Monday, May 31, 2010

The Great Uromastix Escape took place today but...

I should have known better than to let it happen. Then again, sometimes we all goof up and I guess I goofed up today. I did it by starting off doing something I do every year once the nice weather rolls around. I did it only with good intentions but sometimes good intentions are not enough so I took precautions when I did it and thought they were enough but I should have known better. The precautions apparently were not enough.

What I did was I put my tortoises and one remaining Uromastix out in the yard to sun themselves. No, I did not just plop them down out in the middle of my yard. Although I well could have done that with my female Hermann's Tortoise and maybe even with my newly acquired male Hermann's Tortoise, there was no way I was about to allow my three small Redfoot Tortoises or the female Uromastix to roam around out there. The Redfoots are small enough to possibly get under my gate (though it would be a squeeze) and the lizard (the Uromastix is a lizard) could have easily squirmed through anything or climbed over anything to escape. So I put them all into a pen, that I built a few years ago, just for the purpose of housing my animals outside so they could bask in natural sunlight now and again. Being it was a few years old and made of painted plywood, let me just say the weather, the sunlight, the termites and time have all had their effects and there are a few eaten away spots. One hole near the top where the hinges for the screen cover were screwed in and one in the bottom front corner. I had no worries about the hole up high, none of my animals could get to it to get through it. The lower one was right at ground level so I covered it over with a few bricks snug against the wood. Nothing was getting out, that is at least not without help and there was no one to help them get out so they were just not going to get out that way. I was satisfied and left them in there but I should have known better.

Then the dogs heard the lizard scampering about and the tortoises plodding back and forth and they got curious. I had to shoo them away a few times but then they lost interest. To make sure they would not pester the lizard, the tortoises usually are not bothered by the dogs unless they try to use them as chew toys, I decided to put the dogs in the house. Then I went outside to enjoy some left over BBQ while sitting on the patio. Once I was done, I went inside and puttered around online in a gun forum. When I went out later to try to talk my wife into taking an evening ride, or to go to Home Depot to buy some flowers for the garden, I also decided to check on my critters. I noticed a much bigger hole in the front corner of the pen. It was dug away, or so it looked, from outside. Then I realized my wife had let the dogs back outside to join her in enjoying the nice day. I suppose, that as usual, if they are not barking up a storm she pays them little attention as they roam around our postage stamp sized backyard. She had been reading a magazine, about dog training of all things, and also had been relaxing and just taking it easy. Then she chatted to one of our next door neighbors over her fence. I guess she had not been paying much attention at all to the dogs. I thought she knew better, but I should have known better. I know the blame is not hers and I am the one who should have known better. You see, about 2 years ago, one of the dogs chewed up one of my tortoises, putting a few nice grooves in its shell, after my wife left the dogs outside unattended with my tortoises. I warned her that time but must admit today I did not but I should have known better. I just thought she knew better even though I was the one who was responsible for them but I should have known better. I guess I just figured all would be well but I should have known better.

Well anyway, it looks like the dogs, or at least one of them, went at the corner of the pen paws flailing and dug out the old hole, making it bigger, and knocking away the bricks that had been flush against the inside of the pen while doing so. That done it wound up that help actually had been there for the lizard to escape. I thought there was no chance of that but I should have known better. As it turned out they really did help one of the inmates to escape, specifically the Uromastix. I thought it was secure but I should have known better. When I came in either I should have insisted that the dogs stay inside or I should have brought in my little sun worshippers and put them in there inside enclosures but I left them outside thinking all was well but I should have known better.

Now we have a lizard on the loose all because I should have known better and done something in a different way. Hopefully it will not terrorize the neighborhood. Even better would be if a neighbor sees it and calls me to come rescue it. I do not have a lot of hope but then again until all hope is dashed to the rocks below the cliffs, hope springs eternal but I should have known better in which case I would have still had the Uromastix and not needed to depend upon hope to make things better.

Later for you, I have a lizard to look for.

All the best,
Glenn B

Memorial Day - Do Not Forget Them Though They Be Gone...

...for it was only through their sacrifice that we have carried on.

Many youngsters, today, and even many adults (usually those newly arrived in this country but sadly some who were born here and lived here all their lives) would not understand what I mean by the words I just have written above. Too many times in my life I have encountered people who have no idea of the reason for or the significance of Memorial Day. For many memorial Day is the event that marks the official start of open beaches, for others it starts the BBQ season, for others it an excuse to have a good time celebrating the nicer weather, for others it still have some significance tied into our military and they go to a parade or other such event. Yet, some do not even recognize it as a holiday by way of purpose and others simply are totally ignorant of it.
Over the years the meaning of Memorial Day has become watered down, especially during long periods of peacetime and during our modern age when anything old or traditional seems to need change in the eyes of some. It has become a day of convenience, convenient to use as each person sees fit. So much so that Memorial Day is indeed a prime example of something that those who rewrite history would seemingly like to change to fit their own agendas. Politicians use it as a day to gain the support of veterans, veterans use it as a day to gain support for veterans' services, religious leaders use it as day to impart the wisdom of their teachings about morality, commercial businesses use it as a day to fill their tills, and others - such as revisionists or progressives - use it simply as a way to spread their message to us about whatever their agenda may be. If you do not think I am correct about how our interpretation of Memorial Day has and still is changing, or about how some would like to change it, then go to Wikipedia and read, what in my opinion, is one of the saddest descriptions of Memorial Day I have ever seen:

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

It is somewhat wrong from what I can tell, starting in the first paragraph, when it says Memorial Day commemorates those who died while in U.S. military service. As if that were not bad enough, that statement is backed up by a reference from, of all places, the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs! Even the government seemingly has gotten it wrong but is that any wonder under our current and extremely liberal administration that seemingly wants to change everything!

Allow me to be blunt at the cost of upsetting some who have wrongfully but innocently believed otherwise for years: Memorial Day does not honor those who died while in the military service of this nation; at least it was never meant to do so by so broad a definition and should not be used to remember any but those whom it actually was intended to honor no matter how noble our intentions. Memorial Day was meant to, and should, honor only those who have died in U.S. military service who have lost their lives during time of war. Let us not forget that last and very important aspect of Memorial Day, that it honors they who have perished in our country's service, DURING TIME OF WAR.

Some though, despite others trying to change it, still have it right. They have not forgotten the true meaning of this day. Read about the significance of Memorial Day here, a piece prominently displayed on the web site of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars site as I write this post:

http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5492

The VFW asks us a very important question, a question that in essence describes the significance of memorial Day:

"Do most non-veterans really recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war?"
As for its history, Memorial Day is a shoot off of Decoration Day. Decoration Day was in essence a day on which people came out to honor the dead of war, specifically the Civil War (but some believe the practice went further back) by placing decorations on the grave markers of those who fell in combat serving our country. This remembrance was done in the south and the north and was a popular practice during the Civil War and gained in popularity after the Civil War. In short time it became a popular day of importance through all of the states and was soon adopted on state levels as a state holiday. There is no wonder that it should have done so for the Civil War tallied up the highest amount of war dead our nation has ever suffered in any war. Whether known as Decoration Day back then, or as Memorial Day now, or by any other name throughout its history, there was one theme that ran throughout and that was that this day was to honor the servicemen and women who died during wartime for the United States of America.

It was never intended to be a holiday to celebrate those who served in the military, never a holiday to celebrate those who fought in the military, and never intended to be a celebration of anything at all. No, it was not meant to be a celebration but rather to be a solemn remembrance, an honoring of, and a memorial to those who perished while serving during wartime while in military service to our country.
Yes, many have tied to capitalize on this day and change it to fit their needs whether due to politics, religion, economics, entertainment, a feel good attitude about the military, national pride or whatever else but we must never forget that this day was set aside to honor they who, while serving in the United States military, made the extreme sacrifice during time of war. They are whom we honor today and we should not forget it, not ever. Let us not dishonor their memory by clouding it with other things though of great import themselves, things that would best be remembered in their own light without stealing the glow of twilight's last gleaming from they who made the ultimate sacrifice. Let the memory of their great sacrifice, of their final sunsets' last glow, shine on forever.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Top Kill By Another Method

Now that the the attempt at 'Top Kill' to shut down the leaking gulf oil well has reportedly failed, I have a suggestion. It may seem extreme and granted it is extreme but as they say extreme conditions call for extreme measures. As I recall, oil wells that go out of control and spew oil everywhere are often subjected to explosive charges to close off or cap the hole. Now, I realize that this particular well is something like a mile underwater so I suppose it would be pretty difficult to get a charge placed so as to do likewise with it. However I do have a fairly active imagination and I imagine that it might be possible to deliver an explosive charge to the well head, or to the areas adjacent to it (at the proper angle and all that) with the hope causing it to cave in upon itself and hereby shut it down.

My delivery method would be torpedoes using conventional warheads. Is it worth a try? I would think so if torpedoes can be used at those depth and fired with a decent chance of hitting at where they are aimed. I know little to nothing about torpedoes so someone with more knowledge than me would have to think this one out. Sound crazy, well maybe it is but it sounds better to me than BP, the rest of the oil industry, President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Navy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard and anyone else who should be involved just all doing nothing for another three or four weeks while they build this magical bell covering that they say will be the next attempt.

Now maybe for a saner idea. Why not use a deep sea submersible to place explosive charges in such a manner as to try to close the well head? It may have a chance. Of course if that is not possible then I go right back to the original and maybe crazy idea of mine and all I can say is Fire one, fire two and fire three if need be because this has the potential to be the worst man made environmental disaster that we have ever faced.

Maybe crazy and maybe not but at least it is a suggestion and I sent it into BP via:

http://www.horizonedocs.com/artform.php.

I also sent it to the White House, and to my two senators.

All the best,
Glenn B

Welcome Back To Blogging

Quidni pro quo is back at blogging again, apparently started again in April after having been absent over a year since January 2009.

All I can say is welcome back - hope all is well.

http://qquidni.blogspot.com/

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spiders - I do not mess with them...

...maybe because of something I read once in a book:

"If you wish to live and thrive,
allow the spider to remain alive."

That little ditty just makes sense. You let them live since they eat other bugs like flies and mosquitos that spread disease. While I may move spiders from a location in my home to outside if they look big and nasty enough, I am more likely to move them only if they are interfering with something while web building. For instance, I had one spinning a web on the front of my TV screen in the basement the other night. I was going to move it after my show was over but for some reason it gave up and moved elsewhere on its own. I got rid of what little web it had spun. Other times I have removed them from in the tub/shower because they wind up falling on me or someone else in the family when we take our showers. They don't hang on all that well once the water starts flowing and I sure get creeped out if one lands on my head unexpectedly.

Otherwise, for the most part, if I see a spider in the house it stays where it is and so does its web if it is a web builder. Just like when I see em outside, I usually just leave em alone even when inside. Why? Well, because they are beneficial to have around - at least if not something like a Black Widow or a Brown Recluse that could put a hurting one you. That way, the beneficial ones can catch any pesky flies or moths or whatever other type of pesky insect may find its way into the house in the warmer months. We sometimes have spiders all year round in the basement, but they are usually most abundant in the Spring through early Fall when they can be found throughout the whole house. Take for example the one pictured here. He was on the basement wall when I came downstairs to watch TV. I have no idea what type it is and the pic did not come out that good but maybe good enough so I can check my field guide and figure out just what it is. Of course, it could be an exotic species from abroad as spiders often come into the country in shipments of plants and other commodities, they are great hitchhikers. In that case the field guide will do me no good since it only cover North American Spiders. As for the one pictured here, after I took the shots, I just left it alone. Hopefully it is gobbling up a fly or a silverfish or something like that by now and it won't be looking for a bigger meal like me when I am slumbering in front of the television.

All the best,
GB

A Hero Has Fallen...

...and I mean a real hero, not some guy who hits home runs, not a drunken actress who tries to live her real life in a fantasy world, and not some mealy-mouthed politician who evidently lies about having a record of service in Vietnam (as actually on the ground in the country during war). I mean he was a real hero. I mean a man who did things that were over and above the call of duty, a man who did so much more than most during a situation that his actions not only deserved recognition but demanded them. I mean a man who put all he had on the line despite overwhelming odds while. A man who was awakened while in bed with his wife by the sound of low flying aircraft and machine gun fire. A man who got into his car and drove to the scene of the fight, then got out afoot, grabbed a weapon and ammunition, and ran into the fray of a bloody battle. He was armed with a .50 caliber machine gun - what almost amounted to a pea shooter compared to the amount of planes attacking with machine gun fire, cannon fire, and bombs which were going off around him. Yet, he courageously fought an enemy despite it all and when he was wounded he kept on fighting. Not only was he wounded once but he was wounded several times by gun fire and shrapnel and probably by other flying debris but he kept up the fight. He kept up the fight with pilots firing machine gun and cannon fire at and all around him. The planes strafing the area sometimes got so close he said he could see the faces of some of the pilots as they zoomed by but he kept on firing against all odds from a position completely out in the open. He was shot in the arm and kept returning returning fire keeping up his end of the fight. He was shot in the foot and a bone in his foot was broken as a result but he kept up the fight. He was barefoot and could barley walk, let alone stand, on the coral dust but kept up the fight. He fought on against dive bomber after dive bomber - plane after plane - dropping bombs around him. He received shrapnel wounds all over his body including his head, chest, stomach, right elbow and thumb but he kept on fighting. He was wounded so badly and was so bloodied that all others around him thought he was sure to die but he kept up the fight receiving 18 to 29 wounds (different reports give varying numbers) but he recalls it like this: "I picked up quite a few hits--18 to 21...". He kept up that fight for 2 1/2 hours and it is believed he brought down at least one enemy aircraft in that time although no one knows how many he also may have damaged or how many of the enemy he may have wounded. He only sought medical attention for himself after having been ordered to do so. Then after finally receiving first aid what did he do? He went on to do his regular job, but now under wartime conditions, and he supervised the rearming of returning planes so they could continue the fight despite the horrific pain he must have endured.

This man was a hero not a mealy-mouthed politician, nor a glamor grabbing movie star nor a steroid using sports star and people should wake up, see the facts and learn the difference. He actually exhibited valor (boldness or determination in facing great danger, esp. in battle) and courage (the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery) and devotion (profound dedication) against all odds and so much more so than would have the average man by far. What he did was merely considered to be heroic, it was extraordinary (beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established, exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, remarkable) heroism above and beyond the call of duty (something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation). Get that last part right - he did not just do his duty, he elevated himself by way of his actions to the point of extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty. He put up a fight against his enemy, our enemy, the enemy of our great nation and he did so with complete disregard for his own life.

His name was John W. Finn, he was a Chief Petty Officer assigned as Chief Aviation Ordnanceman to the Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu in Hawaii; the date was December 21, 1941. Kanehoe Bay was actually attacked minutes before Pearl Harbor and Finn was in the middle of it because he put himself there. Many others fought bravely that day, so bravely in fact that 15 U.S. servicemen received the Medal of Honor for their actions that day during the sneak attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and other bases on Hawaii. Finn was just one them. That is him with his wife admiring his medal. He received that medal on September 14, 1942, awarded to him by Admiral Chester Nimitz aboard the USS Enterprise in Pearl Harbor. He was already a 15 year Navy veteran when the action of December 21, 1941 took place (I think 32 years old at the time). After that he stayed with the Navy for many years and retired as a Lieutenant.

So how is that I learned of him and why is it that I mention him today? I learned about him because a friend of mine just sent me an email telling his story. His story will be all over the Internet today - hopefully his story will also make national headlines today on the TV news shows. Hopefully those shows will be in his honor even though it will be posthumously. You see, John William Finn passed away yesterday at the age of 100. He was the last surviving MOH of the 15 in total who received the MOH for their actions during the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and other bases on Hawaii on that single day. He was also the oldest living recipient of the MOH and he was the only aviation ordnanceman to have ever received the medal. Upon his death, fellow World War II veteran
Barney F. Hajiro became the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient.

The following is the citation associated with his MOH:

"FINN, JOHN WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941. Entered service at: California. Born: 23 July 1909, Los Angeles, Calif. Citation: For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."

He was a real hero, no mistaking that, whether he thought so or not. It is well and good that we honor him and others like him and that we do not forget the chances they took nor the sacrifices they made.

All the best
Glenn B


References:

http://www.homeofheroes.com/pearlharbor/pearl_2finn.html

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

http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/wwII-a-f.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-john-finn-20100528,0,5720051.story

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/28finn.html?src=me

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hsPAxYxDQu8RBHGksGVhCkAagLmwD9FVGHC03

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today In History - The Sinking of the Bismark

If you know anything about the history of naval battles during WWII then you will realize that one of the most sought after ships of all times was the Bismark. Named after Otto von Bismark, a one time chancellor of Germany, it was, to my limited knowledge, one of only about seven German battleships of WWII and it was formidable. Yet, despite it being the largest warship of WWII, and despite an early victory in an unintended battle (at least by the Germans) of Operation Rheinübung, specifically the battle of The Denmark Strait, its life upon the open seas was short; very short indeed.

On May 18, 1941 the Bismark and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen attempted to break out of the North Sea into the Atlantic. They were spotted and reported to the British who assembled a sizable force to intercept them. On May 24, after having been shadowed by a smaller British ships, the heavy cruisers Suffolk and Norfolk, the Bismark and Prinz Eugen were sought out and engaged by the British in the form of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Hood along with a destroyer escort. Their destroyer escort proved almost useless in aiding the Brits because of extremely rough seas. In addition, the two cruisers, that had been shadowing the Germans, had temporarily lost contact with the German battleships and were now far from the battle. The Hood opened fire on the Prinz Eugen, at about 0552 hours, mistakenly with the belief that it was the Bismark. Shortly thereafter it engaged the Bismark. At 0600 the Bismark fired a salvo at the Hood and a 15 inch shell fired from a distance of 9 miles (get that - 9 miles) hit the Hood and apparently ignited one of her magazines. It caused a huge explosion and parts of the Hood rained down on another British ship about 1/2 mile away. The Hood actually broke in two and sank about 3 minutes after being hit, she took with her 1,415 men, including Vice-Admiral Holland who was the commander of the British attack forces. Then the Prinz Eugen and the Bismark targeted the Prince of Wales and that ship was fairly to heavily damaged before it turned and retreated under cover of a smoke screen. After news of this attack reached British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he gave the order: "Sink the Bismark". As the HMS Hood was one of the prides of, if not the pride of, the British navy, this resulted in the great majority of England's available naval and air forces searching out the Bismark.

Bismark and Prinz Eugen were also damaged in the battle of The Denmark Strait. The Bismark taking some pretty hard hits, one resulting in a serious leak of fuel. When the Captain of the Bismark, Ernst Lindemann, requested permission from Admiral Gunther Lutjens to pursue and destroy the Prince of Wales, Lutjens denied it. After a repeated stronger request, Lutjens again denied it apparently following orders to avoid unnecessary contact with warships and risk of damage in order to fulfill Bismark's intended mission of hunting down and destroying enemy merchant ships. What happened though was not that. Instead, the Bismark turned toward Brest, France for sanctuary because of the fuel leak, it was a serious one. She was shadowed by the two British cruisers and the damaged prince of Wales. The Prinz Eugen, not badly damaged, was then ordered to continue on its hunt for merchant ships and the Bismark, at about 1830 that night turned on the British ships allowing the Prinz Eugen to slip away. Later that night, at about 2200 hours, HMS Victorious (an aircraft carrier) sent several Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers at Bismark. They engaged her but did little damage with only one torpedo hitting the Bismark in its heavy armor. The Brits, both their ships and aircraft lost contact with Bismark but it was regained on May 26 and Bismark was still too far off for Luftwaffe cover. HMS Ark Royal now took over and launched an attack on the Bismark that was almost catastrophic for the Brits in that the planes attacked one of their own ships. Luckily they missed with many torpedoes and the others failed, exploding prematurely, due to unreliable detonators. Ark Royal soon launched another attack on Bismark in terrible weather and this time the torpedoes were equipped with much more reliable detonators. Two or three torpedoes found their mark and a critical hit was registered on the steering mechanisms of the Bismark.

With her steering out she was not maneuverable. The British took advantage of this on May 27 and attacked Bismark with battleships HMS Rodney and HMS King George V. They inflicted heavy damage causing Bismark to list severely but the Bismark did not sink. The British battleships, low on fuel, retreated and the HMS Doretshire, a heavy cruiser, then attacked with torpedoes. Despite three torpedo hits, the Bismark still did not sink but did sustain very heavy casualties. At 1040 hours, in an irony of ironies, the Germans scuttled the Bismark and she sank. Only 111 German sailors were rescued by the British who soon fled the area upon receiving reports of U-Boats operating nearby. One of those survivors died of his wounds while on the British ship. A German U-boat later rescued 3 more and another German ship later rescued 2 more. There were, in total, only 115 survivors; in all 2,085 of Bismark's crew perished. Churchill was very pleased with this result but I would guess that he never, not for even a moment, thought it would be the Germans who would be the ones to follow his order to "Sink The Bismark".

The above post heavily relied on the Wikipedia article about
Operation Rheinübung.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rhein%C3%BCbung

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_5_135/ai_n18614613/

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

http://www.kbismarck.com/ottovonbismarck.html

http://www.beyondcurricula.com/wwii/europeantheater/bismarck.html

http://www.kbismarck.com/

http://www.kbismarck.com/photo035.html

http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/bismarck_menu.html

http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/crew/bismarck_survivors_list.html

To read an interview with a survivor of the Bismark, click on this link:

http://www.kbismarck.com/crew/interview-brzonca.html

All the best,
Glenn B

Hermann's Tortoises - Got a New One...

...and that means my female of several years now has a potential mate because the new one is a male (click the pic to enlarge). He has not shown one bit of interest in her mating-wise since I got him a few weeks ago from Gary B of upstate NY. That is okay for now. They can get used to each other this season, then will be hibernated for the winter, and I am hopeful that once they emerge from hibernation next spring they will be cycled, ready and eagerly willing to do their thing. For now they are getting lots of good food and a lot of exercise, a few days a week in the backyard and a few walking around freely in the finished part of my basement. They sleep inside the house in their enclosure each night. While outside they have to be watched because the fence between our and our neighbor's house is literally falling apart. She is having a new fence erected next month and after that these two will be out much more often, probably daily.

Once I get a new turtle pen constructed they will be out there all day long each and every day. My old pen got destroyed by termites and even though it looked solid and sound it surely was one heck of a mess as I discovered much to my chagrin. That is a project I hope to get done by mid June at the latest and I do not dare leave the torts out overnight if not penned because of raccoons and possums. I am not worried they could be eaten but that they could be injured and catch a disease so as I said, they sleep inside for now. Once the pen is done, they will share it with three Red Foot Tortoises (who will only be out there during warmer months as they come from warmer climes in SA).

All the best,
Glenn B

Surgery...

...is all over with and I am still alive and kicking. In the hospital at 0700, in the operating room about 8:58 (my doctor was 58 minutes late supposedly due to meetings during which he told me the other doctors liked to hear themselves while he just sat there and sipped coffee (while I waited for him of course). Right after that, as he was writing down a synopsis of what would be the procedure, saying it out loud as he did so, he said he would be removing a cyst from the left side of my neck instead of right side. I was about to correct him but he was then immediately questioned by the male nurse. I had already told the nurse it was on the right side (which was right). I sort of figured the doc should have have had more coffee at that meeting, or figured maybe he ought to have had a better night's sleep at a Holiday Inn. In my experience (3 other surgeries by him) he is a good doctor. As is always the case though, even a good doctor can goof but you can bet I am extremely happy they did not wind up cutting up both sides of my neck. Then again, I have to wonder if he was goofing around because he has a great sense of humor but he was so straight faced and seemed genuinely surprised by his apparent mistake that I think it really was just that - a mistake. Anyway, it was caught right away and corrected. The doc soon marked off the correct area with a purple magic marker and they took me to the operating room, gave me a shot of a sedative, had me lay down on the table - but first I asked them if the newspaper laying on it was for me to read and they moved it (how sterile). After that I remember about 5 seconds and remember no more until just about 1 hour after I got to the first recovery room. I was awake when I got there according to a nurse and told her I would need a few pillows under my head, as per doctor's orders, but I have no memory of that - she told me about it later.

Then wide awake at about 1050 and I asked some questions. Surgery was probably about 45 minutes to 55 minutes long. The surgery was done on the right side (whew). Soon after that I was off to the second recovery room. The doc saw me there and set me up for an exam on this coming Tuesday. here I got some juice, some water, some jello (what would a hospital be without jello) more water, hit the head, had a headache (no I did not hit my head and then get a headache), had a sore throat, had a bit of pain in the neck, WAS ASKED IF I WANTED A PAIN KILLER TO WHICH I PROMPTLY SAID YES NOT WANTING THE THEN VERY BEARABLE PAIN TO GET WORSE (HEAD IT OFF AT THE PASS SORT OF A THING), got a couple of Percocet, and started to feel amazingly good in about a half hour after the second one. Sill feel the edge cutting effects of the Percocet even though I took one of the pills at about 1130 and another at about 1245. Good stuff, wish I had more in case the pain returns but got a scrip for Vicodin instead. Oh well, I will have to settle for that even though I do not like it and it does not work as well. I suppose it will work well enough with some whiskey (only kidding).

I am hopeful they did a good job inside and got it all out so that it does not return. I am also hopeful that the biopsy will come out negative or benign for any really nasty stuff, as it is expected to be negative. I am happy the incision must be about 1/2 to 3/4 the size that the surgeon explained to me it would be when he went over the procedure with me in his office. I was told it would go from below the corner of the right jawbone down to the middle of the front of my neck. The only downside to that is that the scar will not look as much like someone slashed my throat so it will be less effective as a yarn spinning prop for future stories told to numbskulls in bars in hopes of a free round or two of drinks for me. I think though, I still maybe able to get some mileage out of it this way though. Time will tell. Think of it, that scar, me having had a career as a federal agent and having worked along both borders and in Haiti, and Jamaica, having arrested numerous drug smugglers, money launders, and even suspected (so called anyhow) terrorists by the scores, having been on several other agency details such as to the Secret Service and as an Air Marshal right after 9/11, all added to my actual scuffles such as my off duty shooting that got me the Ballseye nickname, and real on the job injuries - it could be a productive scar. I may not even have to weave into any of the stories the fact that it was the day of a full moon when I got cut (actually the full moon would be the day after the surgery but who will be telling these tales and which sounds better in a tale meant to get me a free beer or Irish Whiskey). When I think of it, I can just imagine any stories I tell, about that scar, being even better than the story telling competition in the movie Jaws. That was when they compared scars aboard the Orca when they were tossing a few back below deck while fishing for the big shark. Yep, I think my new scar (or the scar sure to develop) will likely be good for at least a few rounds at several bars sometime in my future, probably also will be good around a campfire when telling tall tales, and most definitely will be good to flash like a shiny lure to get the attention of, and awe struck looks from, some fishing buddies on my next shark fishing trip (okay I'll settle for my next bluefishing or seabass trip).

I gotta go to do the ice pack thing. Later for all of you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Enfield #4 MK 1 Rifle - The Order Is In...

...and soon I will be out around $265-$270 including shipping but that will be okay because I will have myself an Enfield #4 MK 1 Rifle. I can only hope it will be as nice as either of the top two in this pic, which is a pic of some of the actual rifles that have been available at Classic Arms. I sent them a copy of my C&R FFL last week and today when I called it took all of about 3 minutes, maybe , for me to place my order for this fine piece of British military history.

I will also be out another $81.19 for 100 rounds of .303 British 180 grain, soft point, brass cased, boxer primed, non-corrosive ammo. I could have done a lot better buying mil-surp ammo with corrosive primers but I figure if this rifle comes with a nice bore - why ruin it or take the chance of ruining it. Chances are though the bore will be dark as opposed to shiny and if so then later rounds may be the surplus stuff. The particular ammo I ordered is coming from an outfit called
Ammunitiontogo.com and was manufactured by Prvi Partizan in Serbia. Ammo from Serbia will be a first for me, hope it is fairly good quality.

It took me a long time to save up for this rifle and most of my money went on our new car so I consider myself lucky to be getting anything. I have some more cash stashed away for a more modern gun but am waiting on that for now and can have fun with this one when it arrives. I had debated on an Enfield or another Mosin Nagant (actually was thinking of getting 2 of them) but Classic Arms has exactly zero Mosin Nagants despite a web page making them seem available. That was a disappointment because their site shows some really nice ones with all matching numbers. I hope they get them again soon but tend to doubt more of them on on their way. So, as I said, I'll have fun with this one. Only one by the way because it was about double the price of a Mosin Nagant for one of these.

I'll put out more on it when it arrives, probably next week. I hope to shoot it next weekend but don't know if I will be able to do so, I may have to wait 2 weeks before going to the range again. That is because I am going under the knife tomorrow to have a cyst removed from inside my neck near my carotid artery. Oh joy - that may put a damper on things depending on how long I take to recuperate. I am hopeful it will not be all that long because my trigger finger is already itching for some range time fun with the Enfield



All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Gun Blog Link

Found another good gun blog tonight by way of a comment left at The Breda Fallacy in a post about a newt. I would not have figured breda for keeping a newt but have to admit the I like her even more now. One of the folks leaving a comment in her post about the newt also has a good blog. See it here:

http://gungeekrants.blogspot.com/

I also placed a link to the site on my blog roll.

All the best,
GB

Saturday, May 22, 2010

If This Turns Out To Be The Policy of ICE...

...all I can say is, in my personal opinion, that it will be an absolute disgrace. The 'it' is this: "Top Official Says Feds May Not Process Illegals Referred From Arizona". Bear in mind that President Obama, and his political appointees such as Mr. Holder, Ms. Napolitano, and Mr. Morton seemingly keep on telling us what a great job the federal government is doing in stemming the tide of illegal aliens crossing our borders. Now we have Mr. Morton, an underling of Ms. Napolitano, reportedly saying, in essence, that one of the main agencies tasked with enforcement of Immigration and Nationality laws may not do its part to enforce the laws of the United Sates of America IF THOSE SAME LAWS ARE ENFORCED BY A BORDER STATE and the border state wants to turn over illegal aliens to the custody of the United States of America!

Oh please tell me, as a private citizen, that these people will be out of office come the January following the next presidential elections or sooner (by way of some legal means). As a private citizen, I have never been so disgraced in my life by what my government has been doing. As if that were not enough, can you imagine, even for a moment, being pro-legal immigration, strongly against illegal entry into the U.S. by aliens (I will not call them immigrants because I will not insult those people who legally immigrate here nor will I insult those waiting to come here legally), very much pro the United States of America, a federal law enforcement agent who is an employee of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a person who started his career in the Border Patrol! I can because that describes me.

I have to do what they tell me to do at work, within legal and ethical guidelines, and I do my job without prejudice or reservation as long as it is legal and ethical because it is my duty. Yet, I do not have to like it personally. Personally I am ashamed to admit to anyone that I am part of, what I see in my opinion, as this huge immigration mess that I believe will lead to the downfall of our nation if not reined in soon. Not enforcing the laws already on the books, and allowing illegals to remain here without threat of removal or deportation, is not helping at all as I see it in my personal opinion.


I just said I do my job because it is my duty but I have another duty as a private citizen and that is to vote. I cannot tell you how to vote, I cannot endorse a candidate nor can I endorse a party. I can tell you though what are my hopes for our government and how I will vote and I will vote to get these folks out of Washington, DC because I hope for a better America where the people who come here do not commit a crime as their first act on U.S. soil. I can also say this, you should remember things like, what I believe are, the immigration failings of our current administration. Remember them all the way through the next two major elections, the first for Congressional seats and the next for the presidency.

All the best,
Glenn B

Watch This and Be Afraid - Very Afraid

No way to embed the video here, so click on the link and watch the very informative video. I am shocked that the mainstream media is finally getting it. How about you, are you getting yet?

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/23438021/

Demand that your elected officials fix this or vote the bums out in November.


All the best,
GB

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Kirschwasser and a Couple of Weissbiers

What could go better after having chopped down a tree (well I got about 1/3 of the job done today with a hand saw), albeit not a cherry tree, than some fine German Kirschwasser (Cherry Brandy) made in the Black Forest? Wait, please don't tell me - I know - some Kirschwasser and a couple of hefe Weissbiers. The way I anticipate my muscles and joints to start aching tonight or tomorrow, sort of like the tree must have felt, I figure a nice neat dollop of Kirschwasser and a couple of biers will hit the spot and maybe also smooth out some knots in my muscles before they get to stiff like a tree's. Of course, if I drink a bit more than what I plan to imbibe then I may wind up turning into a stiff, or at least wind up sort of zombie like anyway.

Kirschwasser, although called a brandy, tastes nothing like any brandy that has ever passed my lips before. It is much more akin to the home stilled white lightning like concoction that my friends' dad used to make down in his basement. Good old Mr. Stiene (hope I spelled that right, as I remember it was not Steine but Stiene but those days are hazier now than they were even back then) had a still set up right in the basement next to the older of his two son's room, right there next to the washer and dryer if I remember right. He would be sitting there when we went over to hang out with Gas (one of his two sons) and every time he saw me he invited me for one and one always turned into two! Two wouldn't be a concern except for the fact that the clear as pure water liquid refreshment that he had dripping out of that still, drop by drop, started at about 125 proof and went all the way up to about 160 or 170 depending on the batch. I always thought the best stuff was right at 132-136 proof - funny how I have remembered those numbers after all these years but I have to admit the stuff was memorable. He basically fermented fruit peels, and other bits of fruit he gathered from fruit he and his wife grew at a summer cottage they in owned upstate NY. Mrs. Stiene would make preserves, and things like Apfel Strudel (sometimes a whole one just for me) and Mr. Stiene would turn the leftovers into a stairway to heaven or at least into one heck of a good tasting drink that cured the common cold as I recall. If I was coming down with the sniffles or other cold signs, I did not have em anymore after two shots of that magical elixir.

But I digress, so let me get back to the Kirschwasser. It is very much like what Mr. Stiene used to make. I love it. The particular brand I was able to find lately, after not having had any in probably 5 years now, is made by Alfred Schladerer (amazing I could spell that without looking, must be the German in me). It is 82 proof, nowhere near the stronger homemade stuff of my younger years but tasty indeed. I used to drink what I think was another brand, or at least a stronger version of this brand. It was around 90-100 proof as I recall though that was long ago and I could have that wrong. Regardless, it is one heck of a drink - somewhere between white lightning and rubbing alcohol. Now that may not seem like much of an endorsement but it is, really. You see, the first time you have it, you will probably think of either the rubbing alcohol taste on an oral thermometer or maybe rocket fuel - or both. As you settle back and get used to it, it grows on you or at least inside of you as it warms your soul and so does your liking for it grow. That is of course if you have a taste for things like neat whiskey. I say neat because it is the only way I have ever drank this Teutonic elixir. I suppose you could mix it with fruity juices or sweet sodas and it would taste great, it would probably make a super fine ingredient for a fruit punch, but I like mine straight and as I said it is the only way I have ever let it pass my lips. By the way, despite the name of Kirschwasser (literally cherry water) there is not a hint of cherry in it that I can taste. Of course that was the same with Mr. Stiene's home made magical elixir, you would never have guessed it was made from things like grape peels, peach peels, apple peels and the like.

Now, while I just said I drink it straight, I must also point out that Kirschwasser is a wonderful accompaniment to biers, especially to weissbier of the hefe (yeast) variety. I have already written, more than once, about my love for weissbier so let me just end this post here so that I can run upstairs and grab the two I have waiting for me in the freezer. They should be just about perfect by now, just like the Kirschwasser that I have been enjoying while I have written this post.

Remember - drink responsibly and legally!

All the best,
Glenn B

A New Gun Should Be Coming Soon...

...and while it will not be a new gun as in newly manufactured, never before been fired, it will be new for me. My dreams of a new rifle in .308 may be on hold for awhile longer being we just bought a new car for cash last week. And by new car I mean yes new right out of the dealer's lot, fresh from the factory with only 23 miles on it and those were mostly from driving from one dealer who had it in stock to my dealer. So all the money I saved while I was out in Phoenix has already been spent and that was only enough to cover a bit less than 1/4 the price tag. The rest came out of our bank accounts leaving them pretty depleted. Still though, I have managed to squirrel away some cash for a rifle, maybe even two or three of them if I am frugal. Of course i do not mean top shelf rifles although one may yet wind up being a newly manufactured and brand new never been fired before rifle (except maybe for a test firing at the factory). The other one or two though will have to be much less expensive and something along the lines of military surplus.

That said, let me also say I have one or two in mind. They are so much in mind that I tried to order them today from
Classic Arms. The thing preventing a sale was they did not already have a copy of my C&R FFL so I had to email them that first. I called them about 20 minutes after I emailed them a copy but they were not able to open it to check it because the woman who usually does so was busy. I thought I'd get back to them again before they closed today but I got carried away with clean-up after chopping down about 1/3 of a Japanese Maple Tree in my back yard (maybe I'll do the rest next week since the shoulders are aching because I only used a hand saw). When I remembered I was supposed to call them it was already about an hour and a half after they had closed. Oh well, come Monday, I guess I'll be placing my order.

What I am planning on ordering are one or maybe two Mosin Nagant, Russian, 91-30 Hex Receiver Rifles of Tula manufacture. Supposedly all serial numbers will match, I am only ordering these if that is the case otherwise I may order a single Enfield instead. Two of these, in what sounds like excellent condition will go for $260 plus shipping. Not $260 each but $260 for both of them, not a bad deal on two rifles. You can see hem here:http://www.classicarms.us/firearms.htm. Scroll about half way down the page to see them and a description of them. I am not getting the ones with the laminated stocks, but with the hardwood stocks. I will add the extra $10 a piece to get them both hand-select. Hopefully at least one will be really-really nice and a keeper. The other one, maybe I'll keep or maybe I will sell. Such is the way of a collector. buy more than one to make sure you get a nice one and maybe then keep both or hold onto one for a future private sale when you need the bucks. Of course, I may well have it forever (at least my mortal forever).

I already have two other Mosin Nagant rifles. One is a Russian 91-30 with a bent bolt in good to very good condition. The other is a Hungarian M44 in fine to excellent arsenal rebuilt condition with all matching stamped numbers. They are fun guns to shoot, the ammo is inexpensive if you shoot mil-surp, and they are one of the easiest guns to detail strip that I have ever owned.

Now if they do not still have the ones I want (they do show them on their website so I have my fingers crossed) then I may go for an Enfield #1 MK4. They go for a substantial amount more at almost $240 each but they too are great and fun guns to shoot. I have never owned one but have fired ones that friends own. Nice rifle, a workhorse of the British army from before WWI up through the 1950s. I suppose time will tell once Monday rolls around (Classic Arms is not open on the weekends).

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, May 17, 2010

GunPal Is Not GunPal Anymore...

...because they have changed their name to GPal instead.

Here is, in part, what they say about it on their web site:
"GUNPAL is now GPal" and "As our userbase grows, so must our appeal." Maybe they really mean in order to make their userbase grow, they need to appeal to more folks. I mean, WHY CHANGE THE NAME TO APPEAL TO OTHERS SINCE IT WAS ALREADY WORKING SO WELL AS TO MAKE THE USERBASE GROW!

That name change made them lose their appeal for me so I asked them to close my account and remove my information from their files. I sent them an email explaining I was dissatisfied with the name change because I believe it to have been indicative of a less than forthright showing of support for gun owners and also asking them close my account. They sent me a reply almost immediately afterwards but as I see it they are not sticking to their guns so I asked again that they close my account.

I apparently deleted my original email to them about this issue but I do have their reply to me and my second email to them. So, I am copying them below for you to read if you want to do so. As for me, well I cannot use Paypal to make or accept payments for firearms related transactions and I will not use GPal, so I suppose I'll have to stick to the old fashioned method of using a Postal money order.


**********

From: support@gpal.net
> To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
> Subject: GUNPAL SUPPORT Ticket [#206132] SUPPORT TICKET: XXXXXXXXXXXX
> Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 09:49:26 -0700
>
> Support Ticket #206132
>
> Dear GLENN BARTLEY,
>
> Sorry you feel that way, but it couldn't be further from the truth. GPal is and always will be committed to supporting second amendment rights. That will never change. The CEO and all top execs and other founding employees at GPal (myself included - and I'm the President) are avid firearm enthusiasts who will never waver in our commitment to serve this community. However, if you wish to cancel your account over a prediction you have about something that may or may not happen years down the road (and certainly will not happen), I suppose that's your choice. It was a pleasure serving you and I hope you will change your position when you realize GPal will always be dedicated to upholding your rights when others will not.
>
> Your business is extremely important to us, we sincerely hope this response has answered your questions. If not, please reply directly to this email or create another ticket via the support request on the GUNPAL website.
>
> Thank you for choosing GUNPAL, the leader in transaction-neutural payment processing.
>
> - The GUNPAL Support Team.
> http://www.gunpal.com/
>
support@gunpal.com



RE: GUNPAL SUPPORT Ticket [#206132] SUPPORT TICKET: GBARTHGWT@MSN.COM‏
From: glenn bartley (XXXXXXXXXXXX)
Sent: Mon 5/17/10 8:18 AM
To: support@gpal.net

Gpal,

The thing is even though you say you will not change your support of the 2nd Amendment, it is apparent you are already stepping back from it by removing the word "Gun" from your company name in favor of making more money without it being there out in the open. If you were so committed to gun owner rights as you say you are then you would not need to change your name to appease a wider base of people, including those who are not supportive of gun rights, yet that is exactly what you have done no matter how much you want to say it is not what you have done. You have bent over backwards to appease those who are neutral and those who do not support the 2nd Amendment to make a buck. You could have kept the name and tried other marketing ploys to get a wider base while still letting people know - up front - that you are strong supporters of the 2nd Amendment!

As I see it now, the GunPal name was fine for you to begin your business, so you could lure in firearms owners with your gimmick of a name, and now once you figure you have attracted enough gun owners you change the name and want to appeal to everyone including those opposed to 2nd Amendment rights. I sort of figured it was coming when I first saw your home page on the Internet. Any site using a name like GunPal and having a race car picture on its home page instead of a picture of something to do with firearms was obviously not what it seemingly claimed to be or at least not as strongly as it claimed to be. Now you have proven it to me. Sure, you still accept any type of legal transactions but you first came out as a gun owner friendly site - so much so, and so proud and supportive of it, to call yourselves GunPal. Too bad you did not have the courage to stick to your guns.

Let me ask you this: Could you imagine the National Rifle Association removing the word rifle from its name and changing it to the National R Association to appeal to a wider base? Think about it, think about how lame it would sound to gun owners. Think about what you would have thought and about how you would have reacted to it had the NRA done that. It is just what you have done to your own name, so what should gun owners think about you?

Now, I do not see why I should support you. Your name change is just like any other change that has come about in the world where guns are concerned but where the bottom line was not gun rights but money in someone's pocket. Change a name to make more money - so if you found out you could make millions why not change a policy or two also for your profit. Maybe you won't, maybe as you say you will always be a strong advocate of gun rights but on what should I base my belief or disbelief of that? Should it be based upon what you say or what you do? I choose to believe what you do or have done is the best indicator of what is to come. Your removal of 'Gun' from the company name then is a harbinger of things to come as I see it. So please, go ahead and remove my account from your service.

Thanks,
Glenn Bartley



**********
Notice anything funny about their reply to me. They have changed their name to GPal to appeal to a wider customer base, however; they keep using the GunPal name throughout their reply such as by calling themselves the GUNPAL support team and telling me thank you for choosing GUNPAL. Whom are they trying to kid? I guess when using the Gunpal name seems convenient to them they will keep using it. I signed up for them because I believed they fully supported the 2nd Amendment and gun owners. That would have meant that they would have always been right up front about it but now they have become squeamish about using the word gun in their name I have to wonder how long it will be until they drop firearms transactions as being allowed when using their service. Maybe that will happen and maybe not but I do know for sure that they are not being up front about showing their support for the gun owning community and remember this is seemingly what they based their whole service upon when they started in business and why I and probably why thousands of others signed up for their service. So why should I support them now that they are not that up front about it. They may not be sticking to their guns but I'll stick to mine.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ford Taurus For Sale SOLD...

...and it sold to the first person who came to look at it. That made me quite the happy camper yesterday. I asked for a decent price and I accepted 90% of what I was asking as the selling price. A cash money sale, what could be better than that.

Craiglist is not such a bad thing after all. I put an ad on Craiglist late yesterday afternoon. I got about 6 phone calls and a couple of emails yesterday, and the person who bought the car was the 2nd person to call me on the phone and the only person to come look at it today. I guess the fact that we maintained the car pretty well was a big selling point. No major dings, dents, scratches and it ran just fine. Some minor things needed to be fixed like a loose door panel and maybe a squeaking belt (only squeaked when the car was started cold and only one quick squeak at that).

The car will be missed, heck we have owned it since December 1996. It was a good family sized car and reliable transportation for whatever duty it needed to fulfill be it a trip to the grocery store, a back and forth to school, or a cross country trip down to Virginia. It made many a trip to upstate NY for hunting and fishing trips that is for sure. I won't miss it all that much I suppose but I think Brendan may miss it a bit more even though we now have the new Hyundai and still have the old Corolla. Quite some years ago he started calling it the boat. For some reason it gave that kind of impression of itself and I suppose that compared to the Mazda 323 that we used to have and then to the Corolla it seemed like a pretty huge boat at that.

I can only hope it gives the new owner a couple to a few years of reliable transportation and I imagine that if they perform regular maintenance as it should be done then the car will last at least that long.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why I Haven't Bought A New Gun In Way Too Long

Anyone who reads this blog on a fairly regular basis knows that time after time I write about my plan to buy a new rifle soon, in fact I'd like to buy two or three of them that I have in mind and a shotgun too. Then there is that reloading equipment that I have been studying for several months now. I will buy the reloading equipment fairly soon but am still not too sure when I will be getting that new rifle for my collection. When it comes to the reloading stuff, well - I was given a gift back on Christmas (or was it my birthday last year, yeah I think it was then) to buy a reloading kit. So that money is kind of set aside. I was also able to save up about 4 grand in recent months - and all that money went into the bank too. So what is keeping me from buying a gun.

Well, I sot of made a promise to my son that I would buy a new car this year. Our 1996 Ford Taurus has seen better days. It is in no way on its last legs but is is very old and requires a new minor repair about every 6 months or so and sooner or later (probably sooner) it will need some form of major repair. The time is right for a replacement. So last week we went out again, one of several times over the past year, to look at new cars. We finally found what we were looking for - a Hyundai Elantra with a manual transmission (not easy to find on Long island or in NYC) and I plopped $500 down on it. Today the car should be ready and we will be picking it up. So as soon as I finish this, I have to get ready to go to the bank to pick up a cashiers check for just over $16,500 (out the door) to pay for the car. My bank accounts will be all but depleted. It took me a long time to save that money and it took less than 45 minutes of sitting there with the dealer to spend it. I knew what I was willing to spend on the car we were looking at, which in fact was about $150 than I should have spent but as I said we have looked for quite a while without being able to find one with a manual transmission and I did not want to travel far and wide to find one. When we started looking, I was pretty sure the car would cost about only $14K in total but we changed gears a bit and bought a different model the Elantra Touring Wagon instead of the sedan. It is a nice car, good on the gas, will be okay as a family car even with 4 dogs, and is probably somewhat better for the environment as compared to something like a Cadillac Escalade or an Abrams Tank. Add to that the facts that it is pretty much loaded in its base configuration such as having 4 wheel anti lock brakes, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitoring, front and rear side mounted airbags, remote keyless entry with alarm, A/C, a 172-Watt AM/FM/XM® Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers (2 front-door-mounted speakers, 2 tweeters and 2 rear speakers), an iPod®/USB/Auxiliary input jacks and other stuff. It also came with a beige interior, maybe not my top choice but much better than the other option - a black interior (cloth seats). Imagine me getting the black interior with 4 dogs. My wife would have killed me but not before making me clean out the dog hair.

Not a bad deal for the price even though I over paid about $150. The fact that the dealer found one only minutes after we got to the dealership was worth the extra expense. Several other dealers told me they either could not find them or there would be an outrageous premium to order one with a manual transmission even though the manual is normally much less expensive than the automatic. As a matter of fact, we stopped at another dealer just minutes before the one where we made our deal and that first dealer told me the car with a manual was almost impossible to find even though it was the base model. He told me the only one available in NY State was in Albany and it would likely cost an extra $3K to buy it. Another dealer told me I would have to go to Virginia to buy one with a manual because folks in the big city areas just don't go for em so there is no demand up this way. Yeah right! We were off from the first dealer we stopped at last Saturday to the dealer who finally found one for us within 5 (maybe 10) minutes of our plopping our butts down next to the saleswoman's desk.

So now it is off to pillage the family bank accounts. Then, once armed with a cashiers check, we will be off to the dealership to kiss the money goodbye and welcome a new car into the family. I'll hand my son the keys and ask the question - North, East, South or West! Then off we will go....Hopefully we will drive to a nice gun shop somewhere so I can look at new rifles and at least keep the dream going that someday soon I will be buying a new one. Maybe, just maybe, there will be enough left over to buy a rifle. If not, then I will just have to start saving all over again and as soon as I have enough for the rifle I want I'll have to buy it. Otherwise I am sure something else will come up to gobble up my money and just keep me dreaming about a new gun.


All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 58 - Marlin 25MN - 22 WMR

There is a mystery behind my Marlin 25MN, not anything sinister, nor anything really important but a mystery nonetheless. I'll be darned if I will ever be able to solve it and it is of so little consequence to anyone but myself that no other sleuth would take to endeavor it. The mystery is this: Why has it taken until tonight for me to write it up? (And a new mystery is why the pic cam out vertically when it was formatted horizontally - Blogger glitches I suppose!)

I just can't figue it, probably never will. Of course, not that it matters to you but it sure has me scratching my head in wonder. Now you may be wondering why it should be doing this to me. The answer to that is simple - the gun is a great yet inexpensive rifle and is loads of fun to shoot and I love to write about stuff like that and to share my experiences with you. It's what keeps me shooting, what keeps me writing and no doubt what keeps many of you reading this blog. So here it is at long /last, a piece about the Marlin 25MN.

The Marlin 25 MN is a bolt action rifle that feeds .22 WMR from a 7 round box magazine. It comes with, or I should say came with as it is no longer manufactured, an adjustable open notch rear sight, a blade front sight on a ramp, blued steel barrel and receiver, a bent bolt, a wood stock checkered at the fore grip and pistol grip, a set of swivel studs, and a single 7 round magazine. Its weight is right around 6 pounds by my best guess; that is the same as the currently produced Marlin 925M which is quite similar in appearance and probably in design and function from the looks of it. You can see the currently produced 925M here:

http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/22WinMagnum/925M.asp

The round fired by the 25MN is the .22WMR, possibly better known as the .22 magnum. It is basically a huge 22 rimfire round when compared to others such as the 22 short, 22 long and 22 long rifle. Its larger size lets you reach out somewhat further with it than would a .22 LR and also packs a bit more wallop than its smaller cousin. That translates into it being a better choice for hunting or so you would think. The truth be told, more rifles in .22LR are probably used for hunting small game than are those chambered for the larger .22 WMR and the reason is probably completely due to economics. Ammo for a gun in .22 WMR is usually much more expensive than comparable ammo for a .22 LR - in fact it usually sells for about 35% more than that for a .22 LR. I suppose most folks do not think the advantage in power is worth the difference in price.

Me, I like the .22LR but I had to have at least one rifle in .22 WMR and the marlin 25MN was a great if inexpensive choice. I don't remember what I pad for it but it was not expensive by any stretch of the imagination. probably under $200. Well now, I just got curious and dug up the receipt from my files. I bought this one on May 29, 2000 (only 19 days short of ten years ago) and the actual full price, including sales tax, was $151.54! It has been well worth every penny of that amount plus the extra ammo I have laid out for ammo as compared to rifle in .22 LR. I am not saying it is better than a .22 LR, what I am saying is that I have enjoyed it very much and think it was a good investment as far as fun and utility guns go. I have bagged a few squirrels with it, and in that department the 3x12 x 40mm scope I had on it until last night almost made it a veritable tack driver. Note I said almost. No complaints as to accuracy though, I can say that without a doubt. It shoots darned good at point of aim I can tell you that.

As for the scope I had on it, there is another mystery. The scope has a sticky black substance all over the outside of the tube, on the scope rings, on the focusing rings, on the windage and elevation knob covers, just everywhere on the outside except on the glass. I cannot recall for sure if this had that rubberized feel on the outside surfaces but I do know for a fact that rubbery stuff was never on the covers of the sight adjustment screws, nor was it on the scope rings which were from another manufacturer and are anodized aluminum. I don't remember it on the tube either but there could have been a rubberized coating on the focusing rings. It is possible that stuff degraded and got on the rest of the scope but it seems evenly distributed as if something got sprayed on the outside of the scope. Funny thing is there is absolutely none on the rifle, not on the metal and not on the wood. I do not know what it is but I do know is is very difficult to remove. I have tried soapy water, Goo Gone, and rubbing alcohol. Only the alcohol seems to dissolve it at all and then it needs a lot of rubbing to get it off. I will try lighter fluid next. I keep wondering if I did something stupid like spraying it down with WD-40 after it got wet - but I try to avoid using that stuff unless it is an emergency and it is all I have. Could have happened after a hunting trip but I doubt it. maybe I certainly never sprayed the scope with anything like Gun Scrubber - wonder if Brendan did - I doubt it though because he probably would have told me. I have no clue what caused it or what it is except that it is sort of gunky, extremely sticky on the scope body and focusing rings and so on, and that it is black as jet. Hopefully I will get it all off successfully - as in removing it does not adversely effect the function of the scope. If not, I will be in the market for a new scope for the Marlin 25MN. Yes, remember that rifle, this was about the rifle until I drifted off on the scope.

Needless to say by now, the rifle seems made to have a scope sitting on it. Yes, it has open iron sights as I said earlier (maybe they are plastic) but they seem pitiful once you see this rifle with a nice looking scope on it. Scope or not, it is still a good shooter - I cannot deny it that accolade. It is just a fine rifle for plinking at cans, punching paper, or knocking a squirrel out of a tree at about 25 to 50 yards distance. If you get the chance to own one, don't pass it up.

All the best,

Glenn B

Saturday, May 8, 2010

School Is Almost Out...

...and that means it is no wonder that I have been feeling like taking a road trip as of late. No, of course, I am not in school but my traveling companion, fishing buddy, fellow canoeist (the few times we go) is about to be let out for the summer so the time is right. Come to think of it, he mentioned something about a road trip recently and now that we stopped by a kind of local Hyundai dealer today and put some cash down on a new Elantra Touring Hatchback/Wagon (or whatever they call it), I suppose a road trip to break in the car would be in order. Nothing extravagant - maybe the arctic circle up north in Canada or maybe Alaska - only kidding. If we go I am pretty sure it will be much closer to home though not too close. Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley come to mind, or maybe FL if I can get the time off, or even just good old upstate NY. Then again, maybe someplace that Brendan has never been to before such as Bar Harbor, ME or someplace both of us have never been to before like Mackinaw, MI or Hannibal, MO (think big catfish). If we do go for a road trip soon, hopefully it will end up near a good fishing hole with a canoe outfitter nearby and us with a couple of sticks and a can of worms.

All the best,
GB

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Family First - A Master 's Degree

Today was undoubtedly one of the proudest of my and Linda's lives. Today, our daughter Celina graduated with a graduate degree, a Master of Science, her major was in Education specifically geared toward teaching History. She is the first in our family, on my wife's side and on my side, to have achieved this accomplishment as far as I know. To put it into words and to say I am very proud of her would be a gross understatement. To tell you the truth - at a celebratory dinner today - words almost failed me. I got up to give a speech, I had something in mind a few minutes long, but all I said was that I was proud of her for her family first and I told her she brought great honor on our family. Then again, now that I think of it, it was not words that failed me, it was that those words said it all in one sentence and that having been said, for once I shut up and, we then all toasted her success.


Nothing at all else needed to be said, she got it - she knew how both her mom and I felt, how her brother felt, how everyone in the family felt. We were proud of her beyond description. It is a good feeling knowing your children are achieving the real American dream (of parents' anyhow): That our children are going to do better than we did. There may be no better feeling in the world! Now, I expect she will move on with life and teach our community's children something about what made us what we are still today, despite tough times, the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

The top pic is of Celina and her mom, the other is of her boyfriend, Celina and her brother. My pics with her are on another camera and I have not seen em yet.

All the best,
Glenn B

Willie Nelson In New York City at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom

Saw him there tonight (now actually last night on Thursday the 6th) and he was absolutely excellent. I have been hoping to see him again ever since I saw him perform in a place I think was called the Palomino Club somewhere in New Mexico way back in the late 70s. I got my chance last night and took it. The money I spent on the ticket has got to have been the best money I have ever spent on entertainment in my life - I mean that most assuredly. Great , great singer and he was backed by a great band. Funny thing is, I am pretty sure that NYC was not on his 2010 tour. For some reason he played here and cancelled for somewhere in PA tonight (or so I heard someone say after the show who had tickets for the one in PA. Add that to the fact that I found out about the show pretty much on a fluke and you can bet I was one lucky guy.

I've got to hit the hay so I can get up early for my daughter's graduation for her Master's Degree tomorrow, but I will write more about Willie over the weekend. Before I go just let me say, man oh man I am happy to have gotten another chance to see him - great show.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 57 - Accidental Discharges of Another Nature

If you are at all familiar with guns and with firearms safety then you know that the best way to avoid accidental discharges is to keep your finger off the trigger, treat each gun as it were loaded each time you pick it up or handle it, keep firearms pointed in a safe direction and on and on. That way you don't actually shoot someone because you made an avoidable mistake. Then again there are accidental discharges of another sort when it comes to firearms; ones that can come to pretty dismal conclusions and yet are not caused by any violation of the regular firearm's safety rules. I won't go into them all here but will tell you about one type of accidental discharge of which I was a victim earlier today - or maybe I should say that one of my rifles and a gun case were the victims.

In our home we have four dogs. Dogs and guns have always seemed to go together from police and military canine units to Labrador Retrievers and Pointers afield with hunters. My dogs, well they have no particular use for guns, it is not like I take our 2 Chihuahuas hunting nor the 2 mutts for that matter either. I don't think I have ever had one of the dogs around while shooting though they sometimes come to visit me in the basement when I am cleaning them. They give an almost disinterested sniff now and again but that is it. Since they exhibit no love or overwhelming curiosity for them (at least none that I knew of until today) I was never all that concerned about leaving a rifle propped up against a wall or one laying on the floor in an open gun case. Heck none of them are loaded when I leave them around like that so it was not like one of the pooches was about to knock one of the guns over then step into the trigger guard and onto the trigger and shoot anything - like my butt - right? Just say "right" because I can tell you now that isn't what happened.

Today, just before I was leaving for work, I decided to put away a sort of prize rifle that I had out. It was laying there just as described above, in an open gun case , the case laying on the floor. I bent over to grab it without giving it much more than a glance and as soon as my hand was around the barrel just in front of the breech I realized it was wet. I took a look and saw what looked like beads of condensation on the metal. "Whoops", I thought, "I should not have left it out so close to the floor with it having been so humid the past couple of days". I was just straightening up, thinking I would give it a quick wipe off and a dab of oil when my eye was caught by a discoloration on the gray foam liner of the gun case. It was a spot about 2 or 3 inches in diameter and it would have been directly under the part of the barrel that was wet. Then I noticed 2 other such spots. They were kind of amber colored. I knew what it was and you probably know too by now. "Yech" was my next thought, that along with some rather expletive comments that flashed through my mind and somehow also managed to escape my lips.

One of our little darlings, one of the Chihuahuas, decided to relieve itself right there in my gun case and right atop my precious Remington 513-T Matchmaster, not once but three times. My grip was shifted immediately so I was no longer holding the wet part of the gun, you can bet on that and win for sure. Yes, these little demons are housebroken - more or less. The thing is when they are let outside to go, the female needs to be watched until she goes, she sometimes even need be encouraged to go with the word "make" and pushed back out into the yard when she tries to head across the patio to the door. When she finally gets the idea..., well even then she takes her time about it. The male is pretty good, he almost never has an accident but he will sometimes mark his territory inside - something he does with much less frequency than when young (having his masculinity removed did little to curb this behavior either). I figure the female was the culprit because of 3 little circular stains/wet spots. When the male goes he leaves a wet spot and a trailing end to it sort of like a comet - if you don't know what mean you don't know squat about dog anatomy or that adult male dogs (for the most part) don't squat!


I took the rifle in the back room, loosened the single screw that holds the barrel/receiver assembly to the stock and took it apart. Then I wiped it dry and then oiled it down with Breakfree CLP (great stuff because when I came home tonight and gave it an inspection there was not a speck of rust on the metal). After cleaning off the rifle, I just closed the gun case. I cleaned the foam liner tonight in hot sudsy water in my basement sink, now it is hanging to dry. Lucky for me, the foam which got wet was not either the actual liner of the top or bottom of the case but a third piece, a sort of filler piece, that came inside the case and that I never removed. It was still soaked tonight in the same spots but that liner must have super silica in it because it retained the wetness not letting it seep though to the lower layer (which is actually glued to the bottom of the box and would had to have been torn out to clean). That was really a spot or three of luck for me! Now, that middle piece of foam is hanging to dry. Once dry, I will let the dogs have a go at it to see how interested they are in sniffing it. I figure that if they pretty much ignore it then that means I got it cleaned up well enough.

Now the reason this probably happened is because the female, as I said, is sometimes reluctant to go outside and needs prompting. Why - because she is scared of everything. Not terribly so but enough to distract her while she is out and supposed to be doing her thing. So she needs coaching. She does not always get it if just left out for a few minutes and I guess that is our fault. They are my wife's babies, and sometimes i act as if they are not also my dogs so I don't have much to do with em except petting and letting em out back and feeding them now and then. My wife and daughter walk them 99.9% of the time and also let them out back more than I do. just not long enough though. The female Chihuahua needs more time out there and more watching over to make sure the mission is accomplished. Otherwise, accidents happen - accidental discharges at that - and just imagine the damage that could have been done had my rifle barrel sat in that wet spot for the remainder of the day, maybe even more than a day. You can bet the barrel would have been pitted in a short time because it had been pissed on and you can also bet I would have been pissed off.

Something like this could have some miserable results but yet it is easily avoidable. I suppose first and foremost, it is avoidable by making sure the doggies get enough time outside. Secondly, it can be avoided by making sure not to leave any guns around that could wind up in the line of fire of one of those accidental discharges of a different nature. I am taking aim on making sure it does not happen again.

All the best,
Glenn B