shoveled there earlier, could not tell that on the side of the house or in the back where I also made a swath for the dogs earlier. Just out and out nasty. Nice night for a snowball fight I guess, but there were no takers around to join in, so I am back inside where it is warm. My jacket, sweater, hat, mittens are all in the dryer. My jacket sleeves and the body of the jacket were actually kind of stiff by the time I got back inside. It had been wet from earlier. I guess it is pretty cold out there, enough to start freezing my jacket as soon as I stopped moving/shoveling. I did not feel it being I had been moving and shoveling. Oh well, time for a wee dram of Irish.

I dread seeing what it looks like tomorrow morning. Worst of all I dread what more I may have to shovel. I think the AM will call for the youngun getting out there with me. He worked all day today so I gave him a break tonight, but no free passes tomorrow.

All the best,
Glenn B

Global Warming Figured Out

Eureka, I hit it. I figured out Global Warming. It is going to get warmer globally because of all the heaters we have turned on because it is so friggin cold outside. Al Gore was right after all; what a genius is that man, so much of one I could almost idolize him!

Ballseye's Gun Shots 102 - An Armed Encounter, Joe Was Lucky

Do you own a gun? Are you prepared to protect your own life and those of your loved ones from harm? Are you willing to put yourself in harms way for them and to protect your property? Plenty of folks are willing to do those things, plenty of them are gun owners. As I mentioned in another post, being armed is no magic umbrella that protects you from harm. Yet, some folks probably think that pointing a firearm at someone is just that - a magic and bulletproof umbrella that protects them from all things evil such as a bad guy's bullets. An apparent example of such, or at least an example of a homeowner going about defending his home in the what I think was a very risky way can be seen in the embedded video. What you are about to see is a video of a homeowner, who has left the security of his home, to go outside to check on two intruders who have entered his garage. There is no doubt (at least in my mind) the bad guys were intent on doing bad things such as burglary or armed robbery or worse so the homeowner was more than justified to use deadly force. He almost used it bu in the end all he did was displayed a firearm and I think he is lucky he lived.

There are some things that are debatable as to whether or not the homeowner (or resident) should have done them. I will not argue those points but will point them out. First of all, he left the security of the house to go out to confront the intruders. There were two of them and one of him. Should he have done that or just called 911 - debatable since he puts himself in much more danger by confronting them. Secondly he bursts into the garage with gun pointed out in front of him at the bad guys, well at one of them because he loses sight of the other really quickly. Now wait a minute, did I miss it or did you. Actually, when he bursts into the garage he does not keep the gun exactly pointed at the bad guys. Look at it again if you need to. What he does is he uses his right hand to move the tarp covering the garage entrance out of his way. Yep, you guessed it, the right hand is also holding his gun. Should he have done that? Maybe you think it debatable but not me, I know he should not have done it, he should have used his left hand to pull back the tarp if pulling back the tarp should have been done at all. That last part is very debatable. Then, he finally does get the pistol on the right target, on the guy who remains in the garage and who also is armed with a pistol. Should our hero have stood his ground and held aim on the bad guy the way he did? Debatable - maybe. What is not debatable is that he holds that pistol out in front of him as if it were some sort of magic wand that was protecting him from harm. I don't care what he was thinking or what he was not thinking because it was ingrained in his subconscious, it was, at least in my opinion, wrong - wrong - wrong! Look at the video and if you want to even think about debating what I just wrote saying he used the pistol like a shield, then ask yourself why else is he not taking cover other than for the fact he believes (consciously or unconsciously) the pistol to be a magic shield.

There are right ways and wrong ways to handle any given situation and sometimes there are just ways. Sometimes you get lucky and have a split second to think about doing it the right way as opposed to the wrong way. Other times you are not so lucky and shit happens fast and you just have to do it. Yet other times, you have a lot of time. For Joe (our stalwart homeowner) he had time, more than was needed to think about what he was doing. I am pretty sure he thought he was doing the right thing to defend his loved ones and his home. I think defense of loved ones and home is a good thing, personal opinion. I think the way you go about though can be right or wrong. One of the ways to know if you are did it right or wrong is too think about it after you have done it. Luckily for Joe, the gun the bad guy had was apparently unloaded, at least that was its condition when police later found it. Think though - would this situation have turned out the same for Joe had the bad guy been holding a loaded weapon? Do you think Joe would have come out of it unharmed or even alive had the criminal's gun been loaded? My bet is that Joe was never trained and or not practiced enough in what to do should a situation as this arise. Even without that training though, I bet even Joe might have some second thoughts about how he handled this situation now that he gets to see it again and again on video.

First of all, Joe and anyone who uses a gun for defense, has to realize - a firearm is not a magic shield. It will not protect you from bullets or knives if they are coming at you. Sure you can shoot a bad guy with it but if you stand there in a sort of Mexican standoff - each pointing a gun at one another - chances are the first guy who pulls the trigger will be the winner - at least if his gun is loaded. Now Joe may not have been thinking, hey all I have to do is hold my gun out and tell the bad guy to lay his down or tell him to get out of my garage or tell him whatever. Yet it seems that is exactly how Joe was acting - as if his gun was a shield and as long as he held it pointed at the bad guy no harm would come to him. Joe seemed prepared to defend his loved ones and his home and himself but he seemed unprepared to do one thing - to actually squeeze the trigger and send a bullet down the barrel, out of the muzzle, through the air, and into center mass of the guy who was confronting him. Instead he waved and pointed the pistol at the bad guy and then crouched a bit and backed up some and looked very tacticool but still he did not do what he should have done as I see it. I think it undebatable - I think Joe should have shot the other guy, the bad guy, who was pointing a gun at him! Yeah I know, it turned out okay, but remember the bad guys gun wasn't loaded. Did Joe know that? Doubtful at best unless this is a hoax video that was all staged. Apparently though the police believe it was real armed encounter. Joe should have, in my opinion, fired and fired again if the threat was still there and fired until the threat was there no longer - and he should have been moving to cover and taking cover while shooting.

Of course, I am thinking that and saying that, in relation to the situation that Joe found himself once he entered the garage and had the other guy point a pistol at him. I don't think Joe should have found himself in that spot in the first place. I think he would have been much better off staying inside the house and calling 911 and waiting for the police. He could have kept his gun at the ready to protect his family or loved ones and himself. He would have been on better ground so to speak and probably remained out of harms way. Then again, it was Joe's garage the bad guys were in. (What would Frank Zappa have thought about it being Joe's Garage!) For all I know, Joe had his fortune hidden in there, or had things that support his livelihood in there such as his guitars for his work in a band, or tools for work in a garage, or maybe he had weapons in there he did not want stolen. Whatever, he decided to go outside to confront the bad guys, that was his decision. Still though, Joe could have done it better once he had made that decision. He could have gotten down behind cover outside the garage and ordered the bad guys to put down their weapons. He did not even have to see any weapons first, just tell them to lay then down - bluff. Then he could have ordered them out of the garage - hands in the air and then told them to get down on there knees facing the garage or to lie down facing away from himself. He had options that would not have placed him in as much potential danger as he did to himself when he burst into the garage like Paul Kersey or Dirty Harry or James Bond or Superman.

Now, once he was inside the garage and he realized shit one guy took off but the other guy is pointing a gun at me - he had several other options. One was to open fire immediately. Sure you can say something like 'don't move or I'll shoot' and the bad guy, the one with a loaded gun anyway, can shoot you as you are saying it. Remember he already has the gun pointed at you or in this case at Joe. Maybe Joe decided not to shoot because the gas line was right behind the bad guy, or maybe the door to inside the house was there and he figured it could hit one of his loved ones if he missed, maybe he thought talk was best, or maybe - deep down inside - he just did not want to shoot because it is not an easy thing to be brought up right and then shoot someone. The thing is he had other options than to stand there like the gun would protect him just by virtue of him pointing it at the bad guy. That is movie bullshit plain and simple. It did not save him in this situation, what saved him was the bad guy was out of bullets before it even started. Chances are though, if a bad guy is pointing a gun at you, he has bullets loaded in the gun and he is willing to use it to hurt or kill you. You take an extremely high risk to your life and limbs to think otherwise.

So what were the other options Joe could have taken once he saw the pistol in the bad guy's hand pointing at him - options other than just pointing his gun back at the bad guy. As I said, he could have shot the bad guy and i think he should have done so. He could also have sought cover. Cover was only a couple to a few steps away at most and making yourself a moving target while moving to it would make you a harder to hit target. If you do not see the cover he could have used effectively - you are blind. Joe was kind of blind too. Not that he wasn't seeing but he had tunnel vision - can you see that. He was zeroed in on the bad guy and his pistol, those two things were probably the only things he saw at the moment. He was probably only thinking about them too. Cover was likely far from his mind. What to actually do to get himself out of harms way or to make him the winner in that situation may have crossed his mind but he did not choose to do them. Remember the only apparent reason he was not shot was because it seems the bad guy's gun was unloaded.

The bad guy had a bead on Joe just as Joe had one on him. The bad guy was as close to Joe as Joe was to the bad guy. Joe was not behind cover and the bad guy had an open shot at Joe from close combat distance just as Joe had at the bad guy. Tell me - what was Joe thinking? What methods in which he had been trained was he using to defend himself and his property at that moment. I think it was HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, The Movie Channel and the big screen movie theater method that he was using. The truth is, if you were properly trained and then practiced at it and truly prepared yourself for such a scenario, you would usually react as you have been trained to react. Then you switch it just a bit and you no longer simply react but you act (as opposed to react) as you have been trained as as you choose to improvise. In other words you take over, you take command of the situation, you make the bad guy react to your actions not the other way around. Joe did some of that, he confronted the bad guys, he seemingly ordered the bad guy to do something (looked to me as if he was talking), he crouched, he moved but he did not do all he should have done. He should have shot (had he a relatively safe shot) and should have been moving to cover as he was doing so. That is once he had already found himself in that situation with the bad guy just feet away pointing a gun at him. It is absolutely undebatable in my mind. You can tell me otherwise, you can tell me your training was different (I would like to meet the guy who would tell you otherwise just to know whose training system to avoid), and you can tell me over and over again how it all worked out well for Joe so it must have been right. All I would say to that is it was Joe's lucky day because the bad guy was an asshole who was carrying a gun that wasn't loaded.

Watch the video, tell me what you think. While I just said some things were undeabatable, I know there really is always room for discussion on such maters. It's just that right now, in my thinking, Joe is lucky to be alive because I see most of what he did as just plain out foolish. Now note, I am not saying that to berate or belittle Joe. I think he is a brave guy to be willing to defend his own. I laud him for that. I just think he went about it in a way that he could have done much better at it had he been trained by a competent instructor in a good method of home defense, that is had he then practiced at his training and had he not let emotions take over his thought processes. Not letting emotions take over your thought processes is of extreme importance in such situations and if you have been trained and are well practiced then, I believe, you are more likely to remain more logical as opposed to more emotional when it counts. Like I said, watch the video. Then tell me just how lucky you think Joe was that the other guy's gun was not loaded.




By the way, did you get a load of the bad guy's pants, the one with the gun. I am amazed he could effect a get-away with droopy drawers like those.

All the best,
Glenn B

Code for Strike Over, Code For Strike Out, Code for Strike, Strike, New York, NY

This post is a test of a theory I have about a previous post I made using similar terms to those in the header. I may or may not explain later depending on how idiotic or not the results would make me appear.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I Was Dreaming Of A White Christmas...

...but didn't get one. Yet, Christmas was a really nice day for me. Spent it my wife and kids at my sister's place with my side of the family there.

I was not dreaming of a white day after Christmas but they are suddenly saying that they (the weather people they) expect 11 to 18 inches of snow by tomorrow night or early Monday. Snow is supposed to start falling tomorrow morning and go til Monday morning. We were expecting my wife's side of the family to come to our place tomorrow but I don't think my brother-in-law will want to drive in that stuff and I could not blame him. Then again, who knows. If hey do come over we may have overnight guests if they get snowed in for the night. That would be okay by me, we have plenty of fine spirits to keep things warm and cozy and have enough food planned for just tomorrow's meal to last at least a few days. If they come over it could get interesting if it snows enough.

I am not looking forward to shoveling. You may remember last winter I was in Phoenix for my job and my area got hit by record snowfalls. My wife and kids wound up shoveling and my wife seemed to have hated it so much she seemed to have also gained some respect for all the shoveling I have done over the other 14 or so winters we lived here before that one. I was sure I would be getting something shiny and red for my birthday or Christmas from her this year - something like a snow blower. She gave me something red and sort of shiny - two bags of mini Mounds bars. Go figure! Oh my aching back, I may just take some aspirin as soon as I wake up tomorrow in anticipation of some back-wracking work. Heck, I am out of practice since I missed it last year; oh well, I'll give it my best shot!

All the best,
GB

Season's Greetings...

and since the season is Christmas, let me just wish you all a very:

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gays Serving Openly In The Military

Okay, so gays (and I suppose lesbians & bisexuals) will soon be able to serve openly in the military. I do not have much of a problem with that. In fact, I do not have a problem with it. I do not think that the gay lifestyle (yes that is what I mostly believe being gay to be - a lifestyle though I will admit some may be predisposed genetically or bio-chemically) is something that is normal or acceptable although I do tolerate gay people. Let's face it they are part of society and are not going away any time soon, probably will never go away altogether.

This all brings some things to mind. One of which goes as follows. If gays will be allowed to serve openly in the military, that means they will be able to announce their gayness and serve without thought of being tossed out or harassed because they are gay - right? Now riddle me this: If they can serve openly, will that also give them free reign to try to announce their gayness to everyone they meet in the army - if they so choose. I do see a problem with that, a big one. It is called sexual harassment. You see, if I am at my current job and someone comes over to me and says: "Hey Glenn, I am gay", well I would most likely tell that person I don't care to hear talk about his sexual preferences and would likely tell him not to mention it to me or express that to me again in any way shape or form. In other words, besides not telling me about his preference I would want to assure he does not express it to me in writing, by manner of dress (such as wearing a shirt with Gay & proud on it or by wearing rainbow patches), by manner of actions (such as sashaying in front of me, making sexual expressions, looking at me in the men's locker room and I do mean suggestively or by staring at my privates and so on).

If any of the above would happen to me at my job and then be repeated after I informed any person, regardless of sexual orientation, not to do so - it should be considered sexual harassment. That person should then be subject to administrative, civil and possibly criminal action. The thing is, that seems to happen only when a straight (as in heterosexual) male is accused of harassing straight or lesbian female coworkers or male gay coworkers. Sexual harassment laws, in the work place, rarely seem to protect heterosexual males from the very abuses from which they are supposed to protect all workers.

Now I see a big problem with this if it happens likewise in the military. I see it resulting not only in lower moral among heterosexual males and females who may be harassed by gays or lesbians (yes it apparently does happen and fairly frequently once gays are out of the closet or maybe I should say out of the footlocker for this case) but also see it as resulting is some other bad things. First and foremost, I believe that morale will be lowered. Then if harassment occurs and is allowed to go unabated, when from gay to hetero, but gets slammed when the other way around - well I think our soldiers, marines and sailors may take offense and think of their own ways to stop the harassment. Beatings come to mind. I do not endorse them, I am just guessing they will happen. Why? Because our young men and women in the military beat each other for other lessor offense of their military, personal and moral codes. Then what will happen. Will the gays be allowed to go on harassing while the straights are criminalized for their actions?

Note, I am questioning. I am not saying it will happen. I tend to think it will happen to some extent but only am guessing it may happen. Of course there is a way to prevent some of this. Separate showers for all groups. Straight men's showers, gay men's showers, straight women's showers and lesbian women's showers, let alone the bisexuals for now. I guess the same would have to go for toilets. Then don't forget about sleeping quarters - wouldn't they have to be separate too? Of course I almost forgot locker rooms. That is all at military bases at home - what about tent accommodations overseas! This would be expensive, wouldn't it? Maybe a less expensive way would be to have one group of showers, living quarters and toilets for all - to be shared by all. So men and women, regardless of sexual preference/orientation would share all the facilities with no distinctions as to gender. Do you think there would be a bit of sexual tension in such situations? If you do, even for a moment, think so, then why maybe did you not think likewise if gays would be allowed to shower with straights in male only showers - etc.? Yeah, I know - you may have seen the possibility for that tension in both scenarios but it seems some people are so overwhelmed by the push for gays serving openly in the military they did not even consider for a moment the sexual tension such could create. Note I did not say allowing gays in the military would cause the tension, I said letting them be open about it, and I think then them going overboard, may create the tension.

Now I wonder, if gays join the military why is there any reason to tell anyone they are gay when they join? I do not see one. I don't see any reason to have an obligation to tell anyone at any time. Yet, I do see the reasons why it may come up in conversation. A female soldier may hit up on a gay guy. She may continue to do as he ignores her advances. Finally after several attempts by the female soldier, the male gay soldier may tell her: "It's not that I don't like you as a person, but I am gay and don't date women. Please don't take it personally." In the day before yesterday's military services (as I write this), that person would be expelled from military service in the USA. I see that as an outrage even though I do not accept the gay lifestyle (or predisposition to it - and if it is genetic predisposition I see it as an aberration of normality but that is just my view, feel free to have your own opinion). Yet, regardless of how I feel about gayness (and note I am blanketing lesbianism into this) I would certainly not expel a gay person from the military for something like that.

On the other hand, if the guy is what is commonly referred to as a flamer - that could be a very different story. There are a good number of gays out there who seemingly cannot stop themselves from telegraphing shouting out on the hilltops - I am here, I am queer, and I want to hold the same sex near" (maybe even adding "...and there is nothing you can do about it dear"). Do you doubt that? If you doubt it then watch the next Halloween Parade in New York City or San Francisco or watch a Gay Pride Parade anywhere one is held. When is the last time you saw a Heterosexual Pride Parade? I did not think you had seen one, was I right. There are large numbers of gays who almost continually have to act exceedingly gay and constantly let the world know they are gay. There is no room in the military service for people who act like that just as there is no room in the military service for gays who might harass heterosexuals.

Some are almost certainly thinking, wow this guy Ballseye sure is a homophobic guy. That is not true at all. I do not fear homosexuals. I have had some friends who are homosexual and have worked with several coworkers who are likewise. Not fearing them though does not mean I have to start liking or accepting homosexuality or become a homosexual. I tolerate homosexuality as a fact of life but note tolerating it does not mean I have to accept it. I can be Christian and tolerate Jews and the Jewish faith while not accepting the faith as my own and believing it to be the true faith. I can be an agnostic or atheist and be tolerant of religious people and their beliefs but yet not have to accept any faith. I can tolerate Bruce Springsteen or Jane Fonda as having a right to sing or say their piece while never accepting either of their political views. Well, maybe Jane Fonda was a bad example - I think she should have been imprisoned at the very least for her actions in Vietnam but would have tolerated her right to exist after her 25 year prison term had ended (I believe that is the least she should have gotten had she been prosecuted). I tolerate rudeness and ill manners from others everyday of my life to some extent (well not yesterday but that is another story) but I do not find either as an acceptable way to treat others. I can be absolutely intolerant and unaccepting of criminal lifestyles yet still tolerate convicts once they have served their time and have gone back on the straight and narrow. Yet, I have never been called a Springsteinphobic, never a Fondaphobic, nor a Rudenessphobic, nor a Jewishphobic or a Religiousphobic. Why not - because I am not but mostly because those other people are not so insecure in their whateverness as to have to call anyone who does not like them phobic! Yet, despite not being fearful of them, I do not agree with or accept everything someone else tries to shove down my throat (no pun intended) so why am I suddenly homophobic if I do not agree with or accept homosexuality! Just because you are gay does not mean I have to accept you, like you, be happy to work with you, or want to have sex with you - nor does any of that mean I am afraid of you. What it does mean is that while I may tolerate you because you are human, I do not accept your lifestyle or sexual orientation. Get over it by not continually putting your gayness in any one's face and make damned sure you do likewise in the military. Otherwise, in my opinion, you do not belong there, nor in any job where your actions would certainly constitute sexual harassment (well they would if you were straight and kept shouting it off of the the hilltops to everyone).

The above type of gay person, the one who has to incessantly express his or her homosexuality, while not the exception, is less in number than your run of the mill gay person. Most gays do not go around screaming off of the hilltops (or in the showers) that they are gay and then expecting everyone to treat them as if that is normal behavior. While it may never happen that anyone who is gay will cause any sort of tension in the military by repeatedly announcing to the troops that he or she is gay, I would give you 100 to 1 odds - me betting that it will happen. I would also give you 50 to 1 odds, me betting that someone just innocently announcing he or she is homosexual, in the military, will also cause sexual tension. That tension might not seem like much here at home but imagine how such underlying tension might effect a soldier's ability to fight with another soldier in combat conditions. I am not saying that a gay or straight soldier will not protect the other or work as a team but the underlying tension might make either one tense enough to screw something up and cause inadvertent injuries or loss of life. Can such tension be prevented. Not 100% but it certainly can be minimized. Of course, there are almost certainly both homophobes and heterophobes in the military and the tension for them will be even worse.


As I said though, there is no place in the military for outrageous sexual announcements or actions and that goes not only for homosexuals but also for heterosexuals as I see it. In fact I see it as absolutely having to go for both groups equally and that means that even though gays will be allowed to serve openly and proudly in the U.S. Military, there is no way they should be given special preferences or treatment such as their possible harassing behavior being ignored when harassing treatment by heteros would be slammed. My bet though is that some gays will now expect special treatment. I think we will see, that way too many times, when one is punished or thrown out of the military that person will use his or her homosexuality as a shield and try to say that homosexuality and homophobia were the only reasons they were the recipients of punitive measures.

Maybe I am wrong in my guess as to what will come about but time will certainly tell, that is if you are not too truthphobic to accept facts as facts when they are reported. However things turn out, it will be interesting to see it all unfold but I hope none of it results, directly or indirectly, in injury or death to even one of our troops whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. Gays have always been in our military service and have served their nation with honor and distinction. While I think homosexuality to be wrong, and many others do too, I see no reason for that to change how well homosexuals can serve their country now just because they will be allowed to do so openly - that is if things are done fairly for all involved. Homosexuals and heterosexuals will need to remember something now more than ever while serving: They are serving not being served. So, they need to serve with pride but not pride in their own sexual orientation but with pride in America and with pride in supporting our Constitution and freedoms. If that is how it will be done, then how could anyone have a problem with it!


All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Cruise Is Over - We Are Home Again...

...got home very late last night, that due to our flight being late. Cruise was pretty nice and I liked it a bunch. Since I said we are home, I guess you can gather neither of us threw the other overboard although maybe one wished she had done just that at least once or twice!

Just for info, since shipboard online access was by satellite, it was expensive. I could have paid .75 cents a minute or could have gotten a package at $100 for 240 minutes plus 10 free minutes. It was noted on the price list that it was much slower than a high speed connection since it was satellite access. I declined - I figured I could live without it for a week. so, I did not read or respond to my emails and I did not blog. Blogging will probably continue to be light this week through Christmas, picking up again by Sunday. I still have a lot of Christmas shopping to do that did not get done while I was cruising.

I will leave you with an early wish for Christmas, one that should leave you laughing. It sure had me in stitches. Watch the video.


All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ft. Laderdale & West Palm Beach...

...are gorgeous at this time of year1 The embassy Suites we are staying at, on 17th Street in Ft. Lauderdale, is great. Linda loves it here. May have to come back after the cruise to look for a retirement condo. Of course, she has never been here before so has never been here in the summer. Nice enough then too, that is why God made beaches, oceans, lakes, swimming pools and air conditioning.

The cruise is tomorrow. This evening we are headed up to Jupiter to visit a cousin and go out to eat.

Later for you all,
GB

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Soldiers' Christmas/Holiday Care Package Update

I just finished shopping for the soldiers' care packages that I hope will arrive there in time for Christmas. Upon finishing this post, I will be off to the post office to mail out one box. The contents of that one are:

One Package of 80 Baby Wipes

Two boxes of Nutri-Grain bars

One box of gallon sized Zip-Lok plastic bags (they supposedly come in very handy with all the fine dust over there)

One 4 pack of Spam

One bag of Sun Died Fruit

Another package will be sent straight from the online dealer from whom I purchased the items for that package. I want those to be a surprise for the guys and gal in Michael ____'s unit, so I will not say what was in the box until I know it was received or until after Christmas. That package alone went for $176.67. The items themselves cost $155.89 and the shipping was $20.78 (as usual I paid for the shipping myself). We had, as I recall off the top of my head, $140.44 left in the fund from donations. That means I also contributed $15.45 for the items in said package. In addition I paid for all of the items in the other package mentioned above out of my pocket. I am guessing that was about $30 to $35, plus I also will pay for the shipping.

The money from donations has all been used to purchase items for the packages. As of today, all of the packages, for which donation money was used, will have been shipped to Michael ____ , my assigned soldier. I will not have another chance to send any packages that have a chance of arriving before Christmas because I will be away for the next week and a few days starting tomorrow. When I get back, I will commence sending care packages again but am no longer acceptng fonations now that the holiday packages are all sent off.

All the best,
GB

Ballseye's Gun Shots 101 - Going Unarmed...

...is going to be a new experience for me but that is exactly how I will be - more or less - for the next week and a few days. My wife and I are flying down to FL tomorrow to spend a couple of days there before leaving on a cruise on Sunday to return the following Sunday. While I could easily fly armed, I cannot cruise armed - so I will be experiencing something I have not experienced in a long time since I am usually armed everywhere I go. I mean that most literally too when I say I usually am armed whenever I go anywhere. There are few exceptions, such as when I am working out in a gym or go for a swim, but otherwise I almost always carry a sidearm and that includes when going to the local deli, out for a walk with the dogs and even when out doing yard work or in my own home. Am I paranoid? I am sure some people who do not carry might think so but the truth is I am not. I doubt I will have to use a weapon to defend myself or family at any given time but the truth is that all too often there are instances of people being accosted, attacked, assaulted, robbed, beaten, stabbed, shot on the street or at the store or in a parking lot or even in their own home during a violent break-in. So, I would rather seem paranoid to some and because of my preparedness to face the worst and come out the winner than be totally foolish and unprepared by having the belief that I can call 911 and have the cavalry arrive in the nick of time or that my home alarm system will somehow scare off determined bad guys and all will be well or that fate will shine on me and I will never have a run in with nasty bad people who want to harm me. If I only need to defend myself or my family once by use of force with arms then it will have well been worth all the readiness on my part. Since I have already had to defend myself more than once with force, and actually have shot someone in self defense (while I was simply out for a walk), I can say without a doubt that while it may not be likely to happen - shit does happen and you had best be prepared for it if you expect to survive it! The newspapers are full of stories about people who were not prepared and who did not fare well. Granted, being armed is no magic umbrella protecting anyone from harm but I think it goes a long way to skew the odds in your favor should you ever be attacked by someone willing to harm you to get what they want and the chance is always that that it can happens - don't think so then take the time to read this piece.

Now while I cannot be armed, at least in the traditional notion of being armed while on my upcoming cruise, you can bet I will arm myself in some manner with makeshift weapons or at least know the location of the nearest weapons should the shit hit the fan. That is not going to be any great comfort to me should the ship be attacked by pirates (seems to happen frequently nowadays but luckily not where we are traveling) or be taken over by terrorists (terrorist attacks are almost the norm in certain parts of the world) or should someone try to rob us while on a shore excursion (probably the most likely thing where a weapon might be needed for self defense but probably still unlikely). As for the shore excursions, we will be on at least a few of those and one of the countries where we will be ashore has been a hotbed of violence of the most terrible sorts in recent years. I almost cancelled our shore excursion there. After some good amount of thought, we decided since it is an area with no such reported violence we would enjoy the excursion. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to see the sights we will see. I will tell you more about the sights, we will have seen, upon our return.

No gun, no knife, just sort of gives me the heebie-jeebies to think of being that naked. So as they used to say in days of old "Take Courage" (of course, they meant by way of libation). I will be doing plenty of that, that is enjoying the finer liquid spirits they have aboard the ship and may bring some of my own courage in the form of a few bottles of wine. While you are not allowed to bring aboard hard liquor, actually you can bring it aboard but they confiscate it until you disembark so you cannot drink i while aboard the ship, you can bring along as much wine and champagne as your little heart (or would that be 'as your bloated liver') desires and you can drink it as you please. I will be pleased very much to do just that and those empty wine bottle could come in handy if we are boarded by pirates.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Soldiers' Christmas & Holiday Care Packages - Update 2 For Today

Mike ____ has not received one of the three packages we sent to him to date. I had thought he received them all but on further inquiry he told me he only has received two of them. I am hopeful one is still in the mail and headed to him and am also hopeful if it is lost then it is one that I insured. Either way, anyone who donated does not have to worry that any of their donations were lost. Only the first package was not insured, that was the one I paid for completely out of my own pocket. Donations to date have only been used on the contents of packages 2 and 3 and both of them were insured. I think I have to wait 30 days to file a claim, that would be on or about December 11th. Hopefully the missing package will be delivered before then. Hopefully it was not the cigars either but with my piss poor luck i would bet that is the one. Thankfully, if that is so, the cigars were one of the insured packages.

As for the next package(s), I did not get a chance to go shopping today as I had thought. I did find out from Mike ____ though that there is one woman in his unit. So, I may include something fitting of a lady in one of the upcoming packages - a tough as nails woman maybe -but a lady no doubt!

Mike ____ also confirmed for me that he and his unit are in Iraq, in Kirkuk. He is with a mechanic unit. He did not mention the size of his unit saying it was an opsec concern but I think maybe he thought I wanted to know the size of the overall unit and not of his squad, so I sent him another email asking squad size if he can tell me without it being a matter of a security breach. I am asking to find out how many of a certain item or items I would send.

In order to assure I can include something a little special in the packages for each member of his unit, something durable and lasting, I am going to assume that his squad is made up of at least 12 enlisted people and a non-com. My lucky number has always been 13, so my guess is that if I send 13 of an item that will last, there will be enough of them to go around for each person in his squad. If not, then Mike ___ will have to dole them out as best he can. Of course, if he gets back to me with his unit size and it is smaller then I need not guess. if it is larger, then maybe I cannot afford to send what I had in mind. I really would like to see each soldier in his squad get one - with no one left out.

As far as donations go, nothing else yet but I am hopeful. I have decided I can afford another $50 instead of just $25 toward the items to go into the packages (not including what I will pay for shipping). What the heck, the cruise the wife and I are going on next week is already paid for so I can afford to take another $25 of what I had intended to use on booze aboard the ship to help these guys and gal out. What about you - can you afford a few bucks. I know one thing, I believe the following:

Money is tight,
and times are hard,
but it wouldn't be right
to send them just Christmas card!

All the best,
Glenn B

Soldiers' Christmas/Holiday Care Packages - Update

First, allow me to tell you that emails from Mike ____, my assigned soldier, have come in. All of them have been appreciative of the items we sent to him and his unit. Knowing that the packages were received makes it a whole lot easier for me to spend other peoples money that I have collected toward this effort. Even had I not received his kind words of thanks and acknowledgements that he received the items, I was intent on continuing to ship more packages to him after the nice helpful replies (not the hateful ones) I got from some people to my post in which I expressed my concerns the packages may not have been received. Soldiers' Angels got back to me on that and said it was just likely he did not have the time to write which is also pretty much what Mike ____ explained to me. Maybe, I worried too much in my previous post, as it turns out, he and his fellow troops are very appreciative of what we have sent to date and apparently have received all the packages.

Right now, there is $140.44 in the kitty (don't fault me if I am off a few pennies but the dollar amount is right). If you want to help out there is still time to do it. I will accept donations up through December 20th, my first full day home after my vacation. I can still buy them some things and get them shipped in time for New Year's Day Delivery (I think). As usual, donations can be made by using the link near the top right hand side of my blog, in the red area. One hundred percent of the donations I receive, after PayPal takes their cut, will go toward items in the care packages.

To date I have received a total of $226.38. A total of $85.94 of donations went to buy items for care packages 2 & 3. An other $25 of my money also went toward that and of course I paid shipping out of my own pocket. No donations went into the first package, I paid that one out of my own pocket in total. So we have $140.44 remaining in donations for items for the packages plus whatever else I will throw in out of my own pocket (at least another $25, but probably more, for items. I will also cover shipping.)

So if I throw in $25 toward item purchases, we have a total of $165.44 for more things to put into the packages. That can buy some nice things but I m afraid that this year there will be no folding knives included as there have been over the past few holiday seasons. They are always a big hit with the troops but I don't think that we can afford them this year. That is unless some other folks decide to make donations. So I am again going to ask that you look into your pocket books and make a donation to this cause. It does not have to be a lot, 5 bucks would be great more would be nicer, but even less down to a dollar would be accepted (I do not know if PayPal will accept less than a whole dollar).

While I am talking about donations, allow me to thank those who have donated. One person donated what he could at 5 bucks, another donated 10, another donated $50 and I am very, very grateful to them all. Are you wondering how those 3 people donating added up to $226.38 when I have not been counting my own money in the amount of donations? Well it doesn't does it. After PayPal took their cut, the donations from those 3 nice folks amounted to a total of $62.21. There is another $164.17 (after PayPal) in donations that needs to be accounted for to bring the total of the donations up to $226.38. Every penny of that additional $164.17 came from one person who made donations. Yep - just one person. I don't know him, never met him, probably never will. I sold him some bullets at a good price and he reads my blog (that was how he found out I had bullets for sale). For all I know about him, he could be a millionaire. Then again, he could also be a pauper although my guess is that he is just another regular guy, a swell one at that. He sent in in three donations, one of $50, one of $60 and another of $60 for a total of $170 before PayPal and $164.17 after PayPal. Both I and the soldiers owe him a lot of thanks this year and I tip my hat to him. He is both a very generous person and a gentleman, thank you Mike S (not to be confused with Mike ____ who is my assigned soldier).

The fund could sure use a few more bucks, and it would be swell if some others could find it in their hearts to make a contribution toward the care packages. Note I said a few others. I will not accept another donation from Mike S. even if he is a millionaire. No insult to Mike, it is just I think he has done more than his share. Please note, I am not saying I think others have to give or that there is a certain amount for them to give to make up their share and I am certainly not saying in any way shape or form that the others who gave did not give enough. I am grateful for it all and I think all of it goes to a good end but enough is enough and Mike has given more than that. So I am asking others out there to please help out on this years care package drive. I figure if another $100 of donations come in, I can probably swing buying about 10 folding knives for Mike's unit. I sill am not sure how big is his unit, I'll have to ask again, but 10 is a good start and probably enough. If no other donations come in, there is still a good amount of money left over to send some really nice packages full of goodies. So far I already have a 4 pack of Spam (he asked for only one thing and that was it, but I hope he'll like the 25% less salt type because it is all I could find), a box of Nutri-Grain bars, and a bag of mixed fruit. For this package (or set of packages, as I will probably have to send at least two or three this go round, I don't like to put it all in one box, something about all your eggs in one basket) I will probably hold off on blogging about all of the contents until I think there was enough time for the boxes to have been received. would like to keep at least one of the items I include a sort of do not open until Christmas sort of a surprise. I figure it just adds a bit more fun to the opening of the packages if the guys don't have my blog to tell them what they are getting ahead of time. As usual though, there will be a full accounting posted here on my blog.

So, if you have a buck or a few bucks or several buck that you can send in toward this effort - PLEASE do so. Hanukkah has already begun and Christmas will be here before you know it. Also, bear in mind, these gifts are not just for soldiers who are faithful or who celebrate the two holidays just mentioned. They are for Mike ____ and his unit regardless of religious affiliation and regardless of whether they believe in a higher power at all. I just feel this time of year is the nicest one to start of such an effort; I happen to like Christmas and the whole spirit of the season. I will continue to send Mike ____ packages, with or without donations, after the holidays and until his current tour of duty on foreign soil has concluded.

That's it for now. If I hear anything further from Mike ___, I will let you know. I will probably post the content of his emails here in the near future. I figure those of you who have donated ought to get a chance to see what he has written. They will be edited to take out his personal info though as required by my agreement with Soldiers' Angels unless he gives me permission to include such.

Thanks again to those of you who have made donations and thanks in advance to any of you who may still decide to do so.

All the best,
Glenn B.


PS:
By the way, I have not forgotten the complainers, whiners, naysayers, accusers and nanny types who left the nasty comments for
this previous post. A few of those nasty comments I published, a few I deleted. The ones I deleted were stricken because they were either so nasty or so ridiculous as to deserve it. Makes me wonder though, since all of you nanny types claimed to be ever so passionate about our soldiers welfare and about Soldiers' Angles', in your mistaken characterization that I was bashing them, are you really as passionate about helping our soldiers as you claim to be? So, how about it, you metrosexual, wussy, sad-sack complaining nanny types - are you willing to make a donation? (No, thought not, not a donation of anything other than your useless prattle since that is all you have seen fit to give so far. Go ahead though, prove me wrong. It will not do a thing for me but actually may do the soldiers a bit of good while you puff up your own already overinflated and ailing egos.)

I Should Have Grabbed A Road Killed Deer...

...propped it up next to me with my hunting tag proudly displayed on it and then taken several pictures of me with it and my hunting rifle or shotgun. That way I could have told you all I was the great white hunter of legend and lore and that I had bagged one this year after all of my preparations for the hunt. Truth be told I squat, nada, zilch, not a thing. I had thought I would be hunting yesterday or today, my last chance day for this season but that fell through. I just have too much left to do in anticipation of the cruise my wife and I are taking at the beginning of next week. We leave on Friday for our embarkation city, spend a couple of nights there then shove off on Sunday. Oh well - there is next year for the deer. My son did not get one either so next year for him too because he did not have time to go back and try again this year.

Instead of going hunting today, like I had hoped, I will need to go shopping for a few presentable articles of clothing and a decent pair of shoes. I guess I ought to have something a bit more dressy than khakis and pullovers and my one suit with my one dress shirt that fits me. So a shopping I will go. Maybe I can kill two birds with one stone and have better luck than when I went hunting by getting some Christmas shopping done while I am at it.

Then I am going to pack my bags for the trip. Since I get home between 7 and 9 each night from work, I doubt there will be much time for me to do that during the week. I doubt I will feel like it either. Thursday is our office holiday party so that means I won't be in the mood for anything except sleep that night. Have to make sure not to overdo it and to leave the arty early if I want to be up early enough on Friday for our trip.

After packing, I have to make time to go to visit my mom. I probably will not have the chance to see her again before Christmas when I pick her up for the family get together at my sister's house. Well my side of the family anyhow, the in-laws will be over to our house the day after Christmas.

I suppose there will be other things to do today too. I have some things for the soldier's Holiday Care package so I'll probably make one of them up. May shop for more stuff for that today too since this is the last week before Christmas week that I will be able to ship one out. I may as well get em all out now regardless of my trip just to make sure they make it before Christmas and while Hanukkah is still ongoing. Also need to blog about the reply I got from Mike ____ about the packages - he appreciates them very much and thanks all of you who have helped out with them.

Gotta run, later for all of you,
GB

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all of the Jewish Faith. May God's light shine upon you as you light each candle of the menorah.

Ha-nei-rot ha-lo-lu o-nu mad-li-kin
Al ha-te-shu-ot ve-al ha-ni-sim ve-al ha-nif-la-ot,
She-a-see-ta la-avoi-tei-nu ba-ya-mim ha-heim biz-man ha-zeh,
Al ye-dei ko-ha-ne-cha ha-ke-do-shim,
Ve-chol she-mo-nat ye-mei cha-nu-kah ha-nei-rot ha-la-lu ko-desh hem,
Ve-ein la-nu re-shut le-hish-ta-meish ba-hen,
E-lo lir-o-tan bil-vad, ke-dei le-ho-dot u-le-ha-leil le-shim-cha ha-ga-dol Al ni-se-cha ve-al nif-le-o-te-cha ve-al ye-shu-o-te-cha
.

Today is the fourth day (third full day) of the Hanukkah (aka: Chanukah and other spellings) holy days. It is a time of celebration for those of the Jewish faith. It comes in the late fall, when days are the shortest and the sun sheds its least light upon us in the northern hemisphere but when the promise of longer days with more sunlight is upon us. It is a celebration of hope and historically celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after its earlier desecration by the Syrians. At the time of the rededication of the Temple, there was enough olive oil to fuel the Temple's eternal flame for only one day but it somehow managed to burn for 8 days until more oil was available. The celebration of the rededication lasted those 8 days and has been celebrated ever since. To learn more about the story of Hanukkah click here, once on the page click on each section for the expanded story instead of just short blurbs.

Happy Hanukkah,
Glenn B

Hallelujah

A friend sent this to me in an email. As he said, "What a great way to kick off the Christmas season!". Of course it may also have been a major affront to those who were not Christian and who had a bone up their asses but my guess is that anyone in the audience - which seemed pretty small once all of the choir was up and singing - probably enjoyed it regardless of their faith. It was just really great singing.

As you watch it - see if you can answer a question: Can you name the work - the whole thing not just the chorus? I can, I knew it right away and it is not Hallelujah although the Hallelujah chorus is part of it. The piece was composed in London in 1741 by a German by birth, who later became an English citizen. It was first performed in Dublin, Ireland in April 1742 (note the month - not in December). It has had many revisions by its composer and many interpretations by other composers and by performers over the years. For some reason this seems to be one of the best I have ever heard, maybe because I can understand almost every word they sing unlike many other times when I could not. Here it is, watch it, enjoy it, now:



Know the name yet? No cheating. If you have not already - watch the video and listen to the song first. This song was performed, as it says in the beginning of the video, as a surprise performance on November 13, 2010. As you can see from the responses of those in the audience, they were surprised, some seemed shocked. Just look at the face of the lady over the left shoulder of the first woman to start singing, then look at the guy in the baseball cap just over the shoulder of the lady in pink with the little blond haired boy - heck look at her face too. They must have thought some lone Jesus freak of a nut job had started to sing. The looks on the faces of all those watching/listening change markedly as they realize this is some kind of a performance. (Watch for the lady in pink with the boy later in the video.)The looks change not only because it is a performance but because it is an awesome and moving performance at that.

I am sure there must have been one or two of the crowd, the guy in the black baseball cap comes to mind but only a guess, who may have preferred not to have had their lunches disturbed but my guess is that the great majority of the onlookers enjoyed it all very much. Just look at the responses they give. Look at the child, the little boy in the Gap sweat shirt (he is with the lady in pink), look at his wide eyed stare. Then look at the little boy in the leather jacket with his dad. Then the little girl at 1:49 of the video. Then look at some of the young adults, the smile of the gal at 1:52 or the look on the face of the guy at 3:21 of the video say it all.

Now, while you watch you may notice something I caught. At the very beginning the lady, who first gets up to sing, is sitting there eating - no scarf around her neck.When she gets up to sing, the scarf is around her neck with the British flags prominently displayed. I wonder if that is because Handel became a naturalized British citizen. This was a well planned and choreographed performance that took the onlookers by surprise and instilled some of what the holiday is all about back into their day. Speaking of the holiday, do you remember I said this was first performed in April 1742. Obviously, April is not the Christmas season. This work was not composed to celebrate Christmas but was instead originally meant to be performed before a much more important Cristian holiday - Easter. So it was originally performed during Lent not Advent. At the time, Easter was considered the most Holy of all Christian holy days. Both of those holy days/holidays are quite similar when you think of them though. Believers give gifts on both of them and are joyous on both. The reasons for the gifts and the joy: On Christmas, God the Father gave mankind the gift of His only begotten Son. On Good Friday, God the Son gave mankind the gift of His life for their salvation and on Easter he rose again giving the faithful the promise of the gift of life everlasting with God in Heaven.

Whether you believe or not, this performance of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's work Messiah is absolutely awesome. Now, I am going to the mall to see if I get a similar surprise and to get some shopping done.


Enjoy the season,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Interesting Video Of English Police and a Pro-Islamic Mob

A simply very interesting video that should be of educational value to freedom loving American citizens who also love their country and their own rights. I believe those rights are truly jeopardized by others who would overrun you, your way of life and your government then invoke religious law. If you do not think that true then check the history books. It has already happened in England from what I can see and English law and law enforcement seems to me to be powerless against it right now. It is history and it is continuing because we refuse to learn from the past. Well, if we do not want to learn from the past, let's at least take heed of the present. Here we have an example of what is currently known to be the most violent religion in the world religion of peace facing off against the police in England. Well, not really the present but close enough, this took place less than one year ago.



Wake up folks there is a lot to learn from this and from what else has been happening in England in recent times.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Son Has Asked Me To Help Him With...

...filling out a pistol permit application. Oh well, I suppose it only natural. It is a good thing too. Wish him luck.

By the way, it is not concealed carry - they will not issue them here in NY in the great majority of cases. It will be for target & hunting. At least it is a start.

All the best,
GB

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soldiers' Angels - Operation Outreach Christmas Adoption

As you are probably all aware, Soldiers' Angels is an organization that is doing great things to support our troops who are on foreign soil. Through them you can adopt a soldier to whom you can send care packages and with whom you can keep in touch during his or her tour of duty, or you can make donations that go toward care packages and so on. Today, I just saw that they also have another type of program, one I am sure is great support to the soldier's morale. This one is called Operation Outreach Christmas Adoption. Sounds like just another program to adopt a soldier doesn't it! Yet, this one has quite the twist. It is not a care package program for the soldier but rather a program designed to support the family of a soldier. While I imagine this is designed to support only families of soldiers deployed overseas, I am not certain if this is solely for their families so, I have sent Soldiers' Angels and email to inquire.

The gist of this program is that you adopt a soldier's family. Once you have been registered it becomes your responsibility to help out the family with Christmas diner and also with presents for the children in that family. You are then expected to give them a food gift card in an amount between $50 and $100 and also to buy gifts valued between $20 and $50 for each child in the family. It appears that you can select family size and location of the family among those available. Time is getting short for this one, Christmas is less than a month away but I must say it sounds like a wonderful way to support the troops and their families who are also making a sacrifice for our country. I think they have 600 families looking to be adopted. There is a lot more information about it here:

http://soldiersangels.org/op-outreach-christmas-adoption.html

I am thinking of doing this myself but also may run it by my boss go see if my office might want to support a family (or more than one). If the office turns it down, I am pretty sure I will give it a shot as an individual.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, November 28, 2010

True Grit - A Remake!

Heaven help us that Hollywood is so devoid of people with good original ideas they have to try to remake a classic like True Grit. I fear it is doomed to failure for several reasons, I suppose the most important being they cannot find anyone to stand as tall as did John Wayne in the original. In other words, I see problems with the casting, first just look at the arsehat who is playing Marshal Rooster Cogburn, second take a look at the trailers and check out the piss poor acting of the child actress who is just that and who is trying to play the part of Mattie Ross (originally played by Kim Darby) and look at the, in my opinion, lame metro-sexual actor playing the Texas Ranger. Need I say more. Oh well, then let me add, how in hell do they expect to improve on John Wayne? Had they wanted a current actor to try to fill his shoes, maybe there was one who could have done it but they picked the wrong guy with Jeff Bridges as far as I am concerned. I mean, are they kidding or delirious to think he could play the role and do it well. About the only guy I think would fit that part today might be Robert Duvall but I imagine him too old for the part but bet he could do it justice. Matt Damon as Le Boeuf - give it a break. Who knows, maybe I'll see it and be surprised but if this one turns out to be any good, I'll not only be surprised, I'll be amazed. Of course, this one plans to be more true to the book on which the movies were based, that means some big script changes from the one with John Wayne and while Wayne would still do it best, it may be interesting to see the film truer to the book.

All the best,
Glenn B

Soldiers' Christmas Care Packages Update

The last two packages we sent out to the soldier, Mike ____, assigned, to me by Soldiers' Angels, have been delivered. I received tracking notification from the post office about the deliveries because this time around I paid extra for delivery confirmation. The reason I paid extra is because I got no feedback from Mike ____ on the first package we sent. (Sorry, by the rules, I cannot give his last name without his consent and he has not contacted me at all.) I still have no way of knowing if package one was delivered. Apparently the second set of packages at least made it to the APO.

I am a bit concerned about this situation. In the past, all of the soldiers, to whom I sent care packages, with your help, replied to me to say thanks and to let me know they received everything. They were quite grateful. This time around, Mike has not sent me one bit of communication. He has not replied to a few emails I sent to him, has not answered a couple of letters, and has not contacted me in any way to say thanks for the care packages or even just to say he got them. I have to wonder: Is he actually receiving them? I have half a mind to hold off on sending anything else until I get some kind of email or letter from him letting me know he has received all that was sent to him.

For now, I am gong to contact Soldiers' Angels and ask their advice on this. First of all I do not want to be wasting your and my money by sending out packages that we do not know were received. Second, I am wondering if I should ask for another soldier, to be assigned by Soldiers' Angels, to whom we can send future packages since I am not sure these are being received. Hopefully, Soldiers' Angels can help with some insight on this type of situation. I certainly do not want to screw a guy who may not be able to answer me because he cannot, for some reason, get email or regular mail out to us. They may know if this is a thing that happens or not. If not, then I am going to assume it is just a soldier being ungrateful, bashful, shy or just plain unresponsive. If that seems to be the case, then I will find another who will either appreciate the packages with some thanks or at least let us know he received them. Otherwise, I will cancel sending out further packages this year and give you the refunds. Of course, I am hoping my current assigned soldier is alive and well and have been searching his name on casualty lists (because of his unresponsiveness) and thankfully I have not found his name on one of those. With luck he is receiving the packages but just cannot get back to us right now but will do so soon.

I will keep you apprised, but for right now, at least until I get some advice from Soldiers' Angels, I am putting additional packages on hold. If it comes down to it, I will refund your money right after the holidays if this is not straightened out by then. I will eat whatever I have already paid for packages that went out and will refund 100 percent of your money to you if I cannot get a reasonable solution from Soldiers' Angels. If anyone who has already given a donation may have insight on this type of a thing, let me know. If you are ansty about this and want a refund right away, let me know; since I have been paying for the items on my credit card, except for one I may have used PayPal for, I have most of the money still in the PayPal account and what little I used already will be easy to make up. I am hopeful though this will be worked out by this weekend.

For your information here are copies delivery tracking I got off of the the post office website (please note the numbers of each delivery confirmation have been deleted)


Label/Receipt Number: 0309 2880 0002 0283 XXXX
Class: Priority Mail®
Service(s): Delivery Confirmation™InsuredDelivered-->
Status: Delivered
Your item was delivered at 3:31 pm on November 20, 2010 in APO, AE 09338.

Label/Receipt Number: 0309 2880 0002 0283 XXXX
Class: Priority Mail®
Service(s): Delivery Confirmation™ InsuredDelivered-->
Status: Delivered
Your item was delivered at 3:31 pm on November 20, 2010 in APO, AE 09338.

If any of you, who has already made a contribution, wants to see the actual tracking on the USPS site, please send me an email requesting the tracking numbers. I will gladly make them available so you can see 100% of the info on the packages to include from which post office they were mailed but I will not post that info here on my blog.

All the best,
Glenn B

Oh Deer - Hunting Again: Ready, Aim...

...but never did fire. I had my sights on a good sized doe, or could have been a spike-horned buck (yes I know they have antlers but that is what they are called) and was about to squeeze off a shot when with two or three steps, at most, it was out of sight completely. I had been making my way north, along the east side of the stream that flows through the Cascade Valley State Forest when I spotted at least one other hunter headed east, maybe 75 yards north of me. I am pretty sure he did not see me, he made no indication even though I tried to get his attention. I figured it was a good time for a break and there right in front of me was a nice sized deadfall. I put my blaze orange foam cushion atop it and plopped my backside down and waited and watched. In about 2 minutes or less, I heard what I figured was a deer walking away, southbound, from the path the other hunter had just taken, and I guessed almost at the exact spot where I had seen him. I figure the hunter had walked right passed this one. The sounds continued south a bit, then turned west, crossed behind me to the west of me, then turned toward the north. It was pulling a classic whitetail deer maneuver, in essence sneakily circling around to elude a possible predator and was headed right back to the path the eastbound hunter had just taken, albeit now behind him to the west. I could hear it now and then and figured it was almost due west of me. I was right because next thing I knew and there it was in full view; this was all of 10 minutes at most after the other hunter had crossed my path and spooked this deer.

It stopped and was looking east, but I am pretty sure it did not see me but was looking for the other guy because it kept moving its head. Had it seen me and been concerned about my presence, it would have zeroed in on me. It took a couple more steps and was then not visible behind some trees and bushes. I waited, and waited, and waited at least 5 to several minutes and then gave a doe bleat. In about another minute or two after that, it reappeared broadside to me and stopped and looked east toward me and then west. It was looking away from me and was broadside to me, oh yeah. I was in like Flint - or so I thought! I stealthily raised my rifle, and had it zeroed in on its heart/lung area and was moving my finger toward the trigger when it bowed its head as if grazing, then took 2 or 3 more steps northwest and it was out of sight. That sucked!

I waited awhile, maybe 15 minutes, then tried a buck grunt and rattling it back into view. Does will come to watch bucks fight and rattling mimics the sounds of a good brawl between two bucks. Bucks will come to watch or to fight. (Last week, I rattled in a doe in that Brendan spotted but Brendan did not take a risky shot after it spooked and was trotting off. I probably spooked that one.) After a bit of waiting, maybe 5 minutes, I heard her again, making her way back toward me but I still could not see her. I was waiting to try rattling again but then I heard it coming back without more effort on my part. I saw movement and barely saw a gray horizontal form of its back. Yet, I had nothing on which to safely set my sights since the woods at that point were too thick and I was not about to shoot at something I could not plainly see. So, I waited again. A little wait would probably have it in my sights. It was all coming together nicely. I could almost taste the venison steaks.

Suddenly, a branch snapped loudly somewhere back over my right shoulder. I did not move but kept scanning the woods to the west of me looking for the deer. Then I heard them talking. The hunter who had just walked into the woods about 35 or 40 minutes before was now leaving and had someone else with him. They probably exited the woods on a trail not more than about 10 yards from where that deer was last standing. I am guessing it took off northbound or west bound since I did not see it again. Of course, it could have stood there watching them leave and not have moved at all. They sometimes do that too. Regardless, I waited another half hour for movement or noise but there was nothing. I am fairly sure she took off, probably north or westbound, when those two other hunters walked out - either way not crossing my line of sight again. What luck!

My guess is one of those hunters went in to get the other and then they both left together. Too bad, I would likely have had another chance at lining up a shot if not for them leaving right when they did. Just a coincidence, not blaming anything on them, such is hunting on public land. Oh well, humbled once again because of my lack of luck, not having the best hunting prowess and because the deer simply seem more woods savvy than me. Humble pie is hard to swallow, a lot harder than good venison, but my hopes have not been smashed yet. There is a chance I will get to go out again next Saturday and if I do maybe I will fare better. The odds will be against me though, you see if you do not bag a deer on opening day of the rifle season the odds multiply exponentially against you as each following day of the season goes by. That will be my last chance during the regular season to bag one and to have bragging rights because the following weekend I'll be on a cruise with my wife. So, if I go next weekend, I am going to try my best not to ruin the chance to be able to be braggadocios all about my success. Of course, I may not get one and once again have to eat that ever so hard to swallow humble pie.

Then again, maybe I just ought to grab a road killed deer, throw it on my car, take it to where I hunt, throw it on the ground, take pictures with it and tell everyone that I got one fair and square out in the woods. Who would know? I won't do it though, I am sure my buddy Al (a loyal reader, coworker and friend) would see right through me and nail me for it! By the way Al, 4:30, heck I only got home at 9PM. (See comments in previous post.) I tell you though, if I don't get one next weekend, I'll take you up on those burgers, but let's make it Hooters! Later for you and hopefully for a deer too - and Al, if I get one, the venison is on me.

All the best,
GB