Friday, October 30, 2009

For Soliders' Care Packages - Christmas Is Upon Us...

...and that means that it is high time I start taking up a collection toward some Soldiers' Holiday Care Packages. Once again (the third time if I have not lost count) I have had myself assigned to a soldier by Soliders' Angels. Again he is in Afghanistan. Again, for two out of three, he is on the front lines and very close to the Pakistani border. I already have one nice package put together for him and his unit thanks to donations from a couple of coworkers. That one is going out on Monday. It isn't a Christmas package - just a regular care package. The Christmas packages and their contents have not been shopped for yet and still need to be put together. Toward that end, I ask you for your generous support as in previous years. Any amount you can donate will go, after PayPal gets their cut, toward the contents of the care packages. As usual I will donate at least $25 toward the contents of each package (plus an initial amount of about $50) and I will pay all shipping costs out of my own pocket. I am hoping we can do good enough for our guys and gals in Harm's way so as to put together at least 4 or 5 nice holiday packages.

Each of the last two years, I contacted StreamLight and Angel D. sent me some really nice and expensive high intensity flashlights to be included in the packages. I don't think I can bring myself to ask again this year if only because I forgot to send her a gift last year to show our appreciation. I will make sure to send one though before the holidays - maybe it is best that way - so she gets it in time for Christmas this year. She has been a true Angel, and so has her company - StreamLight. The cost of her gift will be put up by me out of my own money and will not come from any donations you make toward the care packages for my assigned soldier and his fellow troops. If you would like to donate toward her gift, you can do so through the regular PayPal donation link but be sure to let me know part or all of your donation goes toward something for her. I figure a nice gift would help show her our appreciation for what she has done for our troops but you need not donate anything toward that because I can handle it.

As for the care package contents, I will try to get things that the soldiers want, need and otherwise will help make it easier for them to be in the hellhole in which they are stationed. I have had no communication with this soldier. I have written but have received no reply. I do not know if he received the letters. I have no email address for him to try contacting him that way as I did have for the other two. I do know though from his brief profile on Soldiers' Angels, that there is no PX on his base. They need toiletries and they want tobacco products. Those items will be included in the packages. So too will be included things like: candy, cookies, other treats, chewing gum, books, music CDs, batteries, ear plugs, maybe some folding knives (if I collect enough), wool socks (it gets very cold there in winter) and whatever else I can think of that will help make their days a little easier to bear and that will show we have not forsaken them especially at this special time of year.

You may notice I keep saying I have a soldier assigned to me but also keep referring to they and them. That is because what we send is not just meant for the soldier to whom I am assigned. Whatever we send is meant for all of the others in his unit and so far each solider to whom we have sent packages has readily shared everything. I see no reason to think otherwise this time, I mean would you expect it to be any other way! You may also note that I refer to this as a Christmas Package and holiday package. I used to be a Catholic. Old habits die hard and even though I have not practiced any faith in many years I like the idea of the Christmas season as one of giving - for after all - giving is exactly what the message of Christmas was all about. If you want, please think of it as a Chanukah package, a holiday package or simply a care package or whatever you want to call it. Just remember that the packages we will send are being sent to help our troops regardless of their beliefs. The most important thing about this is that it helps them.

This year, like the previous years, I will document everything in this blog that I collect and everything I buy and send to the troops from all of us. Be as generous as you can and don't be bashful. If being generous for you means you can give a dollar, then please do so. Every little bit helps. I'd like to get the first package out no later than two weeks from tomorrow, so please if you are planning on donating, send something as soon as possible.

To donate please use the link, in the red area, on the right side of my blog page.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Eats & Good Company - Not Much Could Be Finer...

...than a frying pan slathered with butter with a few good hot dogs cooking away in it to be shared in good company. That is until the dogs are cooked and you add a little more butter then toast the buns in the pan. To that we add a pot of baked beans, some macaroni salad (not for me but we it had so I dished it out and the other fella ate it) and the meal is complete. Well, not complete yet, of course we needed some beverages. Orange juice for the youngster and something in a green bottle from Holland for me.

I am at my sister and brother-in-law's house watching my nephew. His mom and dad had to head up to MA for a family emergency. I came out last night to kid-sit D-----. He is 9 and his mom told me he is in the dark on it all. Then again, he just told me his parents went up to MA because his grandpa is very sick (and he understood exactly how sick). We sometimes hope we can keep certain things from them but nah they always have a way of knowing what is going on more than we think we let on. But anyway we kept our mood festive tonight if for nothing other than his sake.

So - our situation then was one of guy's night at home with none of the fairer sex, and will be the same for the day tomorrow after school. That made for a good dinner for us men tonight. We did not have to do it mommy's way - we did it my our way - the he man's way. While I was cooking, little D----- was playing a video game of some sort. I would not have it. None of that leaving me to be the only one doing anything so I got him to set the table, get himself a drink, and whatever else I could get him to do that he probably normally does not do. Of course his mom says he does it but I got the impression that at first he was none too happy about having to help me. I would soon see if I could make that change.

Then we sat down to our meal - Uncle Glenn's Too Greasy Hot Dog's On Too Greasy Buns. Well, that is he sat down and started to eat before I was done toasting the last bun. He probably doesn't start ahead like that when mom is home - I think he was ravenous because them eats smelled really good and he just dove in. Well he got set straight by me with no fuss and he waited another minute or so for me to finish toasting the last too greasy bun.
All in all, getting himself fed tonight amounted to him having to do a bit of work for his dinner, then having to wait awhile after that, but when he finally got to it he went at it with gusto. He said he never ate any hot dogs that tasted so good before tonight's meal, and he told his mom that on the phone when she called to check up on us later in the evening. Truth be told we both liked em - them was darned good eats at that - too much grease and all.

After dinner D----- got his fingers looking as if they had been dusted with snow as he put away a fat donut sprinkled all over with fine sugar powder. Now he had to work for his dessert too because he did not get one bite of it until he helped me clean up. He cleared the table, threw away the trash, wiped of the table with a damp sponge, and rinsed off some of the dishes. Again he did not seem to happy having to do all that but when he got to being finished he got himself that donut. He sure looked to have enjoyed it. After that, he cleaned up a final time, then was back to the video game. I'll have to work on the video game thing - not too much - I like em myself - but enough to assure that when we get away on a man's adventure together someday he will not miss them too much when faced with telling stories around a camp fire.

Not a bad night. Some day D----- and his dad, and Brendan and I, will all have to go on that camping trip I just hinted at and do some more manly things without any of the potential for incessant nagging, pestering and nurturing from the womenfolk. Note, I said potential for those things because whether womenfolk actually do that or not it is important for them to think we men believe they do so. That is just as it is important for us men to think womenfolk believe us all good for nothing loafers. It does not have to be so - we just need to believe it. Why? Where would the world be if men did not think such of women and women did not think such of men and both truly believe it? There would be little to no excuses to get away from one another if we all believed each other was perfect and thus there would be no fun in the getaways because there simply would be no getaways! So I just keep believing as does my wife too, as do most men and most women that the opposite sex is just a pain in the neck and that we all need time away from one another now and then and the world is a better place for it. It may not be based on reality, then again maybe it is. Either way it does not matter - what matters is what we believe it and thank goodness for blind faith is all I can say.

Well now, back to us and our camping trip get away from the women in our lives. Who knows, we may go for a hike, go fishing, actually catch some fish, gather some wood, build us a campfire, wait for it to burn down to embers, clean the fish while waiting for the fire to burn down, then fry those fish we caught over the embers. I am willing to bet that all the while we are getting those fish to being ready he will complain that he doesn't like fish. And when the other three of us get to eating them, I would bet his brain will start to realize that all the while they were cooking over the fire his mouth was watering. All it will take will be one bite and he will be hooked for life. Then, after we are done eating all those fish we just cooked up, and in the absence of television and video games, we will get down to tell some tales, that we will swear are true and not too tall, as we sit back and enjoy an icy cold root beer by the light of the fire that we just stirred back to life and added more wood to. After that, when away from the fire but hopefully well before we are snug and warm in our sleeping bags, we may do something else that I just did while sitting here. Pardon me but those beans sure work fast....and I had better go open a window. After the air is clear I need to see that the youngster heads off to bed to dream about a camping trip or something like that. And to think - his mom - my sister - thinks I am putting some off the wall ideas into this young boy's head when all I am really doing is enjoying some quality time with my nephew! Those off the wall ideas, they can wait for the camping trip.

All the best,
Glenn B

Fox News versus The Obama Administration

I urge all of my readers to click on this link, read the brief article, then vote in the poll before it closes. The poll shown is by NPR (National Public Radio) which has an overwhelmingly leftist following. Yet, as you can see, they appear to side with Fox (that is NPR seems to side with Fox - not their readership). So why not go there and leave your opinion by way of taking the poll. I would have thought, had you been liberal, neutral or conservative in politics, you would have voted for Freedom of the Press - but it appears liberals only want that freedom for leftist news organizations like CNN.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shine A Little Light On It...

...and it will tell you just at what shutter speed and f stop to set your camera. If you are in the market for an old but quality and in excellent condition light meter - with a flash meter attachment check out my sale at eBay here. The auction already has three people listed as watchers, which hopefully means they want a reminder just before the auction ends so they can place bids.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 31 - So The Youngster Is Ready To Shoot...

...or should I say the parent is ready to teach the youngster to shoot? Okay, so you are a parent, you are a shooter too. You are a responsible one at that - that is both a responsible parent and responsible shooter. You figure it is time that you can teach your child to shoot. Of course, having guns in the home and being a responsible parent/shooter, you have already - years ago - taught your child about firearms safety. Along the way to whatever age your child finds himself or herself now the kid has shown an interest in your guns. You have fostered that interest in a healthy and safe way. You feel now is the time to start your child on his or her way to the sport of shooting.

I am not going to go into what specific age is the best one one for your child to be when he or she learns to shoot. You have to make up your own mind about that. What I will say is that the child should have the motor skills and strength to, with absolutely physical assistance, handle the firearm he or she is about to start shooting; the child also needs the mental capability to know right from wrong and to be able to follow instructions and to retain information that you impart to him. That leaves out any child under three years old. It also should leave out 99.9% of children (if not 100 percent of them) who are 3 or 4. I figure 5 is about the youngest age to start a child off shooting, but think 7 or 8 is a better age. At all of those ages, at any age for that matter, a new shooter needs to be supervised with hands on supervision. Then as the person acting as the firearms instructor believes that the shooter has progressed enough it can be within hands reach supervision. Children shooters under the age of about 14 should, in my opinion, never be more a step or two away from an instructor and the ratio of children shooters to instructors should never be more than one on one in the early stages and never more than 2 (shooters) to 1 instructor in the intermediate stages. Enough about that, because as a parent/instructor you are going to do it your way regardless of what I type here. You may choose to do things as I say but it is you who have to make the choice - so it is done your way. Remember that - you are the boss - don't let the child shooter make it his or her way. Let them make suggestions and such but always adhere to firearms safety rules like your and your child's life depended on it.

The point of this post is not so much when or how to instruct your child to shoot but rather to give you a nudge toward with what type of rifle to start. Hmm, did I just say with what type of rifle. I sure did - didn't I! Take it for granted, a rifle is absolutely the best firearm with which to get a child on target in the shooting sports. It does not matter if you want your child to later become the best clay pigeon shooter in the world, or if you want her to become a quick draw specialist, or if you want him to become a tactical pistol instructor somewhere down the road. In my old and grizzled opinion, the best firearm you can use to teach a child to shoot is a rifle. There is no doubt in my mind about it.

Now that I got that out of the way maybe I should say something about what type of rifle is best. Here I go again - I am about to make another one of those statements of my opinion about which I have absolutely no doubt. The best type of rifle that you can use to introduce a child to shooting is, again in my old grizzled opinion, a bolt action repeating rifle in .22LR that uses a detachable box magazine. There is more to this but not so much of what makes a rifle best but rather what attributes should be found in the best type of rifle for a child. One important thing is that the chosen rifle fits the child. Another couple of things are that it is appropriate for the handedness and eye dominance of the child. With all that said - let me say this too - it should be a quality firearm not a piece of junk. It does not have to be something that cost a thousand dollars, not even a gun that cost a few to several hundred dollars. What it has to be is one that, even if bought for $150, is safe and reliable, is simple and easy to operate and is inherently accurate enough to keep the youngster enthused. So does such a rifle exist?

There are some affordable bolt action rifles that are right on target in those regards but before I get into the actual rifles themselves, allow me to explain my choice of a bolt action rifle and the above attributes that I feel it should have to make it the right choice for your child.

A bolt action rifle is inherently safer than a semi-automatic rifle. Now you may say here that a single shot rifle with a break open action is even safer and I will grant you are probably right but it is not the best choice with which to train a new young shooter unless you have a bolt action to move up to after only the first few lessons. You see, chances are that if you go with a break open action single shot rifle you and the child will soon wind up bored with the tedious process of reloading. There is a way to make a bolt action repeating rifle almost as inherently safe as the other type just described. You only allow the child to load a single round at a time and do so not from the magazine but by placing it partially into the chamber then closing the bolt when ready. When firing like this make sure the magazine is inserted into the rifle; of course, follow manufacturer's directions regarding safe firing and if they say this cannot or should not be done with their rifle - then do not do it. I have had new shooters, adults and children alike, load like this many times with quite a few different bolt action repeating rifles. with no problems. If a manufacturer indicates it would be a problem, then load from the magazine. It is a very safe way to load - that is loading one round at a time. This way you as the instructor knows that once a single round has been fired the rifle is empty. Of course that is no reason not to handle the rifle as it was not loaded because we all know, or should know, that unloaded guns kill or injure all to often. You never know when junior may slip an extra round in the mag while you are momentarily distracted - so pay attention to the rules of firearms safety and keep it safe.

Okay - so the way I just described it you are still letting your little princess load only one round at a time. Won't it get boring just as I said would a single shot. Sure it will but the upside is that when it does you can move up to two rounds, both in the magazine. Now not only have you increased the round count when the child is ready to advance but you have allowed for advancement using the same rifle. You do not need to change and therefore have to teach the child all about a new rifle. What you will need to teach the child about is a new loading method all the while reminding them there will not be two live rounds in the gun. Not only does this advance the shooting lessons, it advances the confidence the young shooter has in herself because you just trusted her with more ammunition and more responsibility. Let the shooter know that, don't pass up the chance to boost the shooter's ego at least a little by telling her she has improved enough to move to this next step wherein more responsibility is required of her.

As the young shooter progresses you can continue to allow the round count to progress to the maximum that the standard magazine for the rifle will hold. Yes I said the standard magazine for that rifle. That will probably be 5 to 7 rounds in the magazine. You really do not need to utilize a high capacity magazine for teaching a child to shoot. First of all, a high cap mag is one usually made for semi-autos and it is probably best reserved for when the child is at least at an intermediate shooting level or as a now and again fun reward once the child has mastered all of the basics including shooting, loading, making the firearm safe, following the firearms safety rules, following range instructions, and exhibiting a good attention span, responsibility and good manners while at the range.

Besides the progressive aspects of using a bolt action repeating rifle fed from a box magazine, there are a few other things relative to this type of rifle that lend to safety. First of all a bolt action rifle, fed as a single shot, makes the child concentrate on operating the firearm. making the child concentrate on the operation of the gun will lend itself to making the child concentrate on doing so safely if you are instructing properly. With a semi-automatic rifle the child can get lost in the almost mindlessness of simply pulling the trigger to operate the firearm. Operating a bolt action, as either a single shot or repeater, makes the child take pause between each shot and gives him time to think - 'am I doing this right'. It also gives you, the instructor, great benefit because it gives you the time to look over every action in much slower motion that a semi being fired. In addition it gives you the opportunity to critique the young shooter between rounds being fired, and not while he is firing repeated rounds from a semi. Sure you can always tell a child to fire a shot, take finger off trigger, and pause when firing a semi but the temptation and opportunity is there to keep firing and the chances of an unintentional discharge go up greatly right along with the increase in lack of taking time to think as the child would have done as the bolt was being operated with the trigger finger hand. Ah - there it is - the biggest thing about safety when shooting a bolt action - or at least one of the really big safety advantages. The trigger finger hand comes off of the rifle stock and thus the finger out of the trigger guard and thus off the trigger in order to unload the spent casing and reload the next casing. That little booger picking trigger finger that could otherwise cause problems is nowhere near the trigger until the bolt carries a new round into the chamber because it has to come off for a young child to reload the firearm. (Now don't be a jerk and tell me you can operate the bolt with your off hand - I can too. The thing is you don't even suggest such to the young shooter, heck you do not even hint at it. The child would be unlikely to do it anyway so why tempt fate at causing an accident you don't want to happen.)

Okay - you are you sighted in yet that a bolt action rifle may really be a good choice as a first rifle for your youngster. If not, I suppose I will never convince you but if you think a boltie is a good idea - let's move along to some choices of actual rifles that will help turn a potential shooter into a fine marksman. I'll cover a few with which I have had experience and maybe a couple of others too.

Armscor 14Y - A very good choice for a youth shooter of smaller stature. This small rifle could probably fit a child as young as 6 or 7 years old, and almost definitely will be a good choice for a youngster in the 8 to 12 year old range. It is a bolt action repeater, loading from a removable box magazine. It blued steel construction with a wood stock. The front sight is hooded and the sights consist of a front post and rear notch adjustable for elevation. The magazine catch is mounted in the front of the trigger guard. There is a positive click safety on the right side back of the receiver. This rifle is made in the Philippines but is of excellent quality as far as I can tell. I, or should I say we since I bought it as Brendan's first rifle, have owned one for quite a few years now. Even though it is a small sized youth model I can still shoot it comfortably. Brendan shot it regularly up through the age or 14 or 15 even though he was well accomplished at shooting regular sized rifles by then. I do not know if these are available other than used. Currently, the Armscor sight shows a model with a similar model number, the 1400Y. It looks much the same from what I can see. One that may be closer to the 14Y is the 14P and that one is still offered by Armscor. For some reason they show only the left side of the rifle thus leaving out the safety and bolt from view. For more info on Armscor bolt action rifles click here. As for price, I cannot tell you with any certainty what the current models go for but my guess would be at or just under $200. Ours was only about $125 when we got it.

Savage MK II-GY - Now I cannot say I have any direct experience with this particular model but I do have quite a bit of experience with it in the adult sized version. We owned one of them prior to getting the Armscor rifle. If I recall right, I sold the Savage MK II-G in order to purchase the Armscor rifle. Silly me! Not that the Armscor was not worth buying but that I sold one good rifle to buy another. The basic MK II-G is a fine rifle in my esteem. Its youth model counterpart fits the bill as the type of a bolt action rifle I described above. The youth model at 5 lbs. is about 1/2 pound lighter and at 37.25" is 1.75" shorter than the regular sized version. It feeds from a 10 round box magazine. It has a post front sight and notch rear. There are a couple of additional features that make this rifle special, even in the youth models. First of all they now come with Savage's legendary Accu-Trigger which is an adjustable trigger. Secondly they not only come in right handed adult and youth models but also come in left handed versions of both. MSRP is about $250.

CZ 452 - is another rifle available in a youth model that meets my criteria. I have never owned one of these and have zero experience with them. It is a nice looking rifle, get the specs and see one here. It weighs in at about 4 pounds, It comes in a blue finish with wood stock, had a hooded front sight and notch rear sight and has a magazine capacity of one round when using a magazine adapter to change it to a single shot. It also uses 5 and 10 round magazines. In addition it has an adjustable trigger. MSRP is about $315. Note: I only linked to wood stocked versions of this rifle. It is also available with a synthetic stock that is bright pink in color. To me at least, the pink version looks like a toy. I know it is not. With that said, let me also just say that when teaching children how to shoot, I am not one to confuse them by handing them something that looks so much like a toy that it may even confuse an adult into believing such.

Remington Model Five Youth - is another one with which I have no experience. I do have lots of experience with Remington firearms though. When I first learned to shoot at summer camp - many moons ago - I learned suing Remington and Winchester rifles. The Remingtons back then weighed a ton but were my favorites and I earned several marksmanship awards firing them.. I currently own both a Remington 870 pump shotgun and a 513 Matchmaster rifle. The Matchmaster is a 22 as is the newest model of 22 bolt action rifle in Remington's lineup - the Model Five Youth. The Model Five Youth at 35 1/4" is a full 5.5" shorter than the regular Model Five and it must weigh in at considerably less than the regular model but Remington did not have the weight shown in the specs they provided for it here. The rifle is made of blued steel and the rifle comes with a wood stock. It fires from a 5 round magazine. The front sight is hooded and the rear is a notch variety. The sights are adjustable rifle sights. The MSRP is about $240.

Well my friends, I think that gives you a good idea of what I expect in a 22 training rifle for young shooters. Of course, if you start a child off at an older age, say in there young to mid-teens you may want to look to an adult version of any one of the above choices depending on the size of the teenager. It is a good bet though that one of the youth models will still fit but truth be told it will be outgrown possibly over the course of a summer once a youngster has hit the mid teens.

One last thing. You may think that buying a rifle a child will grow into is the better investment than a smaller model that any child is bound to outgrow. I think not. I think the better investment is the one by which you get the child the correct rifle for his or her size, eye dominance and handedness. This way the child does not have to struggle with it and take a poor stance or grip while trying to shoulder it well enough to see the sights. In other words you will have gotten the right tool for the right job and made it all that much more enjoyable for the young shooter. As a graduation present you can move up to a new adult sized rifle and that is another thing to consider because it sets a goal for the child to line up in his or her sights.

All the best,

Glenn B

PS: Hat tip to Mel over at for giving me the idea to write this one. It was unintentional but I'll takeinspiration where I can find it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 30 - A New Gun Under The Christmas Tree - Sort Of A Buyer's Guide

Back in the day, many a child was happy to find a new rifle (or even a used one) under the Christmas Tree. The closest I ever came was finding an air rifle under mine, one that could not even shoot BB, just corks. You can bet I would have been happy to have found a nice Remington or Winchester bolt action 22 waiting under my tree on some Christmas morning long ago.

I don't recall if it was for a birthday gift or a Christmas present but I gave an Armscor 14y (a youth model bolt action rifle in .22LR) to my son when he was about 9. I am pretty sure that was the age though he might have been 10. I had hoped to give one to my daughter some years before but she who must be obeyed was against it then. It took almost all my persuasive powers to convince the wife and mother of my children it would even be okay to teach them to shoot. I guess by the time my son was that age she had figured it was fairly safe, safe enough at least that I could give him a rifle he could only use under my supervision.

If you are looking for a youth model rifle, and I strongly recommend teaching a child to shoot using a youth sized rifle, and need some suggestions as to where you might be able to find one, I have a source of information for you that you might not believe. I would be willing to bet that the people who compiled the source I am about to recommend never, not in a million years anyhow, would have thought their list would be used to help facilitate the search for a youth model rifle. I kind of get the impression their informative list was meant to do something completely different - like to help put an end to gun rights, to make sure that kids never learn to shoot, and to discourage manufacturers from making youth sized models. What the heck, it is good, informative information for you if you are in the market to buy a youth sized model and you are therefore looking to find out which firearms manufacturers make youth sized models. See the page at the following web address. Please cut and paste this one into your browser bar to be surprised to find who it was that was nice enough to compile a list of manufacturers of youth model firearms:

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 29 - Shooting Lessons...

...were never quite like this when I learned how to shoot! That is pretty much just what Pete G said when he sent me the link to this video in an email tonight. Watch the video before you read more then I'll tell you what I think he meant about shooting lessons and range days never being like that for us.

I mean if we had broken the rules like two of those lady shooters are doing, we would have been horse whipped or something. I don't mean pointing the guns at the camera either, I'll take it for granted the video camera was run by remote but the finger on the trigger thing - oh man what an infraction. Of course I had to watch that video about 12 times before I noticed fingers on triggers - for some reason I was looking elsewhere all the other times. You gotta admit those guns sure do have fine lines! Funny though I cannot even remember what kind of guns they were shooting.

Oh come-on ladies, don't ride me too hard for posting this one; a living and breathing married guy has just gotta have fun now and then and I am not quite dead yet!

All the best,
Glenn B

Some darned good singing... coming through my headphones right now and is having a good affect. I am enjoying Gordon Lightfoot on the Classic Masters CD. I sure do not agree with a lot of his politics but I can enjoy his voice and the songs he sings as opposed to someone like Bruce Springsteen whom I avoid like the plague because of his pushing his politics into our faces every chance he gets.

All the best,
Glenn B

Windows Media Player Playing Again

I had to download it twice, then I had to remove iTunes, then I had to remove remaining iTune files manually. Finally Windows media Player is playing again! I am happy again but still find myself thinking iTunes should burn in hell.

All the best,
Glenn B

Screw iTunes

My son has an iPod. He put iTunes on my PC some time ago, even before he had an iPod - I think. I always ignore the notices I get from them saying that downloads are available. That was until two days or so ago when I downloaded them for some reason beyond the scope of sanity. Now my Windows Media Player (my choice for playing music) no longer works. I am downloading Windows Media Player 11 from the MS site. Hopefully that will fix it. In the mean time allow me to say "FUCK OFF iTunes - you suck".

Yes that means I am pissed off.

All the best,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wiffle Ball Anyone?

Truth be told, I don't know if it was actually a Wiffle Ball bat that was involved in the incident I am about to post about but it would be excellent if such was the case. You see, I just bought and gave a Wiffle Ball and Bat set to my nephew who just turned 9 years old. I loved them when I was a kid and teen, heck I still love em now, especially because when I bought the one for my nephew I saw that it said "Made in the USA" on the bat. It would be nice to know that this made in the USA item was used to thwart a robbery and assault.

According to this article:

What happened was that a woman who was taking a bath with her toddler son realized something was amiss in her home when a cat, that normally remained outside, came scampering into the bathroom. She went to investigate and found an intruder standing over her other young son. She threatened the bad guy with that which almost never works - a yelled promise to call 911. What did he do in response to the threat of her calling 911? He hit her. What would you expect! I guess though he did not expect what took place next. She then grabbed a toy plastic bat and hit him with it repeatedly. I hope she beat the doody out of him. Whatever, she hit him hard enough and often enough to make him flee the scene. The shame of this is that the next thing you know is that some leftist libturd will be calling for a ban on plastic bats or the crook will sue her for giving him plastic bat welts and hurting his feelings.

Did I tell you that one of the most fun pastimes with a Wiffle Ball bat was for me and my friends to beat one another with them. Sure we played ball with them too, but you know youngsters - heck we were already older teens by then! Well, at least you understand how we acted back then if you are old enough to have been around then. Back then, kids were allowed to do lots of things they cannot do now. We were a better society for it because we had an outlet for our frustrations and we knew how to cope with life and with one another when we got pushed around by the facts of life or by a bully. Nowadays if kids so much as look at other kids cross eyed it seems they get arrested, I imagine that Wiffle Ball sets may just have already been banned in most schools, but that is just my guess. If it was up to me, every kid in America would own one! Of course - all this wimpery being taught to our kids nowadays may have just helped this mom in distress (who obviously had better advice on what to do if ever threatened than to just cower and try to call 911) because the intruder must have been one hell of a wimp to have run from a beating with a plastic bat. Then again, my bet is that mom unleashed a fury the likes of which this guy had never seen and had the bat been plastic, wood or aluminum - it would not have mattered much.

Way to go mom - if you run across my blog - send me an email - I'll send you a replacement Wiffle Ball - Bat and Ball set - heck I'll send two - one for each of your sons. That way you can frame the bat you used to beat that moron who tried to rob you.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Gun Shots 28 - Big Game Hunting Season Must Be Upon Us...

...and I say so not so much because I am a hunter and am familiar with when hunting seasons begin in general but because there is a clue to be found by way of Site Meter. Site Meter is the service I use to find out about how many hits my blog has gotten, my last hundred hits and their locations, how long people spend on my blog, which sites referred them here, the number of visits to my page over the past 12 months (broken down by year, month, week and day), and where among other things I can find out about the ranking by frequency of visits of entry and exit pages used by those viewing my blog. Most of the things I can check are limited to the last 100 visits to my blog because I use the free service offered by Site Meter. They also have a paid subscription whereby you can get a lot more information about your blog, but the free service suits me just fine.

So what is it about Site Meter that gives me a clue that hunting season is upon us? I only need take a look at the rating of entry pages over the last 100 visits to my sight and the clue comes shining through. The number one ranking among entry pages for visits to my sight has gone to my main page, the number two ranking has gone to this:

Now the Marlin 336, although it could be, is not usually used for: home defense, as an offensive weapon, as a plinker, as a target rifle or as a small game getter. So what use does it have? It is primarily a Big Game gun and its most frequent target is probably deer of one sort or another. It is also fair to excellent when used to hunt Black Bear. It is most frequently used as a hunting gun for hunting big game animals.

Not only has that particular post of mine gotten the second most hits out of the last hundred visits to my blog but I have also received a few emails now requesting instructions on how to disassemble and reassemble the 336. The folks who contacted me were not satisfied with the instructions that come with the 336 from Marlin and I do not blame them. Those instructions don't go far enough to tell you how to disassemble and reassemble the rifle for a really good detailed cleaning. Lucky for me, back in February 2007 or thereabout, I found detailed instructions with a schematic for how to strip down the Marlin 336 for a good cleaning and then how to put it back together again. I have it saved on my hard drive. I can not vouch for the correctness of those instructions regarding take down of the trigger group but I took down most of the remainder of my Marlin 336 using those instructions and then successfully put it back together again. That one sentence - "Reassemble in reverse order." was a good little thing to know since not all firearms go back together in the reverse order of how you took them apart. Allow me to say: Thank you Marlin for making that easy.

Since a good number of folks have visited that post on my site over the past couple of weeks, and since it still remains very popular, allow me to post a link to it here. Also allow me to post a link to the instructions for disassembly and reassembly of the Marlin 336 here because I figure having them up front may be helpful to those seeking the instructions:

Once you see the diagram, click on it to get a larger view. Now also allow me to thank reader Russ S. for finding that link for me. I did not have that posted in my original post of the Marlin 336 Disassembly & Reassembly until just recently - after he pointed me to it. What I did have was a copy of those same instructions, and I was emailing them to anyone who wanted them. Now that I have the link on my page it is easier for others to find them and it is easier on me.

Again, as I said above, I cannot vouch for the correctness of those instructions, I do not know where they originated (I am almost certain I did not initially get them on the website where they now appear). So if you use them, or if you pass them on, you do so at your own risk and you hold me harmless and you also indemnify me for their use by you or their subsequent use by anyone else to whom you passed them onto and to whomever else they are passed onto to after that ad infinitum. Again though, I will say, they worked for me.

Happy hunting,
Glenn B

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rifle Survey Says...

...or should we be more concerned with what the survey asks than the results?

I just took the Gun Tests Rifle Survey at (I think you can see and take the survey without having a subscription to Gun tests.) The survey was short but not sweet in my opinion. I was quite concerned when I read question number 3 which asked what is the primary type of shooting you do with your rifle. There were a few things wrong with the question and with the options they allowed as answers. I was concerned to shoot off an email to the editorial staff at Gun Tests. I only mentioned my concerns with the options they gave for the answers and did not bring up the problem I have with the question.

My concern with the question is that they asked what is the primary use of your rifle. Do you see it? Maybe I am just too anal but I think that them asking you about your "rifle" as opposed to "rifle(s)" is a problem. Do they imply we should only own one rifle, do they assume most of us who own a rifle only own one? I did not mention, maybe I should have done so.

What I did mention, in my email to them, was that I was really taken aback by the options they allowed for answers to that question. The options were: target shooting, plinking, varmint hunting, deer hunting and big game hunting. As I pointed out to them - deer hunting should fall under the big game category unless they are hunting on another planet. What concerned me even more was that a much better overall usage of a rifle or rifles was left out. Why wasn't self defense included among the options? As I said to them, I hope they are not implying that self defense is not a legitimate use of a rifle. If such is the case it might indicate a leftward lean by the staff at Gun tests. I certainly hope not and I am awaiting their reply that hopefully will indicate otherwise.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Handloading/Reloading - A New Hobby?

I recently thought it would be a good idea to get into handloading / reloading my own ammunition. What with the costs of ammo being so high and promising to go higher under the current administration if they ever start to get any pull among the American people (maybe even if not) the cost of commercially available ammunition may become too much for me to shell out. There are a couple of ways around that - like buying as much ammo now as possible before there is another shortage and the price goes up even further, stealing a lot of it, or just loading my own. Buying a whole lot more is pretty much out for now. I do not have the funds to do so. No I am not broke, I just have other things on which I prefer or need to spend right now. Stealing is out of the question unless it becomes TEOTWAWKI. So that leaves me pretty much with the reloading option if I want to have lots of ammo available to me at a lower price than the commercial stuff.

Of course handloading/reloading cost money too. The thing of it is though that in the long run it is less expensive than buying ammunition over the counter. Why in the long run? Well the expenditure that you have to lay out is fairly substantial. A decent reloading kit that has almost all of the necessary components needed to reload will run anywhere from about $250 to $400. Then you need to add a few things that are not included in the kit such as dies, shell holders and of course all the components of the actual ammunition such as bullets, casings, primers and powder. I am going to guess that to handload 100 rounds of

Brass: $50.99
Bullets: $31.49
Primers: $43.49 (for 1,000)
Gunpowder 1 lb.: $24.99 (I am pretty sure I would have a lot left over after loading only 100

Let's see, if I bought a reloading kit for $350, dies and shell holder for $40.00, case trimmer (needed for rifle ammo) for $65.00 and the actual ammo components as above that would come out to a whopping: $605.96 not including shipping charges or anything that I did not think of putting into the mix. Considering that I can buy a box of 20 rounds of ammunition (all ready to fire) for $25.49 that would make it $127.45 for 100 rounds or a long way until I get my money back handloading my own ammunition. Now I know if you add up just the ammo component prices above it works out to more than the cost of ready to fire ammunition but you have to figure that I would be left over with a lot of gunpowder and 900 primers (by the way it seems most primers are out of stock everywhere). Then consider that brass cases can be loaded a few times at least (if done right each time and you don't blow them up) so the expenditure for brass is a once in awhile thing only. Bullets are another story and seemingly would have to purchased new each time. of course I could buy in bulk and pick up 500 or 1,000 at a shot. I imagine that after awhile it would give me my money back and then actually start to save me money over buying ready to shoot ammunition.

Imagining that, I decided to check out getting into handloading/reloading. First of all let me explain why I use two terms - handloading and reloading. Handloading includes reloading under its umbrella so to speak but not all handloading is reloading. Handloading can consist of making totally new ammo from components or loading using previously fired brass casings. Reloading of course would always utilize previously fired casings therefor the 're' before the 'loading'. I think I got that right but maybe some real handloading guru will correct me on it. So how to get started on either one. Well you may realize by now that I am The Great Procrastinator. It takes me eons to accomplish just about anything like this on which I set my sights. So I went online and went to a few gun forums and asked about how to get started. I received lots of advice on what reloading presses to buy, which kits were best, which had the most bang for the buck and so on. I was also told that reloading requires some study before starting and it is probably best to have someone teach you how to go about it. I have no friends who reload, so I suppose that is out unless someone who is near to me reads this and wants to volunteer their time and instruction. The other option I was given was to read up on it and then teach myself using the books as a guide.

Taking that last piece of advice I decided to go out to buy The ABC's of Reloading. This was the number one book suggested to me. I have had it a week or more and have not gotten passed page one. Why not - I need new reading glasses. I am hoping to get the glasses today. In the meanwhile, Brendan came home a couple of nights ago and handed me an issue of Combat Handguns Magazine, the December 2009 issue. Therein, on page 62, is an article titled: Reloading 101! I think I will start reading that one first since it is only about 2 full pages long and has much easier to read print than the book I bought. I will also read the book but it has sort of faded or light print on crappy textured paper (in my opinion) that makes it hard to read and I will need new glasses for that one.

Once I go through all of that, I will set my sights on making the purchase of a reloading kit. Remember I said I did not have all that much cash thus the reason for thinking about getting into reloading. Happily though, I will only have to shell out about half the price of a good handloading kit because for my birthday a short time back I received a gift of $150 to be spent specifically on a reloading kit. That was from my children and my son's girlfriend. Nice youngsters to think of me like that.

Right now I have to finish up with this piece, get off my behind, and head out to do some shopping for groceries and such. I will also make sure to buy a few pairs of reading glasses (I buy the over the counters type in three packs when I can). That way, once I am done with chores around the house today, I can start reading up on how to spend more of my money on guns and ammo. At least handloading will accomplish a couple of things: save me money in the long run if I stick with it, and give me a good hobby to keep me busy when I retire. retirement is not far away, I can only go three more years on my job before they wallop me with a size 12 and kick me out the door.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You Too Can Be A Zombie Killer

When I clicked on the link, it asked me to install something for the Korean language but I did not and it worked fine - I think. I was none too good at it though! Have fun.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Gun Shots 27 - Holsters - My Preferences

Let me start off this one by saying - I don't care what type of a holster you get to carry around your handguns. I do think though that if you carry you should carry in a good quality holster. As for my preference for holsters, I prefer to carry in an on the belt (as opposed to under the belt) strong side hip holster. I get one with strong belt lop attachments, not the paddle or clip-on types. Carrying a pistol in my waistband, under my belt, in a belly band, in a shoulder holster, a cross-draw holster, in my pocket, in a pouch, in a handbag, in a backpack or in a groin holster are not for me. There are several reasons I prefer a strong side hip holster and I'll cover them briefly here:

Strong side hip holsters make my pistol readily available to my strong side hand. I am right handed, thus I carry on my right side. If need be I can also draw with my left hand because I make sure to carry in a holster I can reach with either hand. This is an important consideration when carrying a pistol because if you are ever in a confrontation in which either hand is injured and put out of commission you will need to use the other hand. Become proficient using both hands for drawing and firing. A strong side hip holster has other advantages. These include being able to protect regarding weapons retention. Having a pistol in something like an ankle holster makes it almost impossible to protect in a grappling scenario. Hip holsters provide just about the strongest retention factors. In addition when drawing from a hip holster you can bring your weapon to fire almost immediately upon clearing leather with a reasonable chance of hitting your target. Drawing is also fastest, in my opinion, from a strong side holster. Neither of the last two traits come to play with ankle, shoulder, groin or cross draw holsters. As a matter of fact, when drawing from cross draw holsters your weapon has to swing around in front of you before you fire at a target in front of you. If you are close in to an opponent this is a good time for him to try a take-away. With a strong side hip holster I can draw with an opponent close in by simultaneously doing a push off and drawing. That is very difficult with a cross draw holster and almost impossible to effectively perform while you are drawing from either an ankle holster or a groin holster.

Besides my preference for strong side hip holsters, there are some other things to consider regardless of where you position your holster. You want to assure that whatever holster you buy for carry purposes has at least one active retention device (a device that requires action on your part to free it so you can draw). I prefer a thumb break holster with snap lock. This type of holster, if in good repair, assure I will not drop my handgun while running, climbing, crawling, tumbling and so forth. It also makes a gun take away harder for the person trying to get it and easier for you to retain. Of course, the thumb snap/thumb break provides just about the minimal benefit among holster retention devices. There are other holsters out there providing much more security regarding firearms' retention. Some of these are single device type, others have two or three retention devices. I tend to shy away from them because it means that it is so much the more complicated to draw my weapon. I see guys at work with holsters that have triple retention devices and I wonder how in hades they are ever going to draw with the weak hand should their strong hand be injured in combat. Yeah, they can do it at the range, but it sometimes requires fiddling, squirming and twisting to do so. On the other hand, it makes it all that much more difficult for a bad guy to take your gun away from you if you are wearing one of them.

I also insist on buying a holster that attaches to the outside of my belt by loops and that rides high - both features that help with firearm retention and with ease draw and holstering to some degree. I will never use a clip-on holster or a paddle holster if one that attaches to my belt by way of the belt threading through it is available. It makes it that much harder for someone to grab the whole holster, give a good twisting yank, and come away with my holster and gun in his hands. It also makes it much less likely that when I draw, in an attempt to protect myself, the whole holster will not come with the gun. I have seen this time and time again with clip-on and paddle type holsters. When it comes to belt loops on a holster I much prefer ones that are designed as part of the holster body itself as opposed to ones that are more like flaps sewn onto the holster. Design is key here but sometimes I will accept a holster with the sewn on belt loop because I know that the stitching is of the highest quality. Even then I insist that at least one of the belt loops (yes I want more than one loop to attach my belt to my holster) is of the type that is integral to the body of the holster and not just a sewn on flap pf leather. That way even if someone rips away that flap while trying to get my pistol while still in the holster - it is unlikely that it will come way because the other loop is part of the holster body - that is of course if I am wearing a good quality belt because a poor quality belt can break just as readily as a belt loop on the holster. One big advantage of the type of holster with a flap type loop and an integral type loop is that it can be reinforced along the front of the mouth of the holster thereby assuring that the holster is less likely to collapse and close in after you draw. While this also can be done to a pancake holster to some degree it is much more feasible on this type of holster. The holster pictured above is a Don Hume Enforcer and is of the type just described.

Another option I strive to have in all of my carry holsters is a good lining. A lining inside a holster adds to the overall strength of the holster. it helps assure that the holster will retain its shape longer and thereby last longer. If made of the right material (usually some sort of suede) it helps assure less holster wear to the finish of the pistol. Besides protecting the gun from holster wear - a good liner also helps with pistol retention should a retention device like a thumb snap ever come undone. The liner usually assures that the pistol fits in the holster more snugly and this is a plus should the retention device ever come undone.

An open bottom to the holster is another feature that I prefer. Closed bottom holsters keep out debris - at least prevents debris from entering the holster from the bottom but closed bottom also retains debris that has entered from the top. If you use a closed bottom holster, especially in winter when wearing sweaters that produce lint, make sure to vacuum out the inside of the holster weekly. It is amazing just how much lint can accumulate inside a holster in a short time. As for the length of the holster I prefer that the bottom completely cover the barrel of the pistol I am carry. I do not like half length holsters where the front sight is exposed much preferring a covered/protected front sight. I also prefer to purchase a holster in which the trigger area of my pistol is totally covered by the holster. Most holsters on the market today seem to offer this safety feature. It goes a long way to prevent you from having your finger inside the trigger guard area, and therefore onto the trigger, while drawing or holstering.

Of course, any holster I buy in which I intend to carry my primary self defense weapon will have to have been designed specifically for the gun I am planning to carry. I do not buy holsters designed to fit 3" barreled pistols, or small pistols as opposed to medium pistols as opposed to large frame pistols for my carry piece. Holsters like that are fine for sporting revolvers and pistols but not for weapons you plan to carry for self defense. Features of a holster designed for a specific model are that they are actually molded to fit your pistol. Therefore if they have a sight channel, your sight will slide through it like greased lightning and not catch. The holster will snugly fit the exact pistol you plan to carry. The holster will not likely, or at least should not, be used by you to carry various pistols thereby assuring a longer good fitting life of the holster relative to the one pistol you do carry in it. The Bianci Shadow is pictured here and it is form fitted for a wide variety of pistols.

As for the materials out of which my holsters are made, I prefer good quality leather holsters over all others. A good quality Nylon holster is also okay but I have found that my leather holsters seem to take more punishment and last longer. I guess that has something to do with the fact that regular maintenance can be performed to extend the life of leather holsters such as application of leather preservatives and polish. Be careful of applying anything that softens the leather allowing it to stretch.

I much prefer carrying in a holster over in my waistband, under my belt, in a groin holster, a belly band or in my pocket because there is much less chance of the firearm catching on anything when I draw. It is also simply faster for one to draw from a strong side hip holster than it is from a cross draw, an ankle holster or any of the others mentioned in the previous sentence. Try a comparison sometime and see what I mean. Have someone time each of your draws. You will soon come to realize the truth of what I just wrote. Certainly aim, stance, use of sights and other things are very important. Speed is not everything when you need to draw your weapon and fire but you can bet that any time saved is more likely to make you a winner if you are equally proficient at all other aspects of self defense shooting.

Finally a strong side hip holster makes it easy for me to reholster after shooting - easy enough for me to do with one hand should it be a quality holster that remains open after the weapon is out of it. You would be surprised how many holsters partially collapse and require you to use two hands to reholster. Design of the holster is all important here. You do not want the retention device flapping away either so that it hangs down in the way of the pistol when you try to reholster - again design is everything in this regard.

Now, you may decide to go with something other than a strong side hip holster and that is your choice to make. I strongly recommend that if you choose another design though that you definitely consider making sure it has some of the same features I talked about above. make sure it attaches to wherever you attach it securely, make sure it has at least one active retention device/feature, make sure it is made of high quality material and so on.

So what will a good holster cost you? I figure to pay a minimum of $50 for a holster that meets my criteria. Usually though they cost more - probably something along the lines of $65 to $75 and up to about $100. More than that is pretty much money spent on window dressing or a name. The black holster pictured way up above is a Don Hume Enforcer and is of this type of holster. Does it have all the features I would want - almost all as far as I can tell and it lists for $57.00 on the Don Hume site. Here are the features I mentioned above that this holster has: The integral and sewn on flap belt loops, a thumb break design with thumb snap, a reinforced holster mouth, molded to fit specific weapons, leather construction, double stitching (high quality stitching), high ride design. Some features I am not sure it offers are: suede lined, sight channel. The price is within my estimate at $57.00. Another $20 to $30 would probably add a suede liner if not already there. I can say that on Don Hume holsters I have carried in the past there was always a suede liner but to be sure on a new purchase I would check with the manufacturer before considering a purchase. The DeSantis pictured here goes for $65.00.

I consider all three of the mentioned holster dealers to be ones who offer good quality holsters at reasonable prices. Of course they also offer holsters in the budget price range. I would be wary of any holster that even they sell that is listed as 'budget'. Pay a reasonable price and expect good to excellent quality that you can depend on. Pay too little and it may be too late to complain about it when the times comes and you cannot draw your pistol or when it falls out of the holster while you are running or when it gets ripped off of your side still in the holster. Pay too much - well if you have got the money to burn on a custom made holster from a big time designer - go ahead. I'd rather spend my money on a reasonably priced well made holster with the features I want and then spend the left over money on ammo so I can go to the range and practice shooting from the draw while breaking in my holster a nice dinner with my wife.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 26 - "Interactive Exploded Firearms' Drawings and Schematics"

A reader, Russ S recently asked me to send him directions for Marlin 336 disassembly and I obliged. He thanked me and later sent me a link to something he found subsequent to asking me for the directions. What he sent me was a link to: That site claims to be: The World's First Interactive Database of Exploded Firearms' Drawings and Schematics. Currently with 4177 models. WOW that seemed impressive.

I did a quick scan of some of the schematics that they have listed. While they have many firearms listed with links for their schematics, it seems a lot of the schematics are simply not available once you click on the links for them. They also list some things that are just nonexistent. For instance, under Marlin rifles they list the 35 Remenington. No that is not my spelling mistake - that is what they have listed as an available schematic but no schematic comes up when you click on the link; maybe because there is no such Marlin model. They also have, at the time of this writing, two listings for the Beretta Model 92, one for the Beretta M92 and one for the Beretta Model 92 Double Action. Only the last one shows a diagram when you click on its link; what you get with the other links is similar to this:

"Warning: getimagesize(images/776.) [
function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/gunuts/public_html/view.php on line 289
The World's First Interactive Exploded Firearms' Drawings and Schematics. Currently with 4177 models.. "

Now, when you click on the Marlin 336, not only do you get a schematic, you also get disassembly and reassembly instructions. Most of the other links that I visited that actually linked to schematics had only schematics but some had detailed directions too.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not faulting them. I think someone has a good idea. For all I know this is a brand new site with bugs to be worked out, it surely is new to me. I think, if you need a firearms schematic, or if you are searching for disassembly and reassembly instructions, this is a site you should check. You may be in luck and info on the firearms you need it for may be there. By the way, the home site for the above site is: They seem to offer even more info on firearms and ammunition there. It appears they are a commercial bullet manufacturer or retailer too.

A hat tip to Russ S. for the info on this site.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LIHS 20th Annual Reptile & Amphibian Show

Just a reminder, if you are in this neck of the woods, the LIHS will hold its 20th Annual Reptile & Amphibian Expo this Saturday, October 17, at SUNY Farmingdale (Farmingdale, NY off route 110) from 10-4. We will have a judged show - open to the public for reptile and amphibian entries and with ribbons and trophies awarded to the winners.

The expo is a great place to shop for reptiles & amphibians and for hobbyist/keeper accessories, etc...

Even if you do not want to keep a reptile or amphibian, this is a good show to come to in order to see a large variety of reptiles and amphibians. Besides those on sale, there should be at least a few non-sale displays of reptiles and amphibians. There is usually at least one or two exhibits geared toward educating folks about reptiles & amphibians - sometimes more. Also a great show for the kids. Hope to see you there.

More info here:

and here:

Please note that the LIHS supports itself by way of this show. It helps make sure we can continue to educate the public with regard to reptile and amphibian natural history, conservation, captive care and so on, as we have been doing for many years.

All the best,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 25 - Old Bullets

I store my ammunition in various places but the most used storage place is my basement. I have had some ammo for over 20 years now and I am confident that it would shoot as well as it would have on the day it was manufactured. Why? Well, I keep it dry and keep it away from sources of high heat and fire (this more to avoid a fire hazard than anything else). When you keep ammo dry - it can be stored for a long time and still be usable. How long? I would imagine, and this is just a guess on my part, that modern ammunition using smokeless powder and non-corrosive primers would last at least fifty to one hundred years, maybe more with no discernible problems if stored properly.

If you do not keep ammunition dry you will know it in a short amount of time. The accompanying picture of the ammo in this post shows you some light corrosion of ammunition caused only by the ambient humidity in my basement and my basement is one of the driest in which I have ever been. Can you shoot ammo like the stuff in my picture - sure you can if you are a risk taker. I do not shoot ammunition in that condition and I strongly recommend that you do not either. (By the way the two blanks would be okay to shoot they are basically only tarnished. Of course I would have to know the caliber first.) When shell casings are corroded there is always a chance of the casing cracking or coming apart when fired. When bullets are corroded there is a chance of one being stuck in the barrel. Ammunition in the condition shown could easily be cleaned of most of the corrosion, but why chance something going wrong with it when shooting it. I only recommend shooting ammunition that is in excellent condition. Yeah, I know, you know a guy at the range who shoots stuff like that all the time because he gets it for free from other people and he never has an accident. Well someday when you see him with a blown up barrel on his gun you may be able to figure out why. All it takes is one to go off badly to ruin your day, or if it results in your getting hurt maybe to ruin your life. Why take chances!

Of course if you insisted on shooting that ammo, I would insist that you did not shoot at least one of those rounds. That would be the one marked CLEM. Some wise guy in my office, about 10-12 years ago, decided to be a clown and left that one on my desk. No my name is not Clem, it is Glenn, but Clem was a goofy name that one joker sometimes called me. I imagine it was he who left it there for me, I have kept it as evidence treasured it since.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, October 12, 2009

An Old Friend Is Visiting Me Today

A friend is visiting me today - he is an old friend of mine. I know him well, all too well, I think, at times like these. I know his friendship to be rather spurious but I cannot shake him despite, or maybe because of, his antagonistic sort of a nature. It seems he visits most of the people he knows on damp, cold days, ones when the weather changes to the worse and rain or snow are almost promised to us. You would think that with the sun shining he would have other places to be rather than pestering me but truth be told he usually prefers my company on sunny days, especially those after the weather has changed from bad to good, or from a warmish/humid sunny day to a cold one. Yesterday was a nice day of sorts - not too cold, not too sunny, but on the humid side for fall with a fair amount of clouds and it actually felt quite warm by late morning. Today is a nice day too - a day that exemplifies mid Fall weather almost to the hilt. It is one of those days I loved so much as a kid. The air has a chill about it today that can only be described as crisp, this morning the sun was out, but now, the skies while not blue have only a light cloud covering and it surely has turned much cooler than yesterday. I was just outside and I ventured a guess that the temperature was in the mid-forties. When I sat at my desk I checked the forecast online and saw I had been correct in my guess - it is 46 degrees Fahrenheit as I type.

It is a bit of a wonder that my friend Arthur came to visit me last night and has stayed through the current moment promising to stay for at least the day. Why is it a bit of a wonder? Well, I suppose because the sun is not shining brightly today. He usually visits me on sunny days I suppose to steal the joy they bring with them. Yet, I imagine that a cold front of sorts has moved in because it certainly seems much cooler than yesterday and he loves to visit on days when the weather has changed. It has changed so much temperature wise from yesterday that I was almost convinced to turn on the heat when I awakened this morning, not only because of the chill in the air this fine morning but because I could have used an extra blanket last night too and that resulted with me chilled to the bones. That is exactly how Arthur likes me when he comes to visit. Perhaps he likes me to be susceptible to his grating personality and I suppose that my being chilled is just about enough for him to work his nasty magic on me to make me feel miserable. Misery indeed - I did not fail to mention somewhere above that he is the antagonistic sort - our whole friendship is based on such. Over the years, I gave as good as I received from him in our decades long duel but as of late I have given in to him all to often and have not tried to shorten his visits to just an hour or two. Instead I sometimes, out of apathy, allow him to stay with me for days even weeks at a time.

I am in no mood for another visit from him since the effects of his last visit are still lingering. I swear he harangues me so much, day in and day out, on each of our sojourns with one another as to get me aching within my bones. He is an antagonist almost without equal in my life. His bothersome ability is not so much that he irritates me on each of his stays with me than it is his habit to show up over and over again and make me as wretched on each visit as the last - that is if not even slightly more so on each successive stay. Today though - the story will be different - at least that is my hope. I have, before, had my hopes dashed to the rocks below by this wily opponents wit, tenacious personality, stamina and strength before but today I truly am hopeful that I can begin to overcome him. Maybe I can even force him to leave me in peace for awhile, that would be nice. I am not sure I can do it, but I have hope because another friend, well a new acquaintance anyway, has come to visit too. He seems to be the soothing type, but only time will tell if the stories I have heard about him are true or not about his powers and abilities regarding types like Arthur. It is difficult to believe, nay almost impossible to believe, that anyone out there has the will, the tenacity, the stamina, the strength to overcome Arthur I. Tis.

I can only hope - so please: Mr. Mobic - do you stuff.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Today In History - And So Began The Weaving Of The 'Worst' Lie Ever began with the birth of Mason Locke Weems on October 11, 1756 (or 1759 depending upon source). The lie did not begin on the day of Weems birth, but I suppose the wheels that eventually put it into motion started rolling that day because he was the author of it. The lie would not have been so bad had it never attained the popularity it achieved over all the years it was told and held as being virtually gospel truth. It was first spun in a biography that celebrated the life of one of our Founding Fathers, a man considered by many in his time as the greatest man who ever lived. The biography was written by Parson Mason Lock Weems. It was then read by thousands, hundreds of thousands, probably millions by the time I was a boy - yet it was written either in the latter part of the 18 century. How is it then that it held power over us even into the late 20th century and maybe even through today in the early 21st. It held that power not only because the person about whom it told wound up helping to create a new nation based upon the rights of the People (as in the rights of each individual), and not only because he was a person whom we were all brought up to respect (well we used to be brought up to respect him - Heavens only know whom teacher today think of as heroes but scum like Castro come to mind as being one of their choices) but also because it seemingly was based upon a tenet of morality - the one that teaches us we should not lie.

Lying is part of our nature, no matter how much we are taught to avoid lying, I think the truth is that we all, by the time we are a few years able to speak, have done so. Yet teaching us not to do so is something to be desired because we don't want children growing into adulthood thinking that lying is a good means to use with frequency toward any good end in the normal course of a well led life. In other words, lying may be necessary sometimes, at least as I see it, to achieve a good end - but we do not want to become wind up lost adrift in a sea of lies with no way to reach the truth because no good end will ever come of that.

So what lie is it that I believe was put into motion all those years ago with the birth of Weems. It was a lie that was not meant so much to be a lie but rather to be a literary device used to convey a moral which would emphasize the good character of the man being written about. That man was George Washington and of course the lie was the one in the tale about the chopping down of the cherry tree and George being questioned by his father about it, it went like this:

"When George," said she, "was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet! of which, like most little boys, he was immoderately fond, and was constantly going about chopping everything that came in his way. One day, in the garden, where he often amused himself hacking his mother's pea-sticks, he unluckily tried the edge of his hatchet on the body of a beautiful young English cherry-tree, which he barked so terribly, that I don't believe the tree ever got the better of it. The next morning the old gentleman, finding out what had befallen his tree, which, by the by, was a great favourite, came into the house; and with much warmth asked for the mischievous author, declaring at the same time, that he would not have taken five guineas for his tree. Nobody could tell him anything about it. Presently George and his hatchet made their appearance. "George," said his father, "do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? " This was a tough question; and George staggered under it for a moment; but quickly recovered himself: and looking at his father, with the sweet face of youth brightened with the inexpressible charm of all-conquering truth, he bravely cried out, "I can't tell a lie, Pa; you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet." "Run to my arms, you dearest boy," cried his father in transports, "run to my arms; glad am I, George, that you killed my tree; for you have paid me for it a thousand fold. Such an act of heroism in my son is more worth than a thousand trees, though blossomed with silver, and their fruits of purest gold."

I grew up with it told to me, and I probably told it to my kids though by that time I think I had found out it was pure bunk. Supposedly Washington never said any such thing. It was a tale told by Weems to establish the character of the man in his biography and little more. Yet, it became one of the best known moralistic stories of the late 18th, complete 19th and most of the 20th centuries and it taught children a lesson about it being best to tell the truth regardless of the fact that it was a sort of a lie itself. Was it really the worst lie? It was in all likelihood the greatest lie ever told in American history and when you think of it in retrospect it was not such a bad one, maybe even a good one at that!

All the best,
Glenn B