Friday, December 30, 2011

Beer Theft 101

Want to see a neat way to steal beer or just about anything bigger than most bread boxes but smaller than a regular sized beer keg. Then go here to the Feral Irishman a look at his post WTF???..... Beer Smuggling ........ I thought that was amazingly innovative and funny as all hell.

All the best
and Happy New Year,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Traffic Stop Shootout

This video shows pretty much, as I see it, why you really need to be a different kind of person to be in law enforcement and why people need to stop bitching that cops get paid too much. When part of your job is to face guys like this, then you can  bitch (yes I believe that military pay is way too low). The video is not new, it was reported on in May 2011 but it is the first time I have seen it. It wins the Ballseye Video of the Year Award, well it would win it if there was such an award. Let's just say, I like it a lot because they got the piece of shit.


video


All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Good News For Me For Now

I saw my radiation oncologist yesterday. He scoped out my throat and despite all the pain I have been having in my mouth and throat he had good news for me. He cannot see any of the lesion or tumor where my cancer apparently started in my right tonsil and the rest of my throat also looks good. So, at least on the outside, my tonsil looks clear of cancer. Now I have to wait, until late February or early March, for the PET Scan and CT Scan to see if they got it all inside of my tonsil and in my lymph nodes. One can only hope.

Besides me hoping that they do not find any sign of the cancer by then, I am also hopeful that by then all of the pain will have gone away. My mouth and throat have been painful enough to make me cut back on eating lately and I lost a few pounds in the last two weeks. That made my gastroenterologist decide, today, to cancel my PEG tube (stomach feeding tube) removal for tomorrow. He said it would just be a better bet to wait to make sure I absolutely no longer need it. He is watching out for me.

Me, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, December 26, 2011

Obama 2012

If this poster does not make people on the left, or at least those in the middle and those who lean a bit left, think about for whom they should vote, then something is terribly wrong with the way they think.



All the best,
Glenn B

Note: I got that one in an email; there was no copyright info attached so I am showing it here. If I find out there is a copyright and get all the owner's contact info, I will check with the owner to see if it is okay to leave it up or not. For now, it stays.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope you have a joyous, merry, fun, safe and healthy Christmas and that it is all you hoped it would be.

And shame on me for doing it so late but please allow me to wish all my Jewish readers a very Happy Hanukkah, may you enjoy all of its days in health, peace and safety.

Then, almost finally, to all, my wish that you have a very Happy New year.

Of course, for the rest of you there is always Festivus. If you do not celebrate any of the above, then allow me to wish you Happy Festivus.

All the best,
Glenn B

A State Trooper's Christmas Eve

Great video, give it a watch.



All the best and Merry Christmas,
Glenn B

Guns and Ammo As Good As Gold?

I don't see why anyone suddenly would think that it is something new, that is to consider guns and ammo to be as good as gold. Heck, I have always thought they were better than gold but you can bet I would not mind having some gold on hand too. Just too expensive for me, shame on me for not buying some a few years back. I did buy guns and ammo though, so I have no shortages there.


Is Ammo The New Gold? Part 1
Via: Ammo.net

A hat tip goes out to The War On Guns for making me aware of this graphic that can be found at http://ammo.net/ammunition.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas and Stocking Stuffers For The Firearms Enthusiast, Hunter and Fisherman

Have you gotten your Christmas shopping done yet or haven't you  even started yet? Do you find it difficult to decide what to buy for that special person like your wife, husband, son, daughter, best friend, or whomever? Are you waiting for Christmas Eve to go out into the mad rush to buy last minute gifts? Have you gotten almost everything already but just need a stocking stuffer or two to complete your gift shopping? Is the person for whom you are shopping a firearms enthusiast or an avid outdoorsman, such as a hunter, fisherman, or shooter. If the person for whom you need a gift falls into that classification then allow me to give you some ideas for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers.

FOR THE SHOOTER:

AMMO: A box of ammunition in the caliber he shoots most. Ammo is always a welcome gift, well at least when it is in the right caliber and grain weight. If you live with the person for whom you are shopping, and you are not sure of the right caliber or bullet weight, sneak a look at his or her stash of ammo. Write down what is says on the outside of the box and head out to your nearest gun shop. It should be a cinch to get it right. Just in case, make sure the ammo shop allows exchanges.

CLEANING SOLVENT: Another welcomed gift by anyone who shoots a lot and who properly cares for his firearms. It should be easy to check on what brand is used by the person for whom you are shopping but brand is not usually as critical as long as you buy a good solvent that gets the job done. A well used and respected solvent is Hoppes No. 9 and another of a different type is Break-Free CLP but there are many others out there from which to choose. You pretty much cannot go wrong with the two above for regular shooting but if the shooter is a muzzle loader then look to something like CVA Barrel Blaster Black Powder Cleaning Solvent.

A FIREARMS SCREWDRIVER SET: Not a bad thing to have on hand when adjustments need to be made to sights or scopes, or when small repairs may need to be made at the range. You can spend a lot of money on a high quality high priced gun screwdriver set  or you can buy a bargain set of good enough quality to be used out in the field for emergencies. A mid-level priced gun screwdriver set is also makes a good stocking stuffer.

GIFT CARD: A gift card, to your shooter's favorite gun shop (just an example) or to a store, that sells firearms and firearms accessories, like Dick's Sporting Goods, is another idea for a stocking stuffer. This could be in just about any amount but to be reasonable I would start at about at least $15 and work my way up depending on how much I wanted to spend.


FOR THE HUNTER:

You can get most of the gift that I mentioned above if the hunter uses a firearm for hunting. Other gifts that you might consider, in general for both firearm and archery hunters, could be:

KNIFE: You can buy either a straight edged knife or a folding knife. For a stocking stuffer, unless yo know the knife preferences of the person for whom you are shopping, I recommend a folding knife, with two blades, with a blade length of 4 inches or less for the larger blade. In essence, what I would recommend is an all around utility type knife like this Case Trapper, which is made in the USA.

COMPASS: Something that many hunters carry but all too many do not carry with them while hunting is a decent compass. Even if you do not know how to read a compass as regarding map reading you can still use one to help you navigate through the woods. For example, if you park your car on a north/south bound road, then walked into the woods to the west, you would know your vehicle was basically back toward the east when you wanted out, and a compass can help make sure you go in the right direction. I prefer liquid filled lensatic compasses such as this one but you may want to talk to a knowledgeable salesperson before buying one to decide on one that is good for all around use.

GLO-STICKS: These are pretty much a must have, especially for the hunter who goes it alone in the woods or fields. In the event that the hunter becomes lost, or maybe is incapacitated (say a broken leg or bad sprain) and must spend the night afield due to an emergency, it is a good idea to have at least a three night's supply of these. Glo-Sticks come in various colors, I like the original greenish-yellow glow and they also come in ones that last for various amounts of time from a few hours up to at least 12 hours. I prefer the ones that will glow for 12 hours. I recommend you get these at a local sporting goods store or at an automobile supply store (they are sometimes used instead of flares as they probably are safer than flares) and that you shop for price on these. 

GIFT CARD: Ditto as above under For The Shooter.

FOR THE FISHERMAN

LURES: It is important to know the type of fishing that is being done if you want to buy some lures for a stocking stuffer (please make sure they remain sealed in original packages so the hooks are not exposed). There are many types of lures such as Crank Baits, Poppers, Buzz Baits, Spoons, Artificial Worms, Flys and on and on.

Fillet Knife: A good quality fillet knife is often a good bet to put a smile on a fisherman's face. I know that I have seen mine turn into a rusted mess and I have lost more of them than I care to admit while on fishing trips. I prefer one with about an 8 inch blade length, like this moderately priced Rapala, just in case I catch that monster fish I have dreamed about.

FISHERMAN'S PLIERS: This is an almost indispensable tool for the guy or gal who goes fishing a lot. They come in both regular carbon steel and in stainless steel. I prefer the stainless steel models and although they cost somewhat more they are worth it to me. Rapala makes some at reasonable prices and their are other brands available, some at much higher prices (see page two of the linked page).

GIFT CARD: Ditto as above under For The Shooter.

I hope this helps, if you are still without a needed gift, for one of the types of outdoorsmen I listed above. I know that I would be happy to get any of the gifts on the list (HINT to my family).

All the best,
Glenn B

Disclaimer:  I do not receive any type of pay or other compensation for my linking to the businesses mentioned or linked to above nor do I receive same for mentioning the products discussed above. In addition, I do not endorse any of those businesses or products for any reason. I have used some of the products mentioned above, or have used ones similar them. I have shopped at almost all, but not all, of the business to which I have linked. I used the ones at which I have shopped only due to my limited familiarity with them. I used the one(s) with which I am unfamiliar due to the conveninence of them selling the product I was writing about.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Has Arrived...

...and with its arrival the days have started to get longer, a little bit more sunshine, or at least more daylight, each day now - winter through the spring. That is a good thing. Of course there is also the cold, the bitter cold, the winds, the sleet, the snow, and the snowmen. How did that song go, something to the effect:

'...the weather outside is frightful
but the fire inside is delightful...

And that is the way I suppose I will look at it until the weather warms up on its own in the spring (or sooner if global warming clobbers us and the polar bears). Of course, I will look at it that way so long as i can pay the bills for my home heating oil. I just paid about $400 bucks for about a hundred gallons of oil. That hurts when you consider there are almost sure to be at least 3 more months of oil bills at least as high as that and probably higher because sooner or later it really will feel like winter and get cold, the more oil used for more heat. Oh well, I must admit, it is rather delightful to come in from the cold to a nice warm home and my wife keeps the thermostat set at about 62. Still, when you come in from a really cold day, it feels toasty inside if the heat was on recently even when set that low.

Despite the cold and the fact that cold and my bones no longer agree with one another, I love it. Maybe that is because a god amount of winter assures a good amount of spring and that a good amount of summer and that a good balance of the fall. I do love the four seasons, especially the changing of the seasons as we have it here in NY. When I lived in southern California for four years, we had it hot from about March through the ass end of October, then it was cool with a few really cold days thrown it. Well, that is if you can consider 35 to 40 degrees really cold and I guess you can consider those temps as just that when it used to hit in the hundred and tens rather frequently in the four really hot months. Seems that your blood thins out and anything under 50 to 60 degrees is cold. It took me about 4 or 5 years to adjust to NY temps when I moved back up this way.

Enough of my rambling. Enjoy the first day of winter and the days of it yet to come. If you like the cold, then this is your season. If you do not look forward to the cold and the snow then think of it this way - the days are getting longer.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fun Fact - The Christmas Eve and Christmas Moon Phases

Here is a fun fact for this year: The New Moon will fall on Christmas Eve and the Moon will begin to wax (appear larger) beginning in Christmas day. So on Christmas eve you will not be able to see the moon, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and you will again be able to see it, at least a sliver of it, on Christmas day. Much like the moon will be reborn on Christmas just as it was the birthday of Jesus. Just thought I would put that out there for those of you who might enjoy the heavenly coincidence. Go here to check on moon phases on an interactive moon phase calendar.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh Those Unpredicatable Hermann's Tortoises

There is was, beginning to prepare my Hermann's Tortoises for hibernation/brumation. I had made darned sure that they have been well fed lately, hoping to assure they were healthy enough and of a high enough weight to withstand a couple to a few months without food at lowered temperatures (probably in the mid forties to mid fifties Fahrenheit). I also had made sure that they were well hydrated by not only supplying them with drinking water frequently but also by keeping the cypress mulch substrate in their enclosure fairly moist. I added substrate to the enclosure so that they could dig down and completely cover themselves with substrate twice their height. This was all in anticipation of not feeding them for 10 days to a week, then turning off their heat lamp for about a week, then placing them into a room where the temps are very close to what I mentioned above. They would stay there for two to three months or a bit more.

There is no reason that these tortoises absolutely must be placed into hibernation while in captivity. It is not like it will adversely effect their health if they do not hibernate, at least as far as I am aware. They do just fine without it. The thing is though, if you want to breed them and if you want the eggs to be viable and to have been fertilized by the male tortoise, them hibernation is strongly advised. Hibernation allows the male to develop sperm and apparently also allows the female to develop viable eggs (personal communication with Ed Bennett, et al). This past spring/summer my female laid two clutches of eggs, I think 9 eggs in all if I recall correctly. Only 2 of those eggs hatched, one from each clutch.  I incubated them properly so I wondered what else might have gone wrong to cause such a low hatch rate when Hermann's Tortoise eggs often have about an 80% hatch rate. I learned that not having hibernated them could have been the problem. Another factor may have been that the eggs got a bit too cool after being laid. I probably got them out within an hour or two of her laying one clutch and sooner after she laid the other but they still had enough time to cool to the temperature of the substrate which probably was in the mid to upper seventies although the surface temp was much warmer.

I woke up to a dream that she was laying this morning and I walked over to her enclosure and checked on her. To my surprise some dreams do come true. She was in the process of dropping eggs when I took a look. Of course, me dreaming about it this morning could be called coincidence but I think it was probably more an anticipatory collection of thoughts that came out in a dream due to the circumstances. The circumstances being I saw her starting to dig with her hind legs yesterday, a sure sign she is ready to lay eggs. So, yesterday afternoon, I added even more substrate to her enclosure, enough for her to feel that she had dug deep enough to have made a good nest. I was really somewhat surprised that she laid already today. The last two clutches were laid a couple to a few days after she started test digging nest sites. Tortoises and other turtles often dig test nest holes or just dig holes that for some reason they find unsuitable and they just walk away from them. That could also be due to the fact that they may not be quite ready to lay eggs but think they are ready, sort of a false labor sort of a thing. Whatever the reason, she laid them pretty quickly after her first attempts at digging a nest site this time around.

After seeing them, I did not waste any time. I got the incubator down off of the shelf, found a suitable small plastic container to hold the eggs inside the incubator and got out the long cut sphagnum moss and gave it a good soaking, then squeezed out the excess water, then put that into the plastic container. As soon as the heat inside my Hovabator incubator was at the proper temperature, I put the eggs into the substrate inside the plastic container and put that into the incubator. Time will tell if these eggs are all fertile or not. if they are, then I can expect a mixed batch of male and female Hermann's tortoises in about 75 days, give or take around 5 days. The reason I can expect a batch of mixed sex babies is because I will incubate the eggs between 86 to about 88.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1). The sex of baby tortoises is determined by temperature at a certain stage of their development. Since I will leave the temp set in that range for the whole of the development it is a good bet they will be mixed sex, that is if the eggs hatch. Last time, I am pretty sure I incubated at a slightly higher temperature range to get all females. Time will also tell if I got that right although it will be a few years before sex can be easily determined in the tortoises from the first two clutches. Right now though, I am simply hoping that all the eggs are fertile. I will be surprised if they are since they have not hibernated but as I said, time will tell.

While determination of the sex of the babies may be predictable, the breeding habits of the adults surely is not predictable. With the shortened days, cooler nights in my basement, and other environmental factors, I would have expected the two adult Hermann's Tortoises that I have to be getting ready to hibernate as opposed to be breeding and egg laying. I do not usually like surprises, seems they are more often bad ones than good. This time though, even though quite unexpected a very surprising, it was a pleasant surprise at that.

All the best
Glenn B

1) Highfield, A.C. 1994. Keeping And Breeding Tortoises In Capitivity. The Longdunn Press Ltd., Bristol.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Made In USA - Feedback On Some Recent Online Orders

Yesterday, I received the Federal .223 ammo that I ordered last week from Cheaper Than Dirt. I have to hand it to them, they virtually always seem to get my orders right and deliver them promptly. I was going to give the ammo to my son as a Christmas gift but  just gave it to him now for him being him. He gave me several rides back and forth during my chemo treatments and he has been the one to whom I can talk to the most when I emotions have gotten all shot to hell by this cancer crisis. I just figured that he has been nice enough that he deserved a little something extra and this wound up fitting the bill. He was quite the happy shootist to receive it and quite surprised, I think, to find out why he got it now instead of for Christmas.

Today, I received the items I ordered, last week, from Smoky Mountain Knife Works. They got the order right too, which is always a plus. Now, I knew the Case knife that I ordered was made in the USA. All of their knives are made in the USA. That is a good thing and a good reason to buy from them at least now and again. Besides that being a good reason, they seemingly made high quality knives and that is one heck of another good reason to buy from them. There was a surprise in this order though and I am not one who usually likes surprises. The reason I do not like them is because they are all too often bad surprises. Surprisingly (was that a pun) this one was a good surprise.

The surprise was that the Ka-Bar USMC Fighting/Utility knife that I ordered was also made in the USA. Go figure, I had thought that Ka-Bar had given up making all but there highest quality knives in America. Well anyway, there was a another plus for Ka-Bar. When I say another plus, I guess the best plus for them is that they make this particular knife. I love them, I own 4 of them now, two full sized (as was this one) and two sort versions. Actually, Brendan owns one of the short versions and I( own the other. Of course, there was another bit of a surprise, the sheath was not made in the USA. That was made in Mexico. It is a sad case of affairs when crap like that has to happen, we really are losing too much of our production capabilities due to it being so much less expensive to do it elsewhere, but I digress. At least it was made in a country close to home and in one from which we are sooooooo lucky to have about 30 million illegal aliens living in ours. Yes, that being lucky part was a bit of sarcasm. Still though, I am quite happy the knife was made in the USA. By the way, that is not engraved on the blade. That info was on a sticker on the end of the box that said the knife was made here and the sheath was made there.

Smoky Mountain Knife Works also sent me a small token of their appreciation for having placed my order. It is an old fashioned can/bottle opener. Actually it may have been Case that assured I would get that little gift for having ordered a Christmas Trapper. I am not too sure if I am going to keep it for myself or put it into Brendan's Christmas stocking. After all, he is of legal drinking age and he does enjoy a cold one or three now and again and there must be some beers out there besides Heineken (which he is not a big fan of) that require a bottle opener. As for the can opener end, I kind of wish they went back to making cans like that so church keys would be a mandatory piece of bling to hang from your key chain. Yep, if I were to wear bling, that would be it for me.

Well, the orders both went through without a hitch. The merchandise is quality stuff and most of it was made in the good old US of A. You cannot get much better than that. You will excuse me now, I need to go find the Christmas wrapping paper and get that Trapper all dolled up.

All the best,
Glenn B
PS: Want to know how to get spam comments for your posts? Just go ahead and write up a post or two about something you plan to or have ordered, such as ammo or knives. No sooner had that post been up for just a few days and whamo, there it was a comment telling me, in the most general fashion, just how nice was my post. There was no indication that the person who left the spam actually read or liked my post, the comment was that vague. Well, whomever sent me that comment just assured I will not be making purchases from their company any time soon. Comment deleted. I write up posts about purchases I have made of firearms, ammo and accessories because I figure when I find a good supplier or a good deal why not share the source and when I get crapola service products, why not warn my readers of the same. I get nothing from the retailers or manufacturer's for that. It is not a service for them, it is a courtesy for my readers and something interesting for me to write about. Hope you enjoy such posts but please do not send me spam comments - they probably will be deleted.(I said probably because I seem to recall having let one or two slide over the st year or two if only because the comment that they left indicated they actually had read my post and were specifically commenting about my post as opposed to leaving a general all purpose comment just to squeeze in the spam.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Decent Deal On Knives...

...Is Being Offered At Smokey Mountain Knife Works (www.smkw.com).

They are offering 10% off the price and shipping and handling for only $1.00 on purchases of $50.00 or more, the offfer is shown as good until December 12th. When ordering, you must use the savings code that they supply (it was on their home page when I placed my order). That was not a bad deal and since I have been wanting to order a 2011 Case Christmas Trapper and a Ka-Bar USMC Fighting/Utility Knife with straight edged blade, I jumped on it.

Christmas, for someone in my house, is going to be very nice this year. That 2011 Case Christmas Trapper is beautiful. They had another Case Christmas knife called T'was The Night Before Christmas but it was on back order so I passed it up. I would have ordered that one instead of the 2011 Christmas Trapper but there really was no assurance that I would receive it in time to get it in the stocking over the fireplace in time for Christmas.

As far as the Ka-Bar goes, I don't know if that is a give away or if I will keep it. I may just throw it into the emergency gear and leave it there in case of emergency. It surely is one heck of a good knife to have when you need a knife for just about anything from gutting a deer to chopping down a tree for firewood (I only use dead trees). I have carried one afield with me for many years. Nowadays, I sometimes carry the shortened version instead of the full sized one. I must admit, I like them both, but I do like the full sized one the best.

So, if you need a knife, or accessories related to knives such as sharpeners, check out Smokey Mountain Knife Works for a good deal but bear in mind that it expires on December 12th.

All the best,
Glenn B

I've Been Shopping For Ammo And The Best Prices...

...require some looking if you want to find them. For instance, today, I was interested in picking up about 500 rounds of .223 ammo as a Christmas gift for my son (he never reads my blog so it is a safe bet this will still be a seKrit come Christmas). While doing my search for a good price, what caught my eye was a deal I received in an email for 420 rounds of Federal XM855 5.56 NATO Ammo 62 Grain FMJBT in a steel ammo can, all the ammo on stripper clips. The price was $169.97 at www.sportsmansguide.com. I could settle for 420 rounds instead of 500. This ammo had a few things going for it. It is made to NATO specs, it is 62 grain (which shoots very well out of both of my son's ARs) and it came in an ammo can on stripper clips (a gimmick to get you to buy it but I like it). I am no longer a member of The Sportsman's Guide Buyer's Club so the discount down to $161.47 would not apply unless I joined again which will be a distinct possibility on my next order from them since they have good deals that usually are only made better by joining for $29.99 for the year. Regardless, they are offering free shipping, on items above $99, for a limited time. That was not a bad deal but I would shop around first.

I found the same ammo on about 4 other websites. Some were close in price, maybe one or two were better in price of the ammo but none offered free shipping so the deal at The Sports Mans Guide was looking good. That was until I went to www.CheaperThanDirt.com. Cheaper Than Dirt had the exact same ammo (ammo can and stripper clips included) for $139.97 but shipping had to be paid. With shipping and handling, the total price worked out to $159.97. BINGO, that was the best deal I could find on this ammo so, I bought it!

I have noticed, that lately you often can get better prices at Cheaper Than Dirt than you can at The Sportsman's Guide. The thing is though, The Sportsman's Guide usually has a better selection of ammo in bulk. Cheaper Than Dirt, for some reason, does not carry as many ammo items in bulk. By bulk,  I mean ammo that is sold in at least 200 round lots,  half cases, full cases or larger lots. Why they do not usually sell it, at Cheaper Than Dirt, in bulk is beyond me. Since buying it in bulk is most often the better deal, I usually shop at places like Sportsman's Guide, Ammo To Go, Military Shooters, or SG Ammo. Today though, the better deal was at Cheaper Than Dirt.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Winds Of War - Whipping The Shores of the Falkland Islands...

...Or Maybe We Should Call Them The Maldives

After reading the article at the below link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/falklandislands/8936750/Argentina-launches-naval-campaign-to-isolate-Falkland-Islands.html

I would think that another Falklands Island war is almost inevitable. There certainly could be many different outcomes of the events reported upon in the article but it seems to me as if Argentina is almost begging for it. This time they just may win it. England, as a country is a mess. Her armed forces are probably not much better off than is the rest of the country. Argentina, according to the article, has already gathered allies to lend their support. Who will support England? Probably not the United State of America, not in any way other than lip service and maybe a loan of a fighter jet or two. We are involved in two wars already and are having difficulties getting out of them. I doubt we could do much for England except to arm her and as badly off as we are when it comes to our economy I wonder what could we afford to lend? Not much.

Nope, if it happens this time, I foresee difficult times for the English and for the inhabitants of the Falklands and maybe a new flag raised high thereabouts.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

19 Words, As Valid Today As They Were On December 7, 1941

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

How the world once feared and respected the United States of America can be seen in the quote attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Yes, Japan lost its fear and respect for us and paid the ultimate price for it, unconditional surrender after a brutal few years of terribly destructive battle. The truly sad thing though is that Japan was merely ahead of its time by about 70 years, today being the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the final even that brought the United States into WWII. Had the Japanese been more patient, maybe as seem to be the Chinese (they are almost at the point where they have no reason at all to respect us and little reason to fear us), the Japanese may have won. This is no longer 1941 and we have changed.

Our people are no longer indivisible, we no longer are a patriotic unified force. We have, to a large degree, lost the will to fight to protect those things that made us the greatest nation on the face of the earth - the one to which people flock for opportunity to achieve the American Dream, and we are now filled not with those who worked hard to get here and waited their turn to come here legally but with those who sauntered across our southern and even our northern borders virtually unchallenged - even welcomed by vote greedy politicians. We are a nation of people who have in great part forgotten our once great liberties and rights, who have given them up for this or that promised to us by those same politicians as we slide closer and closer each day toward the exact same things from which people once fled to our shores - things like tyranny, communism, fascism, and socialism. We truly face an enemy as we have never before and that enemy is the enemy within.

Yet, there are still many of us willing to fight, willing to uphold the things that made us strong. To stand for the rule of law, to uphold our Constitution and its amendments. To remain unfailingly patriotic when we face an enemy from without or within. Those among us who would give all to defend our way of life. Sadly though, we are diminished in number as each day goes by if only because of how these sacred things, sacred to any country with liberty and justice for all, are so easily obscured by those to whom we have given our trust to act as our leaders. In order to overcome this, we need only look to the sources of our having been born as a nation. Read the Declaration of Independence. Read the Constitution. Read the Bill of Rights. Then tell me, does out current administration really have our best interests at heart. I think not and I believe that if you truly sit back and read those fairly brief documents I just mentioned then you will believe likewise, if not then  believe you too are the enemy the enemy of the greatest nation on earth. I will be doing all that I can, in the upcoming 11 months or so to change how we stand. Stand by me and do the same, then on election day make sure to vote the current administration out of office. Let them know, the 19 words that began this post have not been forgotten and are as valid today as they were when first uttered 70 years ago, let them know that you and I are part of that sleeping giant and we are filled with a terrible resolve, one that means we will do all it takes to protect the United States of America just as did our forefathers in 1941.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blogging More As Time Goes By, I Must Be On A Roll

I have posted 4 blogs in the last week (not including this one). I suppose that means I am getting back to a more normal blog posting schedule for me since all the cancer crap began. I also suppose that means I must be feeling better as time goes by and there certainly is some truth to that though I am far from normal in that regard. They say time heals all wounds, I certainly hope so but even if that is a load of bullshit, I can still get back into my normal blogging flow in the meantime as long as  am feeling up to it.

All the best,
Glenn B

In How Many Different Countries Were Your Firearms Manufactured and In What Countries

I figured this would be a sort of fun meme to start up and have go around the gun blogging world. Allow me to lay out the rules. Regarding firearms that you currently own, from how many different countries of manufacture do you own firearms? Let's see, for those who don't get it yet, your guns have to be owned by you right now, you cannot include ones you used to own, hope to own or that are on layaway, etc. Now regarding those and only those, go take a look at them and figure out where they were manufactured. I am not asking you how many guns you have that were made in any particular country but just how many different countries of manufacture your collection covers and that you list those countries.

As far as my guns go, I currently own guns made in nine different countries. Just to make it a bit more interesting I will list the make of the guns from those countries, well one from each country and just note whether or not I also have others from the same country. You can answer how you like, list all of your guns from each country or one as I have done, or none but remember the bottom line is to tell us how many different countries your guns were made in and to name the countries.

Here are the countries in which my guns were manufactured:

1) Germany - Ortgies .32 Auto
2) Hungary - Mosin Nagant M44
3) Italy Beretta - 92SB
4) Philippines - Armscor 14Y
5) Poland - 1955 WZ-48 .22 LR Trainer‏
6) Romania - WASR AK-47
7) United States of America - Smith & Wesson Model 17-8 and several others

8) Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - Mosin Nagant 91/30
9) Yugoslavia - SKS and at least one other rifle

Now that I think of it, that covers a certain number of continents too, but maybe that is best saved for another meme on another day.

Byt the way, if someone else did this meme before, shame on me for not knowing but you can still give an answer. If no one has thought of it before, then have fun with an original idea from the muddled middle aged mind of Ballseye.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Heart Is Heavy As Cain Quits The Campaign

This was the man I was sure could do it. He had a platform that looked to me to be the best or close to the best of all the candidates. I was fairly sure that the sexual allegations against him were bogus. He still claims there were just that but he put an end to his campaign because of the heat he and his family were suffering. If he did not commit those things of which he was accused he should have stood his ground. If he did do one of them or more of them, he should have said the same thing I thought William Clinton should have said: "America, you caught me with my pants down" and left it at that then continued on. Clinton should have been thrown out of office for lying to Congress under oath. Cain, well if he did those things and lied o cover up, he would have faced the consequences of dropping like a rock in the polls. If he did not do them, then dropped out, well I am thinking I would not want him as my president after all if he crumbled that easily under pressure from his adversaries.

I am saddened though, I thought we had a winner in him. Unless he does something wonderful I doubt he could make a comeback if he wanted to. It's over, he is washed up on the rocky shore like so many others before him who for one reason or another just could not make it to safe harbor. He was unable to reach friendly shores to ready himself for battle against the real enemy who in this case is President Obama. What a shame.

I can only hope and pray that less than conservative Repooblikans do not now turn even more toward that douche bag from MA, Romney. I think he is about as liberal as Kerry and I think as conservative as whom I believe to be a RINO, that Democrat in Republican's clothing, none other than John McCain. I would rather vote for Ron Paul than for Romney, maybe even that socialist commie Huntsman as I see him. I guess now, my vote in the primary will have to go for Newt Gingrich. Yes, I know his stance on illegal aliens sucks but sometimes you have to bend a little. Of course, if I thought he had even a small chance at winning, I would vote for Santorum, likewise for Bachman.

We still have time until this plays out, one can hope that Bachman or Santorum will rise to the top.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, December 1, 2011

That Old College Ring Finally Came In Handy For Something...

..and that something was cash to the tune of enough to make me happy I decided to sell it. I have not worn it in many years since it does not fit any more but even if it did fit I wouldn't wear it. I just don't wear jewelry. As a matter of fact, I had not seen the ring for over 3 or 4 months; it somehow wound up on the floor behind my computer desk in the basement. I dug it out of there recently and decided that if I could get a decent price for it, I would sell it. Well, I asked how much they would give, then told them to add on a bit more, they said okay and I sold it. The buyer was a pawn shop that buys and sells gold among other things. I dealt with these folks once before and that time I went to about 4 or 5 other dealers trying to get a price on a small gold ring I had back then. The place I sold the ring at today had the best offer then so I used them again today. (My son also sold some items to them today and he shopped around and this place gave him the best deal.)

I was going to sell the college ring last year at a pawn shop in NYC but they told me the ring was not gold but had iron in it. Actually it was 14 carat white gold that had a black finish added onto the low spots to add a nice contrast between them and the high spots; the black finish was a paint-like material with oxidized metal in it - something that would last just about as long as the ring itself. They doubted me, even though they could have called the ring company to verify that. The ring company is a major supplier of school rings throughout the country and I would think their word on it good enough. Better for me as it turned out because gold is higher today and thus I got more money for it than I would have last year. 

Such a deal, no reason for me to hold onto a ring I would never wear again and now I have a smile on my face and cash in my pocket.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lose Weight Or Gain Weight - That Is The Question

When I was diagnosed with cancer, a few months ago in August, I weighed 226 pounds or 232 pounds depending on the person who weighed me. You would be surprised at how difficult it can be to make an educated registered nurse understand that the gun, magazines, bullets, handcuffs and other gear on your belt weighs between 6 and 7 pounds and that is not your body weight. Someone finally got it right after about 2 months and when they figured how much weight I have gained or lost since this ordeal began, they now use the starting weight of 226 pounds. That means I lost about 22 pounds as of my last weigh in since I came in at 204 then. I have maintained that weight, within a pound or two either way, for about a month now. If I am still that weight tomorrow, my radiation oncologist will recommend removal of the feeding tube that was surgically implanted in my stomach through my abdomen.

The question then becomes what to do. Should I lose weight or should I gain weight. I am leaning toward losing weight at a slow pace, say maybe a pound per week, maybe 2 pounds. Of course, I will have to discuss this with the docs and see what they say. They may want me to maintain my weight for awhile yet or possibly even gain weight. I was not supposed to lose any weight during treatments, I had been fitted for a facial mask that held my head in place for radiation treatment and it had to be tight. Well, I lost weight due to being placed in the hospital and them not feeding me for a few days, then them giving me a few cans of liquid through the feeding tube before I was allowed to resume eating. I lost about 12 pounds while in the hospital and the downward slide began and I lost the rest not long after that. I lost several pounds more before radiation treatments were completed but the radiation technicians say they got the right place each time with the radiation treatments regardless of the weight loss. There was always a chance my head would move while in a mask that had become too loose because I lost weight but they made me lock my chin in each time and I guess it stayed in place. Whatever, in all, I lost about 22 pounds as of my last weigh in.

I go in tomorrow to see the radiation doc. I will be ecstatic if he gives the okay to remove the feeding tube, which by the way, I hardly ever used. I think I used less than or just about a half case of 8 ounce cans of the dietary supplement. I was given 210 cans of it, or 8 3/4 cases of it. I never got passed that 3/4 case. The stuff made me sick, I felt as if I had a hard lump in my gut for many hours after using it and sometimes it me me up-chuck or it wound up coming up and coating my tonsils with a burning ooze. It was not good for me, so I avoided it like the plague and forced myself to eat. I missed a few to several days of eating here and there when the radiation got my throat too cooked to eat but otherwise I surprised my medical team by eating even at the height of treatments.

Well, enough of that. The question now is to gain weight or lose weight. I opt to lose it slowly and I can only hope that the doctors will agree. I think this is the perfect time for me to do it. I think I can cut out the snacking totally if I try now. All that regardless of me eating 2 packs of Yodels yesterday and a good amount of other junk over the past few days - just making sure I am at least maintaining my weight for my weigh in tomorrow. I just think me not getting back to mini-blimp size would be a good idea. I think it would be even better if I went back to being fairly svelte. Imagine that, my wife might actually like it, heck I might like it myself!

All the best,
GB

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Tale of Two Newts

In ancient times, creatures like salamanders and newts were often attributed with magical powers. It was once believed that certain salamanders were born out of fire. The truth is that when some wet logs were taken from the wood pile, or picked up from the forest floor, there were salamanders that had taken up residence within nooks, crannies or cracks in the wood or the dampness under the bark. Throw that log onto a fire and what is a smart salamander to do but crawl away from the heat. People must truly have been much less intelligent than they are now to have been so ignorant of their surroundings not to have known that salamanders often lived in damp or rotting logs. One salamander, native to most of Western Europe, was even named Fire Salamander.

Then of course there was the famous witches' incantation, from Shakespeare's Macbeth:


"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."


That little newt must have been one powerful little critter to have an eye that was the first ingredient in a witches' brew. There were plenty of other powers attributed to these creatures some based on nothing more than fantasy and others based upon reality. A down to earth, reality based, power of these creatures was their ability to kill. Some have very powerful toxins in their skins that are released when these small amphibians are attacked. These toxins, dependent upon newt species as each carries varying amounts, can in some instances easily kill predators from other amphibians, to reptiles, to birds to mammals including those as large a bobcats (see: http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/toxin.shtml). Chances are that enough of that toxin could also kill a human. One has to wonder, were newts ever used by man to mix a poison to kill off an enemy.

I am not sure if newts or salamanders were ever believed to have the ability to live forever but it would not surprise me if such had been the case. First, just look to the Fire Salamanders or any salamander that would be able to crawl out of a fire and still live. Then look at the life span of the same salamander. Fire Salamanders are believed to have lived for as long as 50 years. While that was news to me, and was questionable to me since the source was Wikipedia, I found another source stating that some live up to 55 years, others to 25 years but most much less than that but still many up to 10 to 12 years. Even 10 to 12 years seems pretty long for such small creatures. (Note, the one that lived up to 55 years is the giant of all newts and salamanders, the Japanese Giant Salamander which can reach a weight of 140 pounds.) Such life spans could make them seem immortal but then again people back in medieval times were not keeping these creatures as pets nor studying them scientifically and likely had no idea how long they lived.

I am still wondering though if they have some magical power that allows them to live when they almost assuredly they should have died. My wonder is not fueled by the fact that they have crawled out of fires nor by the fact that some have very long life spans nor that they can live with deadly toxins within their skins. What makes me wonder is something that I have witnessed for myself, the astonishing ability of a particular Iberian Ribbed Newt to have survived for well over one year, without a watery home (they usually live in stagnant or slow moving bodies of water), without a ready source of dampness in which to shelter itself in the absence of watery home, and without a readily available source of food. Sometime over one year ago, I had 3 juveniles of this type of newt. I first got them in July 2010. Then, sometime before October 9th, the date of the Long Island Herpetological Society's annual show in 2010, I lost two of them. I think it was in September but just know for sure it was before the LIHS show. I figured that either they had somehow climbed out of there tank or that while cleaning some plants out of there tank I had inadvertently scooped up two of them with the plants and then thrown everything into the trash. As it turns out, at least for one of these tough little newts (little only when juveniles, they can and do grow fairly large for a newt - up to 12 inches), it had probably climbed out of its tank and escaped or I had dropped one on the floor when cleaning out the plants. After I realized that two went missing, I put up a good effort at searching the basement for them. I moved just about everything on the floor while looking for them. I could not find an sign of them and finally gave up after at least a couple of hours of effort on my part. I figured I had thrown them out with the plants that I had culled from the tank and figured they were gone forever.

I was very wrong, they, or at least one of them was not gone forever. I know this now because about one week ago, I was somewhat startled to see something crawling on my basement floor that looked like my single remaining Iberian Ribbed Newt. I wondered, for a moment: "Had that last one escaped its tank". Then I realized, there was no way that this small, skinny, little creature was the same as the fairly large and robust one I had in my community fish tank. The one in the tank had to be at least 7-8 inches long and this one was lucky if it hit 4 inches. The one on the tank was well fed and was quite a bit larger in girth as the one crawling on the floor. Then it hit me, surprised me, that the one I was looking at crawling across the carpeting in my basement had to be one of the two that went missing over a year ago. I wondered where it had been, what it had eaten and how in Hades it had survived for that long - out of water and without a ready source of food. I did not wonder too long. I got a net, scooped it up, and put it into the tank with the larger one. Why a net? Well, because of my current medical condition and because these newts can shoot there ribs out through their skin to pierce a predator. Why put it in the tank with the bigger one? Yeah, I know, that was a mistake, it should have gone into a quarantine tank for at least a month to make sure it was in good health before placing it the same tank as the other one. That was a brain fart on my part and I only thought of the quarantine tank after a few days of it being in with the larger one. What was done was done and it has been in there over a week already and seems to be adjusting with no ill effects on the other newt.

Yes, I said it seems to be adjusting well. At first, it seemingly wanted nothing to do with its new watery home. I keep the other Iberian Ribbed Newt in there with no land area on which it can crawl out. These newts are primarily, if not totally aquatic in there native range so I thought little of putting it right in there. Had I been thinking, and not been suffering from brain fartitis, I might have realized that since this newt had been out on dry land for over a year, that a completely aquatic environment would not suit it well. I would have been right. It squirmed this way and that and continuously tied to climb up the glass or atop the floating plants to get out of the water. It has since stopped trying to climb up what little glass is exposed above the water line. Now it primarily stays atop the floating plants and seems comfortable in the water now. I am happy it stays near the surface atop the plants as I am somewhat concerned that the bigger one might eat it if it gets the chance. The sad truth is I do not have another tank available for it so in there it will say at least for now.

Speaking of eating, it has started eating. Well, it actually started within a few days of it being found on the floor. It took part of a trout worm from my fingers when I held in front of its snout. It has eaten other parts of worms since then. As I said, it seems to be adjusting to its new home. My guess is it has gained a bit of weight as its belly has filled out somewhat since I found it. Now mind you, it was pretty skinny when I found it, still is, but not emaciated by any stretch of the imagination. For that to be the case, it must have eaten something over the course f a year. My guess is that it caught at least several of the creepy crawlers that run rampant in my basement. I don't know if they are silverfish, or centipedes but they are long, with lots of legs and are pretty darned fast. I have never tried to kill them off because while they are around I have never seen any other type of bugs in my basement with the exception of some flies, mosquitoes and spiders. I don't kill off the spiders either, I let them take care of the flies and mosquitoes that I don't get. Back to those creepy crawlers. Regardless of them being fast, my guess is that the slow little newt must have caught at least several of them for it to have survived that long without becoming emaciated. I guess one thing it had going for it was the fact that its natural habitat is somewhat arid and sometimes the ponds in which they live dry up forcing them to estivate under rocks, in crevices or anywhere that they can find dampness (see: http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Pleurodeles/P_waltl.shtml). However it did it, whatever it ate, wherever it found moist spots in which to shelter itself, it made it for more than a year. It is one tough newt species and one tough newt in particular!

The two newts in the accompanying picture (click on it to enlarge it) are the two newts that I have right now. I took the photograph this evening (heck, it is only 5:15 and its been long dark outside already). I wanted you to see them side by side for a comparison of what a year can do - a year for one that was well fed and living in the appropriate environment, a year for the other that was spent in what must have been newt hell. Yet, it survived. The smaller newt measures in at about 4 to 4.5 inches. The larger one is between 8.5 to 9 inches in length, probably closer to 8.5 but it may have reached a full 9 inches had I straightened it out when I measured it; instead I estimated around a small curve in its tail. It is definitely at least a bit longer that 8.5 inches long. These reportedly grow up to 12 inches in the wild but in captivity they normally max out at about 8 inches in length. My larger one is well on its way to becoming an atypical captive as far as size goes since it is already well over 8 inches in length. I am hoping it grows at east a couple more inches but only time will tell. I am also hopeful that the smaller one will grow to a normal size for an adult but this is questionable right now since it was not allowed proper nourishment for over a year and therefore may be stunted in any further growth. Again, time will tell and you can bet that it will be fed a good diet from now on. It will, at least, have the opportunity to grow over whatever time it has left in its lifetime. Besides the obvious difference in the length of each of these newts, the other obvious difference is their girth. I did not measure them around, I did not want to upset either enough to have it shoot out its ribs through its skin. This is a defensive ability they have that apparently does not harm the newt but can pierce a predator with the sharp rib tips (see both http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberian_Ribbed_Newt and http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Pleurodeles/P_waltl.shtml). Despite my not measuring them, I would offer a guess that the larger one is at least three times to four times around in girth than the smaller one. A good and steady diet will do that just as lack of food will prevent such growth. Yet as  I said, the little one was not emaciated when I found it, nor did it seem excessively dehydrated. While I would not normally consider this newt to be in good shape (it was skinny and had not gown enough for its age) I am flabbergasted as to how it survived a year in as good a shape as I found it. Maybe immortality is another of their traits otherwise this was just one lucky newt.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Translation Necessary

Watch this brief video. It is reportedly a Russian News Report and the newscaster is obviously talking about a certain political figure. She then does something, as she mentions that political figure's name, and no translation is necessary - believe me on that one. You have just gotta love it regardless of what she was saying.



All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish you all a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving; likewise for your families and loved ones. As for me and mine, you might think that there is little for us to celebrate today but I was at home with my family and with our daughter's fiance's family and we had a wonderful dinner together that spanned most of the afternoon and is still going on this evening. I had to pardon myself to take a break for awhile. I am especially thankful for my wonderful family; they have been a pillar of strength for me during my hard times lately. So, even though I have a lot today which I could lament, I chose to keep it happy and to be thankful for the good stuff. There is a cornucopia of it of it to go around. Allow me to repeat it one more time: I wish you all a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving; likewise for your families and loved ones.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Explained - Don't Miss This

A friend, Pete Q., gets the hat tip for sending me this in an email. This video is great, it truly shows the absolute hypocrisy of  the leftists loons who are participating in the Occupy Wall Street fiasco.





All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, November 14, 2011

Still Alive and Kicking and Adding To My Gun Collection

Well, all of my cancer treatments are over and done with. Radiation ended almost 2 weeks ago and Chemo ended last Tuesday. I am still feeling the effects of both, it was a tough weekend, real tough. Something that made things a bit easier or at least a bit more interesting for me was that I finally decided to open a carton that had been delivered to me on October 31. Can you say 'belated trick or treat'! I ordered a 1955 Polish WZ-48 .22 LR Trainer‏ from Centerfire Systems, they were nice enough to hold one for me until I could get my paperwork together which took me a few days to a week considering my current situation.

I am fairly happy with it. The metal is in VG condition, the wood is F to EX. I wish the metal were as good as the wood but what the heck. I bought it for a shooter and a fun gun not as a wall hanger or conversation piece. As luck would have it, my digital camera went legs up sometime during the early stages of my illness and I have not had the chance to get a new one or to find my old spare. When I do, I will post pics of it. Basically, it looks like a Mosin Nagant rifle, which is the rifle it was being used to train troops with which to be familiar. It is a single shot. It has a weird way of loading it. Since it did not come with a manual of any sorts, I will be waiting to find one and read it before I fire this thing. I will also wait to find and read a manual before I try to disassemble/reassemble it for a good cleaning. I did an online search for just such a manual but had no luck. If anyone knows of a source, please let me know.

Of course, I could not have afforded this rifle being that I just retired and what with the medical bills and such. Luckily for me, my sister and mother sent me a check for my birthday that just about covered every penny I spent on this rifle. How could I resist but to snatch one up when I saw it and had birthday money in my pocket. My wife seemed none to pleased to see another rifle had arrived via UPS and I never got around to explaining to her it was a sort of birthday gift from my sister and mom. Maybe I had ought to do that, then again - maybe not. For now, the riffle sits in the man cave and I await the day I will be well enough to head to the range with it for some shooting fun.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, November 3, 2011

RETIREMENT

My last day in Paradise, of a sort, came today. As of close of business today, I was officially retired from my service with the government as a civil service employee. Thirty-two years, a month and about 6 days of government service, all in law enforcement, are now behind me. Now I get to enjoy retirement to the max. Well, maybe after my cancer treatment has ended, I will be able to do so to the max, for now I may have to take it a bit easier on myself. So, I will enjoy it as much as I can until treatment has ended and then I will enjoy it even more, as I said - to the max.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cold Wet Slushy Snow...

...but snow nonetheless and on October 29th! Wow. I do not remember the last time it has snowed in October but I can say it is pretty rare here in my area of NY. Heck, in NYC's Central Park, 1.3 inches of snow fell today, making it the snowiest October ever on record for NYC and we still have two days to go before the month is over. No wonder those climatologists changed it from Global Warming to Climate Change.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just Saying "Hi"

Just wanted to post a quick one to say hi to all my readers. The last several weeks, especially last week, have been trying on me but I am hanging in there. I have about 2 more weeks (a little less I think) of radiation and one more chemo treatment to go. I am dreading the chemo, the other two sessions have knocked me on my ass and I was in the hospital last week for 4 days as a result.

Feeling somewhat better this week, even went to work yesterday. Had planned on going in today today but felt too worn out and spent the day in bed. This, like everything else in life, has its ups and downs. If when it is all over, the cancer has had its ass kicked, I will be on one hell of an upper and rejoice. If not, what can I say? Maybe I'll have to watch Secondhand Lions again, for inspiration to maybe learn how to fly and soar with the eagles (or something along those lines).

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday The 14th

As it is plain to see, I have not been doing a lot of blogging lately. My personal health battle has been taking its toll on my time, my ability to do anything because of fatigue and all the other lousy feelings I have been experiencing. For example, I spent the last 3 days in the hospital for my second round of chemo. This time around, much to my surprise, they gave me a double dose on the first day and nothing on the second day. I only found out on the second evening when I asked when they would be giving me my chemo treatment for the day. Called the chemo doc today to make darned sure they had gotten it right and he apologized for not letting me know ahead of time. I was concerned maybe they got my order screwed up because when they started chemo on Wednesday, they had the wrong date of birth on my labels for the meds. They actually sent an admin person from Admissions up to interview me to see if I was who  claimed to be and she checked my driver's license for my DOB. Funny they had to do that because when I checked in they took a copy of it. So that, with the surprise of not having a second day of chemo got me concerned enough to call the doc. I was told by his receptionist that he was out of the office on a Physician;s Day (early weekend would be my guess) and they would send him an email but did not know if he had email service (can you imagine). Then I asked the receptionist to call him and she said that they do not have phone numbers for the doctors when they are not in the office (can you imagine that, she must have thought I was born last night). So I told her that if she did not call him, I would just check myself out of the hospital. He called back within about 20 minutes or so. He was quite apologetic.

Shortly after he called, another doctor came by and she told me I could go home today. I was beginning to think that this Friday the 14th had somehow become a Friday the 13th but nope, it was a lucky day after all and lucky 14 came through for me. Check was rapid, my son was there within a half hour to get me, and they rolled me down to the exit pretty much just a minute before he rolled up outside with out chihuahua Pepe (named after Pepe le Pew). We had a nice ride home. Even though I was still feeling kind of miserable from the chemo, the effects so far are nowhere as bad as the first time and my spirits are up because of it. I hope the effects do not go in a downward direction but really do not know what to expect. For now, as I said, nowhere nearly as bad as the first time around.

Well, enough of boring you to tears with my personal crisis. If I am feeling better this weekend, I will try to give you something more enjoyable to read.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Great: Should I Sell Some Guns To Pay My Bills Debate...

...has been raging in my head between between a good little angel and a little devil. The good little angel keeps telling me not to be an asshole and to be responsible and to do the right thing and to hold onto my guns while that nasty little devil keeps telling me the boogey man debt collector will soon be at my house seizing them from me anyway because I most certainly am not going to be able to pay my debts on time for the first time in a long time. Oh great and pontificate Obamessiah, where art thou in this citizen's time of need, with thou edict of Obamacare!


Seriously folks, I have a few to several thousand dollars of medical bills looming. While I am not even sure how much yet because the bills have not all arrived, I do know I will be something above $3,500.00 because I have met my out of pocket catastrophic limit for the year ans back in August when this started I had only met about $1,500.00 of  $5,000.00. Now, in and of itself, a bill of about $3,500.00 plus maybe another $1,000 at most for things that did not go toward the limit, would not be to bad. I could pay on time. But being that someone in my household decided to bring 3 of the 4 dogs to the vet for check-ups at the same time (for fleas no less) @ of about $ 788.00, then just kept piling stuff onto American Express and VISA regardless of me warning not to do so, we now also have credit card debt of about $4640.00, almost $1,900 of which has to be paid by the due date because it is on Amex. Mind you, the VISA account balance is a lot higher and I readily admit that a lot of it is because I charged my son's college tuition on that card, as I have been doing each August & October for his Fall tuition each year for a few years now.  Someone else knows that, yet that someone else decided to add that vet bill to the AMEX!


Now in addition the credit card bills and the doctor and hospital bills, the first half of the school tax is due on my property taxes. Ouch that is another 2530.00. For some reason unbeknown to me, there is not enough money in the account that I use solely to pay our property taxes and our homeowner's insurance. We are short at least a few hundred bucks on that and I cannot figure out why since a set amount goes into the account each month.


Of course that is not the end of it, just found out yesterday that the drain pipe under the kitchen sink was leaking so badly the water was pouring through the floor into our basement.That was, or will be, one of those all of a sudden 'oh holy crap' type of expenses. Last time I tried to fix something like that, I tightened the collar around the drain pipe and the pie fell apart in my hands. Joe the Plumber I am not, I am more like Curly the Stooge, so a call to my local plumber is in order. For now, we will use a bucket under the pipe so dishes can get done or we will use the slop sink in the basement. On Monday, I will call the plumber to see if they do not celebrate the holiday and consider a call out on Monday to be a regular call. If not, then we wait until Wednesday.


Again, all would not seem so bad until I consider that I just handed in my retirement papers and my official retirement day is to be November 3rd. After that I get one regular pay check, my lst, then go to my retirement pay or what will pass for my retirement pay for anywhere from 3 months to 6 months or even up to 8 months. I will receive about 55% of my retirement pay in that time until the gooberment figures out precisely just what my retirement pay should be - or that is what I have always heard until a few days ago. In actuality, they know exactly how much I should be receiving early on yet, for some bureaucratic reason, or just to screw the federal employee one last time, they delay full pay for up to that long. That means I will be receiving about 39 to 40 percent of my regular pre-retirement pay) for 3 to 8 months of my retirement. Now that would seem to mean I would get a windfall at the end but oh no, that is not the case. I was recently informed that they do not withhold or pay my portion of my health insurance or life insurance and use the windfall to make up for missed payments (yes my coverage continues during that time). I would normally only retire at on the last possible day of any pay year because we can build up 448 hours of annual leave and be paid a lump sum for that. Being this was my planned retirement year, I wanted to go out with no sick leave so I used it all up. I planned to have the maximum amount of annual leave. That is not going to happen now, not with the cancer. I will be forced to use a substantial amount of my annual leave because I have so little sick leave left. That means much less of a lump sum annual leave payment, which is then taxed at 25% for federal taxes, and I will not have as much of it to carry me over during that period of 3 to 8 months of reduced pension payments. Ouch, some little creepy imp just shouted in my ear to sell some guns.


Yes the bills are adding up and that annoying little bastard, the "Hey pal, just sell some of your guns to pay the expenses' creep has really begun to sound quite tempting to me. I have done it before too, sell guns when in financial need to pay bills. If I remember correctly, the last time I sold some guns to pay for things like household expenses was, right after I got married, when I suddenly realized that two cannot in no way, shape or form, can live as inexpensively as one - especially newlyweds who needed everything. My idea of furniture had been a few boards atop cinder blocks for a TV sand and atop and in between the blocks for bookcases, a fold out couch for just about everything else, oh and maybe I had a dresser. My wife had different ideas. It was over 25 years ago when my Spartan living accommodations came to an end and I helped accomplish that by selling several of my guns including a Remington 870 Wingmaster to die for. Yes, I have sold other guns on that time frame but not to pay off household, or medical or college debts (or any other debts of which I can think) and the number of guns I have sold since then probably does not add up to all the guns I sold at that one time (if it does add up to it, it certainly does not surpass the mark by more than 1 or 2). Oh what to do, what to do. I hate having bills I cannot pay. I hate having an American Express bill higher than my biweekly take home pay.


I may have to sell some guns! hat would suck if it comes to pass. Of course, there is the wife's bank account, the one she has been shoveling at least part of her paychecks into to buy herself a car. Hopefully she will realize the need and step up and help out with getting the bills paid this month. Don't get me wrong, she helps out, I think she does anyway. This time though - more help than usual is needed.  would hate to have to part with my Remington 241 Speedmaster, or the Remington 513T Matchmaster or the Marlin 336, or one on my Beretta 92 SB pistols, or the Beretta 92SB of Ballseye fame, or any other one of them. I guess before I freak out, I should ask her and I should check the few lottery tickets that have been sitting in my wallet for the past two weeks or so. I buy a few dollars worth at most now and then and who knows. I know, my luck sucks. Oh well, if I have to sell any guns, my readers likely will be the first to know but for now that little angel, the one with the rosy red cheeks and cute little face is telling me "If you sell them, I'll kick your ass" (what language for a good little angel but well intentioned for sure) so maybe I had best hold off on any sales for now.


All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Retirement To Me

Well almost. Today, I am putting in my retirement papers. I will actually have my last day at work on November 3rd and my retirement will become effective on November 4th. That is of course if the chemo does not kill me first and I am not kidding. I get my next session tomorrow and Friday - and two days after the first session, my heart rate fell to as low as 38! That was scary. Yet, the chemo doc absolutely refuses to admit that the drop in my heart rate and blood pressure (It fell too) was in any way related to the chemo. My cardiologist said if due to nothing else, it was due to dehydration caused by the chemo because the chemo had me whizzing about every 45 minutes on Friday, then about every half hour for about 16 hours on Sunday. So, if the chemo oncologist does not change or lower some of the crap I am going to get through the IV, I will refuse treatment this time around. Why? The cardiologist told me had my heart rate fallen just a few more beats my heart likely would have stopped and I really do want a happy retirement and that requires a beating and healthy heart!


Well, anyway, I am looking forward to retirement. Maybe not to the continued radiation treatments (which also have been effecting me badly earlier than normal according the the radiation oncologist) and chemo treatments but to the hopefully cancer free time after that and I am hopeful that time will be at least 20 to 25 years long. Retirement, sweet - sweet retirement.


All the best,
GB

Sunday, October 2, 2011

CNN Reportedly Fucks Up Big Time

Watch the video but beware because it contains racially insensitive and quite possibly offensive lyrics (even though probably sung by a black man). I have no comment, except to say that, if the video is a genuine CNN news report and not a prank, then I am highly pleased to see CNN fuck up as they did. That was not only by playing that terrible song but because they quite possibly had that absolutely disgusting song among their audio archives and if so, it shows their true nature in my opinion. Ask yourself, if not a prank video, why was it that they even had such a song in their archives or allowed their studio people to even have access to such crap! You can make up your own mind about it.



All the best,
Glenn B

Reptiles & Amphibians & Friends

I have been keeping, hunting, collecting, breeding reptiles and amphibians for many years. I probably got my first herp when I was nine or ten. That was a Red Eared Slider Turtle. Over the years since then, I have kept and bred snakes, tortoises, and lizards. I have kept, but not bred, many other types of the above herps plus turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. Most recently I bred my Herman's Tortoises and Corn Snakes. My most recent collection, until today, consisted of 3 Anderson's Salamanders, 2 Fire Bellied Blue Tailed Newts, 2 African Clawed Frogs, 1 Iberian Ribbed Newt, 11 Corn Snakes, 2 Hognose Snakes, 1 Musk Turtle, 4 Hermann's Tortoises, and 2 Redfoot Tortoises. I said until today and that is where 'friends' come into play.

Many years ago, I guess about 21 or 22 (pretty sure it was 22) years ago,  joined the Long Island Herpetological Society (LIHS). That is when I met Rich M. Jr.. Since then we have become good friends even though we usually only see each other about a dozen to a few more times a year. Rich's dad used to be the president of the society and under him, our membership reached its apex of over 300 dues paying members. Today, I think we are lucky if we have 80 dues paying members, Yet, as a herpetological society, we are still going at it. Over the years, Ive met many others at the LIHS whom I consider friends but none probably quite as close a friend as is Rich M Jr, to me. When I told him I had cancer and that I needed to get rid of most, if not all of my reptiles and amphibians, he was the first to offer assistance and he offered to take all my herps and if I wanted, said he would care for them until I could take them back. Others also offered but Rich was the first to step forward. Now, truth be told, I told him about my cancer first, but he offered help immediately and absolutely with no conditions attached.

Today, I gave Rich most of my animals. Linda drove me to his house ad we met Rich and Ann (his lady friend) there. I gave them: 3 Anderson's Salamanders, 2 Fire Bellied Blue Tailed Newts, 2 African Clawed Frogs, 11 Corn Snakes, 2 Hognose Snakes, and 2 Redfoot Tortoises. That left me with the Iberian Ribbed Newt, the Musk Turtle and the Hermann's Tortoises. As I told ich, the corn snales are his and so are the Hognose snakes, to do with as he pleases. I am hoping, when well again, to take back the salamanders, newts and frogs. Due to the probability that my treatments will lower my ability to ward off infections, I am not supposed to clean out things like reptile or amphibian tanks and tropical fish aquaria of which I still have 3 aquaria and 2 tortoise tanks. I also plan to reduce the aquariums to only 2 tanks - one housing my newt and the other the musk turtle and both also holding some fish, Brendan will then take care of them and all of the family will probably care for the tortoises because not only do Brendan and I like them but so do Linda and Celina.

As for the herps I gave to Rich, I trust he will care for them well, maybe even better than his own, he is that kind of a friend. As far as friends go he is a blessing. My thanks to him and to the other of my good friends who offered to help: John H., Harry F. and Kirk P., and to Gideon H. and Mike R. who also sent well wishes - all great guys. (If I missed anyone, sorry my memory is sort of like swiss cheese lately.)

All the best,
Glenn B