Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Just Ordered Some Coffee - Just In Case...

 ...it disappears from the shelves - other stuff is already either in short supply or missing altogether (FUJB). I ordered it from Porto Rico Importing Company in Greenwich Village, NY. It's a great little coffee shop with an excellent selection of coffees, teas and some candies (free plug). 
 
 
Here is what I ordered:
 
4 FRENCH BRAZILIAN DATERRA ESTATE SWEET BLUE
2 FRENCH SUMATRA MANDHELING
2 ORGANIC FT FRENCH PERU CO-OP JUMARP
2 TANZANIAN PEABERRY 
2 BRAZILIAN DATERRA ESTATE SWEET BLUE
2 CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES
1 CHOCOLATE ALMONDS 
 
I ordered one of each coffee for my son & the same for me. Two pounds of chocolate covered cherries for me and one of chocolate covered almonds for him. That leaves two pounds of  the first coffee on the list for the two ladies who work in my apartment complex office; I am thinking as a Thanksgiving gift or maybe for a Halloween treat if they ask nicely and wear nice costumes!

As for mine, 5 pounds of coffee will last me at least 4 months if not 6 months at the rate I have been drinking it lately. I can go through it much quicker by drinking it at least 4 or 5 times per week but right now probably only brew & drink it two or three times per week. I do like it to taste strong and probably use as much as 1.5 to 2 times what someone else would use when brewing it. Being I like it to taste strong, the French roast is my favorite roast for a robust flavor, while a light roast is okay at other times because I use so much of it when brewing it and I drink it black almost all of the time. No doubt though, the French roast has a heartier flavor if made with equal amounts. If you like strong tasting coffees, I can highly recommend any of the French roasts listed above.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Alive & Relatively Well But...

 ...too disgusted with our president, his administration and libturds in general to blog much about current events. It is amazing to me, even though I am 66 and thus not a noob with regard to being experienced relative to politics, that Biden is apparently guilty of virtually everything of which the leftists accused President Trump (with no real evidence for any of it). In fact, there is plenty of damning hard cold evidence against Biden and against his son and other members of his administration; yet, the lefties ignore the evidence and in essence the media buries it. In fact, no matter how badly Biden and his covert handlers screw up, the leftists adore him as if he is the savior of the USA. It disgusts me and I am not a Republican nor a Conservative; if I had to pick my brand of politics I would be closest to being a Libertarian but one who thinks somewhat more government is necessary than most Libertarians believe.
 
So, as it turns out, I have not been blogging much about anything lately because chances are if I had been, it only would have been about politics and I'd only have gotten myself more disgusted than I am right now. Mainly, I am disgusted and disheartened because I truly foresee a violent civil war in our near future if things do not change drastically and for the better soon. The decline in the world standing of the USA, the debacle in Afghanistan, the coziness with Red China, the destruction of the sovereignty of the United States by way of opening our southern border to a mass invasion of illegal aliens (fuck not they are not immigrants), the huge spike in rampant violent crime, the trend toward releasing criminals after arrest with no bail, the tolerance for crimes of all sorts including violent ones, the birth of the defund the police movement, acceptance by the libs of BLM and ANTIFA as good-guy groups as opposed to the apparent reality that they are terrorist and criminal organizations, inflation running wild, continued unemployment supported by the welfare state mentality, the continuation of the Covid-19 manufactured crisis (yes it is a crisis to some extent on its own but the libs have expanded that crisis beyond belief, the destruction of our education system and its replacement with those on the left brainwashing our youth in schools, the gall of the government to want to investigate those who disagree with certain government & education policies such as teaching CRT and such, the presidency having been turned in a puppet figure under the control of handlers, the unchecked erosion of citizen's rights and on and on. Damn it, what did I just say about it making me more disgusted -  now my blood is boiling thinking about the mess these leftist pieces of shit have gotten us into.
 
All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, October 9, 2021

I figured That Sooner Or Later It Would Be My Birthday...

 ...so, I ordered myself a present as I was pretty sure that other than the two pictures my wife sent me of Ryan John, my grandson, no one (except maybe my son) would get me anything. The present I ordered myself was delivered to my local FFL dealer today - a brace of Glock 19' GEN3 pistols. They have consecutive serial numbers. I now own three pairs of guns with consecutive serial numbers- these Glock 19s, two Beretta 92FS pistols and a set of two Colt Lord Deringer (sic) single shot derringers. Of course, this means I will have to be going to the range soon because I intend to carry at least one of these Glock 19s as my primary weapon and probably will store the other as a spare. Then again I sometimes may carry it as a back-up; although, I'd likely carry my Glock 26 for that purpose and keep the other 19 as a spare. 
 
This purchase and some other recent gun and silver/gold bullion purchases have eaten a large chunk of change out of my savings account but I figure it this way - I can't take it with me and may as well enjoy it now especially after having a stroke back on 9/11 of this year. Even if I spend every penny of my rather meager retirement savings, and they are indeed meager (I was not wise in how I saved), I have a decent amount of life insurance for my daughter & son and it amounts to substantially much more than I ever got from anyone; more than enough to make them happy I am sure. They are set at least until I can no longer afford the insurance and I am paying out of my arse for it right now.
 
As it turns out, I still have a Glock 19 GEN5, new in the box, never fired (well maybe they test fired it at Glock but not fired since I purchased it at the gun shop). I need to sell it. Hopefully, I can sell that in person here in TX at a gun show or such without having to resort to GunBroker and an online sale for which I will have to ship it, that is becoming a pain in the arse.
 
Anyway, I am happy to have treated myself to the Glock 19s. The two main types of carry pistols I have liked the most over the years have been my Beretta 92 series pistols (models 92FS & 92 SB) and my Glock 9mms (models 19 & 26). Happy birthday to me whenever it came or comes. Damn, am I another year older!!!!!!!!

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, October 1, 2021

Damn - Old Guns Of Famous Dead Folks Sure Have Gotten Expensive

As a matter of fact, this past August (maybe old news for you but the first I saw of it was today) there was a firearms auction in Los Angeles for firearms that once belonged to Old West legends such as Billy The Kid, Pat Garrett, John Wesley Hardin, Wild Bill Hickock (and maybe others). 
 
 

The one pictured sold for a record setting $6,030,313.00 (yes as in over 6 million dollars). Historically, it was the one with which Pat Garrett shot down the heinous outlaw & killer Billy The Kid. That particular Colt Single Action Army revolver has supposedly been documented ever since it left the hands of Garrett and if the documentation is true and genuine - that is one heck of a good chain of provenance. More at the source.
 
I suppose people with more money than 10 Popes and thus with nothing better to do with it than flaunt it big-time decided it was time to start a bidding war. I just have to hit the Mega Millions, Power Ball or Lottery - merely one time but definitely for a small fortune of let's say maybe a half a billion clams. That way I could get in on all the fun and one way or t'other, even now well after the auction, I'd become the owner of it (you could bet on that).
 
All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Biden The Finger Pointing Puppet Needs To Be Ousted...

 ...by whatever legal means will accomplish removing him as president. 
 

I, as do many Americans, find it unbelievable that our nation has arrived at what may be its lowest point in history when it comes to: the repeated lies from the oval office (such as what Biden called a successful military drone strike that he said took out terrorists in Afghanistan but was actually a major failure resulting in the killing of a non-combatant man and most of his children); his abject failure to pull our citizens, troops and allies out of Afghanistan safely; leaving behind millions, if not `billions, of dollars worth of military equipment in Afghanistan; allowing the Red Chinese to spread their influence in Afghanistan; the sovereignty or lack thereof of our borders as witnessed by his utter failure to control our borders and now Biden's ridiculous banning the use of horses by the Border Patrol and what amounts to his conviction of Border Patrol Agents, in sum & substance, before getting any of the facts right;  the government's disregard for the rights & liberties of our citizens; the disregard for law and law enforcement; the call for the abolishing of law enforcement as we know it by way of defunding of the police; the tolerance & even acceptance of brutal crimes committed by what amount to terrorist groups (in my opinion such as BLM & ANTIFA), why has Biden not attempted to stop these groups; the apparent disregard for the murder rate which has sky rocketed in leftist run cities & states; the incessant flip flopping on mask mandates and vaccine booster shots as related to COVID-19; the fact that the federal government has taken it upon itself to act as if Joe Biden is lord & master of all he surveys while there is evidence of the apparent fact that the president of the United States of America is suffering from some sort of mental illness as evidenced by his off track remarks, his repeated forgetfulness, his inability to give answers to questions put to him and his all too often his angry outbursts; the presidency controlled by unknown secret handlers as evidenced by Biden repeatedly saying in essence that if he answers a question it will get him in trouble because 'they' told him not to answer questions; the current inflation rate and that expected yet to come; the cost of a gallon of gasoline which went up long before the current inflation; he has even isolated one of his main allies - the media - by being outright silent and turning his back on them when they ask questions; and the list goes on.
 
The man is a menace to the United States of America and now we learn he may owe $500,000.00 in taxes to the IRS. Lest we forget there were the scandals involving his son that also involved Joe Biden relative to money he allegedly received by way of his sons enterprises in Russia & China (RED China). Just today, it was reported but somehow all the articles about it have disappeared, that Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will be sent back to China from Canada and miraculously two Canadians will be released by China and returned to Canada after intervention by - wait for it - President Joe Cozy With The Red Chinese Biden! I read a detailed article on Fox News online about that last night or very early this morning but cannot find even a scrap about it on the Fox site now. 
 
There is this piece on CNBC but it seems to leave out (unless I missed it) any mention of the Biden administration orchestrating the release of the detained Canadians in exchange for Meng as the Fox article reported the deal. If theren was no intervention by our government, for the release of the Canadians in exchange for Meng, the timing must simply be miraculous because she made her deal to be allowed to return to China under the terms of a deferred prosecution in the USA. She was being detained in Canada for extradition to the US but the deferral was carried out the Eastern District of NY in Brooklyn, NY on Friday last - on the same day the Canadians were released by China.
 
We need a truly competent president in charge, one who loves America and our Constitution and not this bumbling puppet - one who realizes he is the servant of the American people. The only way that will be accomplished legally & without bloodshed will be in November 2022 by way of voting for just about anyone, except democrats/liberals, into Congress. Then Congress can oust him. Hopefully it will not come to a violent insurrection before then but the way it is going - who knows.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Perfect 1911 Pistol

The truth be told, there is no objectively perfect 1911 pistol. It is unlikely there ever will be one that is actually perfect by the definition of perfect. That is not to say there are not any excellent ones but rather that the 1911 design does not lend itself to being perfected but rather to being modified to fit varying objectives. Most things that we can produce are like that. The proof of that is the fact that not only a multitude of individual owners seek to modify them with perfection in mind but that many gun manufacturing companies constantly try to perfect the design and evidently none have succeeded to date. If they had been successful, no other modifications would be needed or even wanted; yet, 1911 aficionados and manufacturers strive to improve them almost constantly.
 
While being modifiable can be a very good thing, to a certain point, it simply is never to the point of perfection. That is because true perfection (which is an absolute) would completely eliminate the need for any modifications. Perfection is pretty much an unobtainable fantasy when it comes to most manufactured items. That is so if only because human nature rarely allows us, that is every one of us, to accept and agree upon anything as being perfect or in other words flawless, without fault and meeting all desired requirements. Heck, we cannot even agree upon what objectives would constitute a perfect firearm let alone agreeing upon whether or not the finished product has achieved those goals.
 
As for myself, I find it quite desirable that no one, not even Glock despite their logo, has ever achieved perfection when it comes to making guns. Where would the interest, fun, ingenuity, change and productivity be relative to firearms if even just one gun designer reached true perfection with his/her creation? I am quite happy that gun designers constantly strive to make the better mouse trap (so to speak) because it assures a wide variety of new and sometimes improved guns.
 
All that said, I am not attempting to denigrate the design of the 1911 nor to dissuade those who find the 1911 design very appealing. Although the design certainly has its less than desirable aspects, it also has its high points (no pun intended) and it is still desirable enough for me to own a few of them as well as for many others to adore them. Subjectively speaking, the perfect 1911 for me would be the one that comes out if the box as perfect and that requires no modifications to better it nor that even encourages the desire to modify it. I do not think I will ever find one like that but who knows - sometimes faerie tales do come true. 
 
Right now, I own three pistols based on the 1911 design: A Remington R1 1911, a Rock Island Armory 1911 A1 FS and an Argentine Systema Colt 1927. I like them all but if I was to make one my carry gun, it probably would be the RIA model; it is more reliable than the Remington as to feeding, firing, extracting & ejecting and has less wear and tear than does the System Colt 1927. Then again, I doubt I would ever make a 1911 my carry pistol - that due to personal preference as to what I carry.
 
All the best, 
Glenn B

Saturday, September 18, 2021

If What Is Being Said About General Milley Is True...

 ...with regard to him reportedly advising his Red (as in communist) Chinese counterpart that he would inform the Red Chinese that we were going to attack them (before any potential attack took place) then this man is a POS traitor and deserves nothing less than a court martial and if convicted, the strictest penalty of all available under the law should be his fate.
 
 
My guess is he incorrectly thought there was something in President Trump's water - and that thought led him to commit treason - much like this guy thought there was something in the water:
 

S
hould the allegations be proven, I will consider Milley nothing more than a Chinese spy & traitor and will hope that Congress and the military prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Turncoat nation endangering scum like him we do not need in charge of our military nor even in our nation's service.
 
All the best,
Glenn B

Oh Those Frenchies

 The president of France has recalled France's ambassadors to Australia & the United States because Australia and the USA have entered into a pact between one another and the United Kingdom and that pact excluded the French. More at the source. I guess they are a bit pissed off but after all, they are the French so not to worry. It seems they are reverting to their normal routine when it comes to foreign affairs but what amazes me is they apparently did not withdraw their ambassadors from the UK:


 
 
All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, September 17, 2021

Home On The Range

 Got out of the hospital yesterday and am home as safe & as sound as anyone can be. Life is fragile, enjoy it while you have it and while you have the ability to enjoy it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Still Alive & Kicking

Quick update: I am still in the hospital even though I was told I'd maybe go home on Monday, then probably would leave in Tuesday, then was told I be released on Wednesday. Today, I was told I may be here a few to several more days.

The reason for the extended stay, bacteria in my blood. Bacteria clumps in the bloodstream can cause the type if stroke I suffered which was due to an embolism, or in my case multil emboli. 


At first they ran two blood cultures, consisting of a blood sample from each of my arms, for gram-positive bacteria. They did the same for gram-negative bacteria. The reason they take a sample of blood and run separate cultures for the samples from each arm is to see if both come out positive. If both are positive, they figure you have whichever bactetia gram-negative or gram-positive they just cultured. If only one arm's blood is a positive cultunre, they figure maybe the sample was contaminated.

At first I was positive for gram-negative bacteria but only from one arm. They tested me again yesterday for both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria in both arms. Today the result was that the blood from both arms cultured positive for gram-positive bacteria. They said they're going going to put me on antibiotics. I said not until I talk to the doctor first. I wanted to know why the first test showed only one tube culturing for gram-negative bacteria and did not show anything for gram-positive bacteria but now the second test showed I tested positive for gram-positive;  yet, gram-negative bacteria were not found at all in the 2nd test.

The doctor said he would go to the microbiology lab to check up on my question and would get back to me before administering any antibiotics. Tonight the nurse administered the antibiotics even though I have not seen the doctor again.  The nurse did show me a computer screen saying that I had tested positive for gram-positive bacteria in my blood. She also showed me that the order for the antibiotics came a couple to few hours after I spoke to that doctor. She then said I could wait to see the doc tomorrow but what she showed me was good enough for me to say pump me up.

When I had seen that doctor, he told me that I would be here for a few to several more days if I needed the antibiotics. They are administrating them intravenously; so, I guess that means it's best done here in the hospital. Hopefully I will get out by the weekend but if not maybe my son will be able to visit me.

By the way, had no Internet access due to my phone dying and my phone charger not working, otherwise I would have given an update sooner.

Thanks to all who left well wishes in the comments to my previous post on this.

All the best,

Glenn B

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Down But Not Out

Damn, I had a stroke today. First a nurse practicioner said it was 3 small emboli (I think that was the term) then the doctor said it was a small stroke. That after about 8 or 8 1/2 hours in the ER, at least a few sitting forgotten in the waiting room.

Had trouble using my right arm today, it felt heavy and clumsy. Then, when driving my hand kept slipping off the steering wheel because my upper arm lost any control. Got home and it got better. Did not think much of it. Ate lunch and had a shot for 9/11. Maybe half an hour or 45 minutes later the arm acted up again. Took my blood pressure, it was 74/50, yikes, I called my doc. Doc on call told me to go to ER.

Put dishes in kitchen and noticed my right foot was not stepping as much as dragging along the floor. I figured it for what it was. Walked the dog a very short walk for a pisser and the foot got better. Drove toward the hospital. On the way, I had to stop at a red light. Light turned green, cars in front of me went but foot was not cooprating with the gas pedal. Guy behind me in a white pick up.or SUV starts honking like crazy then drives into my rear bumper, evidently on.purpose. It maybe was fortunate for that piece of shit that I had left my pistols home.

I then pulled over and called 911 both to report a hit and run accident and that I needed help to get to hospital for a possible heart attack or stroke. Fire department showed up first followed by an ambulance and the police in that order. While Inwas put into the ambulance, a cop asked me where I wanted my car towed and I said to my apartment. They took my keys and moved it and said they sent for a tow truck and gave my keys back to me. Jumping ahead on that a bit, I called the PD a few hours later, they had no record of my vehicle. Wonderful.

Then at hospital where it has been a waitning game. Probably got here around 3PM or just before. They have drawn my blood, taken chest x-rays, done an EKG, then a CT Scan if my brain without contrast, then an MRI, then put an IV in my arm to do another CT Scan this time with contrast. The nurse practicioner came in and told me about the emboli (?), then the doc came in and said it was not that but a small stroke and he took my medical history. My very pretty nurse has been in and out several times, last time shebtold me I was crazy, she knows me well already. She also hooked me up to an EKG monitor. Back to waiting, no one has been here for a while.

Luckily, my only friend in these parts came to the ER to get my apartment key to get in and get Skye out for a walk. She is a very good friend, one of the best ever.

I expect to be admitted and to be here two or three days. That reminds me, the admitting department told me earlier, my Medicare part A has been suspended for some reason, so I have no coverage for the hospital stay.

What a day.

All the best,

Glenn B



My Memories of 9/11 & The Immediate Aftermath

I can only remember where I was on 9/11 and the effects its aftermath had on me. Other than that, I can only imagine the effects it had on others. This is my 9/11 story with a bit of that of some other folks mingled into it as well. As I share my story, maybe you can share yours today, so no one ever forgets.

My cousin John and I were both firearms instructors with U.S. Customs Office of Investigations on that day. I was a special agent but had been assigned assigned to full time range duties back then. That morning, we were at Glock Armorer Training in CT. We sat in the classroom when an pair of instructors came in and said they had an announcement to make. They told us a plane had crashed into one of the towers, rolled in a television to show us the news about the first plane hitting the north tower and then rolled it back out and class continued. We students all thought it had been a terrible accident. A short time later, they brought the TV back and had distant and dismal looks on their paled faces; then they showed us the news of the second attack on the WTC. We knew then it was no accident.

John & I cut the rest of the class and departed to head back to NYC, I drove us back at over 100 mph, the roads were void of traffic. The CT State troopers evidently had closed down the highway and it was devoid of vehicles except for a multitude of emergency vehicles that were parked on the shoulder of I95 which were waiting to be dispatched. When we were crossing over the Throgs Neck Bridge, we saw the pillars of black smoke where the Towers had stood and I uttered something to the effect: ‘they really are gone’ and John said, something like: ‘what did you expect”. I guess I still had had hope up until then but it was all lost in that moment as the reality sank in.

I called our Sector Communications and we were soon told to report to our JFK Airport office. Once there, we saw everyone was in shock to one extent or another. After a short while of getting organized, we soon began the tedious task of trying to account for every last person who worked in the Custom House at the WTC even though phone service was nonexistent to abysmal. As best I recall, I was the one able to get through to the last missing person from our NY office later that night – he happened to be the Primary Firearms Instructor of our firearms training division and a good friend of mine Rich M.. It was a joyous moment, on a very sad day, when I reached him at home. If I remember right, he had walked home to College Point Queens from Manhattan – a distance of about 14 miles and he was no spring chicken even back then but he had old school determination.

That day, long before the last phone call was made, a couple of other agents I worked with had made it back to JFK Airport to report in. Both were essentially shell shocked. One told me he heard a loud plopping noise in what had been the courtyard between the buildings of the WTC complex where he had been looking for survivors to help. He turned and saw a dead body on the ground and then something from above caught his peripheral vision. He looked up and saw a dreadful sight. It was a man or woman falling toward the ground frantically flapping his or her arms as if to try to fly. He soon heard that same noise repeated as that person also hit the ground. It is a haunting memory just for me to recall him telling me it, one I hope he has somehow come to grips with it since he is the one who witnessed it. 

There was another agent, who showed up at the airport, who had heard the news while going to work that morning. He had parked his government vehicle then flagged down and hopped onto a fire engine responding to the scene. Anything to help is what he was thinking. After he arrived on scene, as one of the towers was collapsing, he and others made a mad dash to safety. At the last possible moment, before being engulfed by the debris, I think it was - as best I remember this 20 years later - a fireman who grabbed him and pushed him into the recess of a building's doorway and they were spared certain bodily injury if not death but probably not spared the mental anguish and scars both must have received. He was covered with ash, with his eyes open super wide, as he told me his story. At the airport office, we tried our best to comfort these of our brothers who had been there when the towers fell.

Two days after the attack, George M., a friend and fellow agent asked me if I was going to help out at the site, and explained he had been there already. I had not known the NYPD would let us through let alone to help. He convinced me though to go there and do whatever I could do. Then, on the third day post 9/11, at the end of my shift at work, I told my supervisor I wanted to go to assist at the site and my supervisor Mark L. authorized me taking my G-ride. Driving to the WTC, on the virtually deserted Belt Parkway through Brooklyn toward Manhattan, was eerie. Once there at the site, I helped with digging through the rubble and with a bucket brigade moving away 5 gallon buckets of debris that had been dug away. We were looking for survivors or bodies. Later, I assisted with unloading a truck of emergency supplies. Even later, I helped in recovering evidence from the Custom House vault which had been breached by part of a building collapse. 

As I was leaving around midnight, pretty exhausted, I ran into the Customs duty agent Mike O’B… arriving on the scene. He had been alerted because a report had been received that the Customs vault had been breached and evidence was obviously missing because there were bare patches on the shelves where the missing items had been covered by dirt, dust & debris (like everything else) after the attack. I stuck with Mike and we helped retrieve evidence all through the night (along with other agents who showed up later) and part of the next day. It was terrifying to walk over a smoldering hill of rubble, my shoes actually smoking the rubber soles melting a bit, then walk across twisted I-beams and over more rubble to get down into what had become the pit where the vault was now located. I needed help to do it. A bridge worker who was with us helped me traverse the I-beam by holding my belt at my lower back, I was and remain forever grateful for that bit of assistance. We all did it though and to tell the truth, it was not the scariest thing I ever did, that thing came weeks later.

The next week or so, after an Assistant Special Agent In Charge forbade Customs Agents of the NYC office to do any work on the site unless specifically assigned to those duties (thus no more volunteering for the digs) I jumped at the chance to volunteer for something very different that I thought would make a difference. Only one other Customs Agent in the NYC office also volunteered but she allegedly was talked out of it eventually by her supervisor. So, shortly after 9/11, a few weeks later, I wound up getting on my first commercial flight as a volunteer Federal Air Marshal (FAM) in October 2001. That was after first showing them I was a competent shot (that was the first hurdle to cross after volunteering, they wanted no wild shots on a commercial airliner). That was followed by some very brief FAM training about legal issues and about: how to defend an aircraft by protecting the flight cabin, getting secret messages from flight attendants about their suspicions, how to communicate with our lone partner on the plane, how to shoot on a plane, about whom to shoot (essentially anyone trying to get into or even who was approaching the cabin who would not stop on command), cover stories to keep our identities secret (it was the longest undercover job I ever did; yet, many passengers soon easily figured out whom we were - the same two guys in the same two seats on 4 shuttle flights each day over and over again for months back and forth from NYC to DC; sometimes the whole cabin of passengers erupted into applause when one passenger would approach us and thank us as they deplaned), about how to pick up a bomb and move it to the right part of the aircraft, how to form a bomb buffer near the least vulnerable part of the plane using passengers' carry-on luggage and the flight's food carts and so on. It was, no pun intended, a crash course.

All in all we had been trained to protect the aircraft but mostly just the flight cabin so it could not be breached and thus to protect the cabin crew so they remained in control. If they had even thought we might be failing at that, they had options including to depressurize the  plane or to do maneuvers to assure no one would be standing or both. Thus, in the event of terrorists trying to take over our flight, we all were to do whatever we could do so the plane could not be used as a missile by the terrorists.

To tell the truth, I just about started blubbering like a baby and peeing in my pants the first time the doors closed and the plane started to move on the taxi-way during my first flight as a FAM. That was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life even to date ten years later. In fact, I almost never made it onto the second flight the next day. I was that scared and let a friend from work know it. That fellow special agent, Pete K., soon sent me the words of Thomas Paine to boost my courage and shed my fears; while they may have boosted my courage a bit - I was still more scared than ever before. Those words were…:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

... only words but they helped - a lot along with Pete’s own words of encouragement to me. Yet, that overwhelming fear and certainty that I was on death's doorstep lasted for about 2 weeks before I calmed down. Somehow though, I did get on those flights - two long ones a day, a round trip from NYC to Miami for two or three weeks at first. Then in the ensuing weeks, many short shuttle flights back and forth from NYC to DC. There were also trips to places like New Orleans to fly to Tampa and back - the Super Bowl was being held in New Orleans that year, then onto the Olympics held in Salt Lake City where we flew shuttles back and forth from Pocatello, ID to there. Then back to shuttle flights from NYC’s LaGuardia Airport to DC.

For much of that time, as I said especially in the first two weeks, I was absolutely certain I had volunteered to die and often wondered why I had done it. It seemed as if there would be no other possible outcome, we were all pretty certain that they would try again. Of course, there really was no wonder why we had volunteered. I, like just about everyone else in the country, was angry. I was madder than hell about the innocent people on those flights, about those in the World Trade Center, those on the ground, those in the Pentagon and the first responders who had all lost their lives on that unforgettable day. 

 So, I was there with my partner on our flights, and with all the others who were on other flights, to protect those flight crews and aircraft and any potential targets on the ground. Scared as we were, we kept doing it. Some people say if you are scared of something like that you must be a coward but I can tell you this, anyone who was not as scared as I and the others to get on those planes right after the previously unimaginable events of 9/11 was just outright crazy. We were all gung ho but we also were all - the FAMs, the pilots, the flight attendants, the passengers - just scared shitless and still doing our jobs (most of the passengers flying then were doing it for work) and trying to keep America normal after the worst disaster in our nation’s history. As for us, the so called ‘augmentee’ air marshals (apparently meant to be a demeaning title but that is another story) every last one of us had volunteered. Why did each of us volunteer? Who knows but we all had our reasons and I guess most of all those reasons had to do with being angry and with being Americans wanting to protect America. I do not know about the others but I never even got a thank you from the Federal Air Marshal service. Did not do it for a thank you but one certainly would have been nice.

Anyway, as time went on, I was happy the great majority of the passengers and flight attendants never quite figured out what & whom we were protecting (some though did figure it out) because when it came down to it, they were all of secondary consideration as were my partners to me or me to them. We primarily were protecting the flight crew - the passengers, flight attendants and even our own partners and ourselves all being secondary. We had it drummed into us, that at all costs, the flight crew and the flight decks of the aircraft were our main concern because if they were overtaken the planes again could be used as they had been on 9/11 – as missiles directed at the innocent.

I really don't know what exactly it was that gave me the fortitude to keep doing it, except maybe for being so angered at the attacks, so worried about others especially my family and that my fellow Customs Agent, Pete K., had sent me those words from Thomas Paine's The Federalist Papers. I do know that I figured the least I could do was to try my best to help to prevent another such attack from taking place. Then, after 5 1/2 months the detail was over, not even a scratch on me from even a minor altercation and of course I am happy to say not one other flight crew member, passenger or plane was lost to another terrorist attack within that time.

That was not the end though of things being done by folks who had volunteered after 9/11. While I was flying as a FAM, many others from my office had volunteered to do something that in the end may have taken a lot more bravery than many others had exhibited. True they did not need to be brave when they volunteered but were certainly courageous, as it turned out, to persevere in the task they had chosen to do. 

Those agents and other officials were the ones who went through the debris of the fallen WTC towers, at a NYC landfill, painstakingly searching for the remains of the victims of 9/11. They did it for many months if not for over a year (maybe even for a couple more years) after my detail was completed. It became a more grisly job as each day went by because what remains they encountered had been decomposing over time. Yet, they stuck with that dirty, dismal, distressing and often extremely heartrending job and they were able, many times, to give this family or that family (be it an actual biological family or friends or coworkers) closure because they had discovered, and then forensic experts had identified, even the tiniest bits of what once had been a living person. 

Maybe in life that person had been happy or sad, smiling often or frowning a lot, very successful or a dismal failure, a family person or a loner, a hard worker or a loafer, a U.S. Citizen or a Legal Resident Alien (or even an illegal one) but nonetheless a person who deserved to be accounted for and likely a person who was sorely missed and whose families, loved ones and friends deserved closure. Those on that detail (the searchers & the forensic experts and everyone else at the landfill) truly are the forgotten heroes after 9/11. If you ever meet one of them, and find out that is what they did, thank them for it – give them a hug - tell them they were heroes. I doubt they ever will receive the praise and thanks they truly deserve nor that any of them will ever fully recover from the traumatic stresses of that job; yet, you can help them though by letting them know how much they and their work were appreciated. 

Of course, there were many others who persisted carrying out dismal duties of one sort or another post 9/11 - such as demolition workers at the site and those searching for remains therein. Then there were those who developed intelligence, those who unrelentingly kept up the hunt for Osama bin Laden and of course our military personnel who spent 20 years in Afghanistan - many suffering severe injuries and many losing their lives defending us. At the very least, we owe each and every one of them lots of praise and thanks.

Most of all, let us never forget the innocent people who perished on 9/11. 

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, September 10, 2021

If Someone Put A Bullet In His Brain...

 ...and wiped out the life of the totalitarian wanna-be Joe Biden, I'd not mind all that much, in fact it might make me do a happy dance. Now mind you, I am not condoning violence nor am I, in absolutely any way, trying to suggest that anyone even consider doing violent things to him to make me happy (or for any reason). I am just telling you how pleased I'd be if this mindless puppet of the ultra-left, the man who apparently would be be dictator (if he only had a brain), would go away as in forever (and take Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer and several others with him). He could just vanish into thin air or die from Covid-19 or have a debilitating stroke or be diagnosed with dementia and found to be ubnale to remain in office - any of those things or others could potentially bring a smile to my face and an even bigger one if his entourage of leftist flunkies went with him. So why mention something as extreme as a bullet in his brains? Because him being gone, for whatever reason, would make me smile just because of the fact he'd no longer be ruining the United States of America and because I feel that strongly about him being gone for the good of our nation (no violence against him being condoned or suggested by me or my words). To make it completely obvious to all of you, that is my opinion because I think he has commenced the destruction of our constitutional republic.
 
Some may ask, why is that my opinion. At least as I see him - he is a hypocritical tyrant, or trying to become one, who has no to little regard for the good of the nation; or should I say he is being manipulated to act like one by those who pull his strings. There are many things he has done, or not done, that make me think so from: the botched departure from Afghanistan, to pulling out most of our troops before civilians, to leaving citizens behind there, to getting our military personnel killed when there was zero reason to trust the Taliban who were responsible for releasing ISIS-K members from prison, to closing Bagram Air Base before pulling our civilians and most of our troops, to our super inflated economy, the devaluation of the dollar, the seemingly unstoppable waves of illegal aliens crossing our borders under his administration then blaming it on Trump, to a promise of rampant government spending in the trillions of dollars to which they want to add additional trillions in spending, to welfare at an all time high, promised and almost assured huge tax increases and to Biden incessantly blaming all of his own failings on President Trump - even though Biden has been in office now almost 8 full months. Of course, there is his inept handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccination program or should I say vaccination mandate. Let me continue on the subject of the vaccines.
 
I pretty much am all for vaccines, I believe they are a wonderful tool of medicine and that while they may have unwanted side effects, sometime even resulting in death for a relative few, they have done much to tame, if not actually eradicate, some diseases that have plagued mankind for centuries if not millennia. Thus I have gotten vaccines for: polio, chicken pox (I think but not sure on that one),  shingles, pneumonia, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis A & B, yellow fever and typhoid (the last two prior to 2 work trips to Haiti, along with taking anti-malaria meds on those trips). I may also have gotten the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine but am uncertain as I definitely had a form of measles and supposedly had mumps twice when younger; still though I think that after those I got that vaccine for some reason, maybe before my son was born. Anyway, my point is I am not afraid of vaccines, I believe they are a great help. That is why, even after suffering through and surviving Covid-19 last winter, I got the Moderna version of the Covid-19 vaccine that March. It was a bit concerning getting a vaccine that had not yet and remains not fully tested (even though the FDA has approved it with lightning speed not only as experimental but now as with their complete blessing so to speak). No ill effects yet of which I am aware except the aches, pains and slight fever for about 2 days with each of the two doses I received.
 
There are many folks though who refuse to get the vaccines, any version of them. They are scared or at least concerned for whatever reason or lack of reason such as conspiracy theories that Bill Gates is trying to control their minds (more likely their pocketbooks as I see it - anyone remember pocketbooks), the government is trying to turn us all into zombies or mindless slaves, governments are trying to kill off the elderly, this is out 12 Monkeys moment and the vaccines will kill us all or whatever. Others will not take it dues to religious concerns. Some others due to valid health concerns, other due to imaginary ones. Then there is the politics - many conservatives saying that forcing people to take the vaccine is unconstitutional and a violation of our rights (and it may well be so) and of course there are those who will not take it because they do not trust president Joe Biden as far as they can spit into a 100 mile per hour gust of wind and who can blame them he is such a screw-up of a seemingly mentally ill person. 
 
Of course, Biden trying to ram the vaccine almost literally up peoples other ends is also one of the problems. It was less than a year ago, during the presidential debates and campaigning that Joe Biden in effect said: he would not take any vaccines for Covid-19 if one was produced because while he trusted scientists &  doctors he did not trust president Trump who was pushing its production through at unheard of lightning quick speed. Thus Biden immediately turned millions of leftists against taking the vaccines because he turned it into an anti- Trump political issue. Now though that Biden is president, suddenly the vaccine is safe in his eyes and he touts its effectiveness and has ordered that millions of American must take it such as those in our military, those in the executive branch of the government, those who work for government medical facilities AND he has mandated that any employer with over 100 employees must order their employees to take it or face what I believe is weekly testing (source)! President Trump wanted it and it was evil in Biden's eyes - Biden wants it and it essentially is the law of the land his wanna-be tyrant's eyes and the lefties praise him for it while they too, just last year, had rallied against the vaccine becasue it had been promoted by President Trump!
 
While he may have mandated it, I do not recall seeing that Biden has ordered every member of Congress or of the Supreme Court, and the staffers of both, to take it. (Yes, I understand separation of powers but I also understand the constitution and it grants him zero specific power to force non-military citizens to take it and maybe no even the authority to force military personnel to take it.) I also have kind of noticed, maybe you have too, he has not ordered Afghan refugees to take it nor has he ordered any of the tens or thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of illegal aliens who are rampantly pouring across our borders to take it. Why has he not ordered every one of them to be vaccinated? It is politics pure and simple, because if he ordered every illegal to be forced to take it - illegal immigration would slow to a trickle and future hoped for democrat voters would be lost.
 
Yet, it is (in his eyes) okay for him to order an inconclusively and only slightly somewhat tested vaccine - in fact one of any of the 3 virtually unproven versions currently available - into our veins as he and the leftists now see it. That has been the case though only since President Trump has not been the one pushing for vaccinations. Had Trump remained in power, the biggest antagonists of the vaccine program would have remained leftists. Mind you, this is not an issue I am blaming solely on the left. Those on the right are almost just as guilty. Some on the right thought vaccines were good when Trump was in and now think they are bad because Biden is in. Most though, at least I think so, believe vaccines are good but should be voluntary. 
 
Maybe they should be voluntary with Covid-19 as with the flu. The Novel Corona virus, and all its strains to date, have come nowhere close to being as bad as a truly terrible flu pandemic - not in number of cases nor deaths. Yet - as to those folks who say it should be voluntary - I wonder if they ever have seen the crippling effects of polio. I did when working in Haiti; so, some forced vaccinations would be just fine by me but only when absolutely necessary to end a horrible disease that is a truly terrible threat to all mankind. 
 
So, I am none too sure though that these current vaccines need to be forced and neither I think really are any of the so called save us all medical experts, power hungry politicians or control freak bureaucrats. Why not - well, because no one seems to have much of a clue about how bad is the current virus in reality. Other viruses, that have fairly effective vaccines to combat them do not require folks to receive forced vaccinations or wear don masks by mandate - the flu being the prime example. The experts, politicians & bureaucrats mostly seem to be using the virus scare and the vaccine, portrayed as a wonder drug, to their political benefit. Just look to Dr. Fauci. He, like Biden, has changed his mind so many times about the virus, masks and vaccines as to make one's head spin more than that of Regan MacNeil, so much so it makes me want to puke.


 
Me, I will take a booster shot when and if it comes out that they, the medical professionals other than those into politics, think it is safe. I'll take the risk weighed against the risk of getting the virus again as I see the risks. You, I think you should be allowed to do as you please with your body. It's just as all the leftists, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer and all the others say about a woman's body when it comes to abortion - isn't it? It's supposedly the woman's body (with no concern to the life she is killing) to do with as she wants; so, why isn't it your body (regardless of anyone else getting sick & maybe dying) to do with as you want when it comes to vaccinations? By the way, that really is a rhetorical question, I was making a point and if you missed it because you are a lefty extremist or a righty extremist - well then you missed it. It really does not need an answer because the answer is - because of purely politicized bullshit. Damn, I'd like to see the current whole administration,and quite a few RINOs, gone in a huge puff of smoke and the reflections of a thousand shattered mirrors (no violence being suggested nor condoned).
 
All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

For Jean-Pierre Adams - The Fever Called Living Is Conquered At Last

After 39 years in a coma, Senegalese born Jean-Pierre Adams a legend of French football (soccer) has passed on. He went into a coma, in 1982 during knee surgery, the coma having been caused by errors by the anesthetist and a trainee (who was basically left in charge of the anesthesia and who reportedly later admitted it was too much for him to handle).

When I read the story it immediately brought Edgar Allan Poe's poem - For Annie - to my mind:

For Annie

Thank Heaven! the crisis,
The danger, is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last—
And the fever called "Living"
Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know
I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
As I lie at full length—
But no matter!—I feel
I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
Might fancy me dead—
Might start at beholding me,
Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,
The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
With that horrible throbbing
At heart:—ah, that horrible,
Horrible throbbing!

The sickness—the nausea—
The pitiless pain—
Have ceased, with the fever
That maddened my brain—
With the fever called "Living"
That burned in my brain.

And oh! of all tortures
That torture the worst
Has abated—the terrible
Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
Of Passion accurst:—
I have drank of a water
That quenches all thirst:—

Of a water that flows,
With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
Feet under ground—
From a cavern not very far
Down under ground.

And ah! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy
And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
In a different bed—
And, to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit
Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
Regretting, its roses—
Its old agitations
Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly
Lying, it fancies
A holier odor
About it, of pansies—
A rosemary odor,
Commingled with pansies—
With rue and the beautiful
Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,
Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
And the beauty of Annie—
Drowned in a bath
Of the tresses of Annie.

She tenderly kissed me,
She fondly caressed,
And then I fell gently
To sleep on her breast—
Deeply to sleep
From the heaven of her breast.

When the light was extinguished,
She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
To keep me from harm—
To the queen of the angels
To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
(Knowing her love)
That you fancy me dead—
And I rest so contentedly,
Now in my bed
(With her love at my breast).
That you fancy me dead—
That you shudder to look at me,
Thinking me dead:—

But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie—
It glows with the light
Of the love of my Annie—
With the thought of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie. 

For those 39 years that Jean-Pierre Adams was in a comatose state, his wife Bernadette devotedly took care of him with love, affection, tenderness and tenacity. She never gave up hope. More at the source. 
 
Bernadette Adams - like Annie (or the woman on whom Annie was based) who was so very special to Poe's protagonist or actually to Poe himself - must obviously have been one very special woman to Jean-Pierre. If you read the entire linked article, you will have noted that Jean-Pierre's nurses reported, despite his being in a brain-dead comatose state, Jean-Pierre had slight mood changes on those rare days when his beloved Bernadette was not there with him. While it may not have the same rhyming ring to it, substitute the name Bernadette for Annie in the last stanza (or even in every stanza) of Poe's poem and that may well explain how those mood changes were possible - even for a man in a deep vegetative coma! 
 
My condolences I offer to her for her loss after having endured such long term battle which - all the while, no doubt - she hoped to see turn out otherwise. I also give my sincere respect to her for the unfailing love she gave to him for virtually four decades. She truly must be an amazing woman and was a devoted and loving wife.

All the best,
Glenn B