Sunday, February 28, 2010

Internet Disappointments

I joined Facebook probably within the last 4 months or so, maybe a bit longer ago. To date, I have received several emails from Facebook members that contained links to viruses. I know that the people from whose account came those emails did not send them to me with a virus attached. Some malevolent son of a bitch dog was up to no good and somehow managed to engineer a virus and send it out from other people's Facebook accounts to those listed as friends in those accounts. I have had enough. I deleted my Facebook account tonight. According to the window that popped up, my account has been deleted temporarily for 14 days and if I do not sign on within 14 days it will then become permanent.

I will stick to blogging - that is if Google does not cancel my account. It appears this is another thing going on in the virtual world of the Internet. A fellow blogger recently had a few of his blogs and his Google email shut down by Google. I have heard of this before and it usually seems to apply to conservative bloggers for the great majority from what I understand. I am not talking about extremist conservatives either. I mean regular run of the mill conservatives although my information of this is pretty much limited to those among them who write a lot about guns, politics, terrorism, the current administration and hopes for a conservative replacement and related topics. If it is true that this group is being targeted then I imagine my blog is not long for this site. I do not believe I have ever violated the terms of service of Google or Blogger but then again I would not have thought that the other guys did either.

Hopefully I will continue to blog here but if for some reason my account is deleted I will start blogging from a purchased web domain/website or whatever you call it.

All the best,
Glenn B

A Full Moon Tonight & The Wolfman...

...that is the movie The Wolfman and some bone chilling moments were in the stars for me tonight (I guess last night by now since it is just after midnight here in AZ). I did not need a Gypsy fortune teller to read my palm to tell me any of that. After all, there was a full moon out, clouds eerily sped by hiding then revealing the moon's cold face, and rain seemed inevitable. So I was off to the theater figuring to get some thrills and chills from a classic horror themed movie. Sadly, there was not a single scream, gasp, nor even a mere "oh my" from anyone in the audience throughout the duration of this oft times slow and boring werewolf movie. I thought for one brief moment there had been a gasp, then realized someone was yawning. Seems I cannot win when it comes to seeing a good movie while here in Phoenix. First I walked out of The Book of Eli about 1/2 way through because the media quality was terrible (scratched and dirty) and besides that the movie was truly extremely boring (although a coworker told me while he found it boring too, the ending was worth thee wait). Then I watched this one hoping for something a least in the thrilling range if not actually scary. At least I stayed all the way through this one but I was disappointed. Let me just put it this way, the movie was mediocre at best.

After the movie had ended and as I walked back to my apartment I realized I had been right about one thing - that I would be getting some chills tonight - it was raining and quite cool and I had to zip up my fleece and turn up my collar. Not exactly the type of chills I had been anticipating though but chills nonetheless.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 49 - Letter From An Angry Reader

Nope, I have not received any hate mail regardless of the implication of this post's title. I just figured that it was once again time to post about, and share, a certain letter to a certain magazine from a certain angry reader who talks about guns and our right and need to own them and be proficient with them.

The Letter From An Angry Reader was a letter received by Esquire magazine way back in 1981 from a reader who was disgusted by a piece previously appearing in said magazine. The previous article, from the April 1981 issue of Esquire, was called ''50 Million Handguns' and was about as anti-gun and anti self defense as it could be and was basically a flip side to a previous article in the February 1981 edition of Esquire that was pro-gun and supported self defense (apparently Esquire was willing back then to show both sides). At least one person who read the anti-gun article '50 Million Handguns' got angry; his name was Chip Elliot. He penned his anger in a letter he sent off to the editors of Esquire. The editors were impressed, they asked him to expand it into an article length piece. He obliged. His article Letter From An Angry Reader first appeared in the September 1981 edition of Esquire magazine - it was the front cover piece. Thus we have what is one of the most well thought out and realistic documents covering some of the reasons for firearms ownership and the need to be ready to defend one's self. Once upon a time, I had an original of that edition. I picked it up when it first came out - only because of that article. It was something I treasured for years to come but alas, somewhere over the years, it became lost treasure. Yet, it is still available for viewing on the Internet, where I just found it, at:

Or maybe you can find a copy of the actual magazine.

Or read it here:

Letter from an ANGRY Reader

A Letter to the Editor of Esquire Magazine
from Chip Elliott

The streets of America...are as dangerous as the roads and alleys of an earlier century. But before we resign ourselves to helplessness, this reader urges us to listen to the story of how he took up arms in defense of his life and property.

In regard to Adam Smith's April column, "Fifty Million Handguns," come off it. Smith laments the fact that large numbers of people are prepared to defend themselves with handguns. He can't really accept the fact that we are living in a world where personal self-defense is a necessity. Didn't he read the article in the February Esquire called "Shooting to Kill"—about middle class citizens who are determined to shoot to defend their lives? Did he or you think that was a joke? That it was made up?

I went from being where both of you seem to be at this point to carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson automatic in ten weeks. My wife is a psychiatrist. Very attractive, very easy to intimidate, very abstracted, a likely target for muggers both outside, because she's lost in her thoughts, and at home, because punks think doctors keep drugs in their houses (they don't). She has a gun, too, a .38, and she knows how to use it. We are not hillbillies: we are people who went to Radcliffe and Stanford, respectively. Appalling, huh? It used to appall us too, until we were forced to realize that our lives, both as a married couple with a deep commitment and as individuals doing important and meaningful work, were worth protecting.

In the spring of 1976 we were living in the San Francisco Bay area. My wife was doing her psychiatric residency. I had just walked out on the advertising business and was working on a novel. That spring, Peter Brook directed a play called The Ik, a hair-raising piece created by the troupe of the International Center for Turnbull's anthropological study called The Mountain People. Sponsored by the French government, Brook and his gang made a six-week American tour and played Berkeley.

The play cast in theatrical bronze the lives of a tribe of hunters in Uganda who had been displaced from their centuries old hunting grounds by the creation of a national park and a game reserve. What followed was an utter disintegration of their social structure, and it turned everybody—including members of the same family—into mortal enemies seeking, each alone, food.

The play's premise is that what we call human values are actually luxuries qualities that only emerge and exist under the best and calmest of conditions. It was a spooky production and great theater, but I did not see how it could possibly relate to America in the late Seventies.

Two years later, we moved to Los Angeles. We did not move to the glamorous, movie-struck Los Angeles of The Ginger Man and the Beverly Hills Hotel—though I would be lying if I said the thought had never crossed our minds. We moved to the Los Angeles of the Nuart theater, the Fox Venice, the Jung Institute, a city with the sense of being in another country with American hamburger overtones. And, of course, the sea. Not the beach, the sea.

Our friends Boris and Ute—a Yugoslav sculptor and a German painter—had just bought a house in Venice, and we quickly rented a house nearby on Electric Avenue. Electric Avenue yet! Whooee! It was dirty pink with a gray-green roof, and its outstanding feature was an eight-by-thirty glassed-in porch. A grown man in good condition could have torn this house down with his hands, but I loved it because it swayed when you walked through it. It was like being on a weather-beaten but seaworthy closed cabin schooner.

Venice at that time seemed like Sleeping Beauty after a century of trance: musty, dusty, and long stagnant, but with the promise of awakening magic. On that porch I intended to write a new Threepenny Opera, to invent at least two or three new Sally Bowleses. I would knock the world on its ear.

More friends quickly turned up—Rene and Renata, European graphic wizards; Carolyn and Chris, a mime and an actor who wanted to get away from off-Broadway and into movies and television; a middle-aged Australian writer and adventurer and his half-Irish-half-Mexican wife with her wall-to-wall cheekbones and her head full of D. H. Lawrence and Denise Levertov...and many others.

My beloved French Lop rabbit, Nicole, had a yard to romp in. We quickly discovered a sensational wine from a local vineyard, a county fair prizewinner that sold for $3.38 a gallon at the local Safeway.

Our days quickly became ordered: group breakfasts, work all day, talk all evening, lights out by ten p.m. My wife took a job as staff psychiatrist for a county mental health clinic in downtown Los Angeles. We settled in in a hurry. There was no time to lose. We were going to recreate the world not of the Sixties but of F. Scott Fitzgerald's friends Gerald and Sara Murphy in the years 1922 and 1923. We would throw a two-year-long working party.

But it quickly became apparent that all was not as it seemed in Venice. For starters, we had moved to the intersection of turfs of two rival Mexican gangs. We got along with them. When they shot at each other—as they did less than a week after we had moved in—they shouted to us in Spanish to get out of the way. We did.

There were other clues. Walking, I would occasionally see brown spots on the sidewalk that, from my experience as a police reporter, I could recognize as bloodstains. I would notice this the way you might notice a scruff of feathers where something has gotten a small bird: a tiny memorial to violence.

One morning, as I was sitting on the wobbly glassed-in porch, I watched a gang of black teenagers pour gasoline all over a parked car and set it on fire. This was at ten o'clock in the morning. Broad daylight.

A few days later, I heard of a robbery two blocks from where we lived: A woman came to the door of a house and asked to use the telephone, said it was an emergency. When the man opened the door, her henchmen came in right behind her. The three of them stabbed the man to death and left his wife barely alive. In the next block a woman was raped twice after her nose and jaw were broken.

Just to be on the safe side, after a kitchen table powwow, we went to a gun shop on Pico Boulevard one Saturday morning and bought a 38 snub-nosed revolver. After all, this was Los Angeles, land of Joe Friday. Strange things had happened here. Sharon Tate had once had a very bad evening here. But a gun! Who had ever owned a gun? I picked the revolver up after the normal fifteen-day waiting period and wrote the guy a check from the Santa Monica Bank. It cost $160. It seemed like a lot for a silly object. I would rather have bought a painting. We put the revolver under the corner of our mattress and there it stayed. For ten days.

One night we went to the Fox Venice to see Forbidden Planet, you know, the movie about monsters from the id. When we returned, the door had been broken in. The stereo was gone, the television was gone, the paintings and cameras and typewriters were gone. The dressers had been turned over and ransacked, the bed had been torn up and the revolver taken; the birdcage had been torn off the wall and the parakeet set free for a while until the cat got it and ate it, leaving the remains on the floor where a rug had been. All the jewelry was gone, such as it was. Including my Cartier watch. I had earned that watch, you know? I had saved for it just as surely as I had saved the money for a house or a car or a couple of new suits. That ended my romance with Cartier watches. There is an enormous black market for them in Los Angeles, but I don't want one now. I wear a Thirties Gruen Curvex now, a sister to the watch Bogart wore in Casablanca. It's worth about the same as a tank watch but very few people know what it is.

Three thousand in after-tax dollars. It took the police two hours and forty-five minutes to show up.

Our revolver, which had begun as a museum piece, a curio, as far as we were concerned, had now entered the underworld. We were unprotected now, and we felt so. We reported the gun stolen, of course. Serial number and all that. Big deal. Five months later, it was used in an assault against a Los Angeles woman. I made up my mind that the way to handle a gun in a dangerous situation was to never let it out of my sight.

Our friends were robbed, burglarized. Carolyn, of her sewing machine, her typewriter, her clothes. Another couple, of all their photographic equipment, used not for a hobby but for their livelihood. Easygoing Boris bought a twelve-gauge riot gun and hid it in a trunk with his sixteen millimeter movie equipment so no one would steal it. And a huge black shepherd dog to protect the trunk. Someone broke in anyway and slit the dog's throat.

Easygoing Boris bought a twelve-gauge riot gun and hid it in a trunk with his sixteen millimeter movie equipment so no one would steal it. And a huge black shepherd dog to protect the trunk. Someone broke in anyway and slit the dog's throat.

We bought a new revolver, a. 38 Special Smith & Wesson, and had the handgrips filed down so my wife could hold it easily. The two weeks while we waited for the permit to go through were the most terrifying of my fife.

It turned out that my wife's work for Los Angeles County was more like a Clint Eastwood movie than a medical practice. One of her street patients quickly fastened on her and began writing her death threats with sexual overtones. There was no place to put him away because there was no money for any serious treatment, and there were no available psychiatric beds in any of the local hospitals. She began carrying the .38 in her briefcase along with her patient case load progress notes.

We quickly developed a pattern: when she came home at night she would park her car and blow the horn; I would go outside and escort her into the house. It dawned on me for the first time that we might be killed. That it was possible we would die here.

I bought a second handgun, a 9mm automatic that would fire as fast as lightning. I phoned around, discovered where to go to practice with it. And I practiced.

A word about revolvers versus automatics: If you don't know much about all this, a revolver is better because it is a simple mechanism. You can see if there are cartridges in it.

I also went to the police and got a carry permit. A carry permit is not as difficult to obtain as a lot of people would have you believe. You have to give a good reason for wanting the permit You have to not be a felon and not have, for example, eleven hundred outstanding parking tickets. If you are a crackpot, someone will sniff it out and you will not be issued the permit.

One night I was awakened by a noise outside on the street. I got up, peeped through the dining room curtains and saw a gang of teenagers taking the fog lights off my car. I raised the curtains and knocked on the window. The sight of a thirty-three year-old naked guy is not going to frighten very many people anymore, but the sight of a thirty-three-year-old naked guy with an automatic did the trick. They fled.

Our lives settled down again. We cut a safe into the floor of our dining room and hid our remaining valuables in it. It was never discovered, even though they took the Oriental rug that covered it.

We went to a wedding in San Francisco on a Friday night. The week before, I had prepped the house as you might prepare for medieval warfare: two-by-six boards bolted into doorframes with lag bolts six inches long and a socket wrench. That sort of thing. Anything we had left that was slightly portable—my wife's doctor bag, a pair of binoculars, our passports and checkbooks—I threw into two suitcases, which I put into storage.

When we returned from the wedding there was no back door and no doorframe, only an enormous hole with smashed edges leading into a set of empty rooms. We were left with a bed, some pots and pans, and a bookcase. It was one of our more memorable Thanksgivings.

On the seventeenth of December in 1978, I saw a woman mugged for her purse—and I watched her run screaming after her assailant until she collapsed, crying in the street.

On the eighteenth or nineteenth of December, my wife was at a meeting, everybody else was busy doing something, and I walked alone to the Venice Sidewalk Cafe for some dinner. It occurred to me that it was silly to put on a shoulder holster just to go out for a beer and a sandwich, but I did it anyway, although I had never been threatened physically, ever, except in foreign countries.

Walking home about six-thirty at night, just off the corner of West Washington Boulevard and Westminster Avenue, I was confronted by five young, well-dressed uptown brothers. Black. Okay. Let's get that right out front. They could just as easily have been white. We were directly under a streetlight and less than fifty feet from an intersection thick with traffic.

I was not dressed as a high roller. I am not a high roller. I don't look like a robber baron or a rich dentist. I look like exactly what I am, a middle-aged guy who's seen a little more than he needs to see. I thought, what are these guys doing?

Their leader pulled a kitchen knife out of his two-hundred-dollar leather jacket. His mistake was that he wasn't close enough to me to use it, only to threaten me. He smiled at me and said, "Just the wallet, man. Won't be no trouble."

That was a very long moment for me. I remember it just as it happened. I remember thinking at the time that it was one of those moments that are supposed to be charged with electricity. It wasn't. It was hollow, silent, and chilly.

I looked at this guy and at his companions and at his knife, and I thought: Don't you see how you're misreading me? I am not a victim. I used to be a victim, but now I'm not. Can't you see the difference?

I pulled the automatic, leveled it at them and said very clearly, "You must be dreaming."

The guy smiled at me and said, "Sheeeit," and his buddies laughed, and he began to move toward me with the knife. I thought, this guy is willing to kill me for thirty-five dollars. I aimed the automatic at the outer edge of his left thigh and shot him.

He dropped like a high jumper hitting the bar and yelled "Goddamn!" three times, the first one from amazement, I guess, and the second two higher pitched and from pain.

He yelled at his buddies, "Ain't you gonna do nothing?" They did do nothing.

The guy smiled at me and said, "Sheeeit," and his buddies laughed, and he began to move toward me with the knife. I thought, this guy is willing to kill me for thirty-five dollars. I aimed the automatic at the outer edge of his left thigh and shot him.

I backed off and walked away, right across busy West Washington Boulevard, with the gun still in my hand. I remember thinking, shouldn't I call a doctor? And then I thought, would he have called a doctor for me? And I kept right on walking.

I am not a macho guy. White water to me is club soda. I haven't been skiing in ten years. Anything I order from L.L. Bean ends up on the dining room table and then in a box in the basement. I'm never going to shoot a zebra and have it made into a rug, okay?

I was not coming on like James Bond, and I was not being territorial or aggressive. I was simply protecting my right to walk around town with a lousy thirty-five dollars in my pocket and not be afraid for my life.

I walked home. I felt terribly strange, but it was a strangeness that I could identify. I realized that what I was doing—in our current state of affairs—was a cultural procedure no different from going to the grocery or getting a haircut or buying a shirt. And that I had balked over it and felt strange because it was a new procedure, something I was doing for the first time, not unlike dealing with one of those twenty-four-hour banking devices with the code numbers and the buttons—and that if I wanted to stay alive, it was possible I would have to get used to it.

I am not proud of this. I did not swallow it easily, either. More than a year passed before I talked about it with anybody, not even my wife. But I did it. And I could do it again if I had to.

What happened to us, of course, is that we got hit in the face with time's swinging door. My world changed sometime between 1975 and 1980, and we had a couple of tough years getting from one Pullman car to another. We were lucky. We lost more than eleven thousand dollars of what we owned, but we weren't killed. We adapted. Now the guns are a normal part of our lives. We accept them, just as we accept the seven motors of suburbia. They are a necessary convenience, like the washing machine or refrigerator or one of those devices that zaps mosquitoes with electricity.

Sometimes I think, this is a stupid, abhorrent, exasperating situation. And it is. But we've adapted to other stupid, abhorrent, exasperating situations: 20 percent interest rates. Iran. And now we've adapted to this one.

Let me tell you how we've adapted. We dress low key, we don't flaunt anything, we keep loaded guns in the house, and we don't keep them stashed in some drawer where we can't find them if we need them. We keep them right out in the open, and we always know exactly where they are. The difference is in that exterior framework of protection and in our attitudes toward it: it is something that was not necessary when we were younger, and it is something which most of us, Adam Smith included, still carry on about. We don't even think it's too bad anymore; we're beyond that. We accept it as a fact of life and go right on. And it will stay a fact of life until our fellow countrymen get it out of their heads that they can do as they please, that there is no such thing as social responsibility, that they have a right not to behave. Because the way we see it, if they have the right to mug us, we have the right to shoot them.

I used to believe that these people had some justifications on their side. I used to feel that I ought to have some compassion for them, and I did. I used to believe that a job and some credit would put them on the right path. It isn't true. I also used to believe that much of the human wreckage—the millions upon millions of people with emotional damage—could be repaired. That isn't true either. They can't be, for the most part, because the effort necessary to straighten out a single one of them is enormous: four or five years perhaps of therapy, in an age when there is no time for anything but emergency medicine.

Let's face it. Some of these people are poor Some of them are driven crazy with desire for stuff they will never be able to afford. But not all of them are poor, not by a long shot. A lot of them make as much money, or a great deal more, than you or I do. They do it because it's easy. They do it because they believe no one will stop them. And they're right.

Let's talk for a moment about John Lennon. Adam Smith brought him up. I'm particularly interested in this one because John and Yoko had something very similar to what my wife and I have: two equal people who happened to be able to witness each other's life to the fullest possible extent. The grand passion. The real thing. Now it's gone.

When all is said and done, the real tragedy of John Lennon is that he dinosaured out. He ought to have known better. He stayed in the house for four or five years, and when he came out again, the world had changed. He could have had a bodyguard, for Christ's sake. He could have lived in the country. He did not have to stay in New York City and rub people's noses in it with his $150 million and his blue jeans. The clown who killed him did it for fame, not money, obviously. But if someone is willing to stick a knife in me for thirty-five dollars and not bother to find out what blood type I am, you can just imagine what they are willing to do to someone who has real money.

I think a lot about John Lennon. You know what I think? I think, Jesus Christ, if it's this bad for my wife and me now, what will it be like if either of us ever becomes well known?

More to the point, let's talk about Adam Smith's friend Michael Halberstam. I did not know Halberstam, but I liked his work. He surprised a burglar in his Washington, D.C., home and was shot.

Halberstam figured all of this out in the very last seconds of his life. He didn't like being killed. He must have thought it was pretty damned unfair. He was furious. In his last few moments, rushing adrenaline and pouring blood, he got in his car and ran down his assailant.

You know what? If he had made this discovery even slightly earlier—long enough to buy a weapon and wait for the permit to go through—he would very likely be alive right now.

Now listen to me a minute. The guns themselves don't cause all this. What causes it is that people think they can have the American dream by sticking someone up for it. They think that there ought to be a huge equal society out there. Equal shares for everybody. Forced equal shares if necessary.

Now listen to me a minute. The guns themselves don't cause all this. What causes it is that people think they can have the American dream by sticking someone up for it. They think that there ought to be a huge equal society out there. Equal shares for everybody. Forced equal shares if necessary.

What is true is that we are entering a time of vast restratification. The United States is becoming more European...but it is a Europe of a different century. We are moving toward a culture in which we'll have cooks, chauffeurs, maids, carpenters, brewmasters, vintners, industrialists, bankers, machinists, hat makers, shopkeepers, and kings and queens of a sort. And, of course, we'll also have highwaymen, cutthroats, and thieves. Think of it in terms of a vast panorama, a huge cross section much like the—world Balzac,, Hugo, and Dumas described. Think about Dickens. Read Weber's The City. Read Pirenne's The Economic and Social History of Medieval Europe. None of this is new. What is new is that we're experiencing it. What was new was the social structure in America of the past three or four decades, which has collapsed.

To have any kind of culture or civilization in a world like this, it is going to be necessary to stop talking about things like prisoners' unions and start talking about the concept of crime and the definition of the word "criminal."

It would be nice also to talk about police. But if you'll read these books, you'll find very little mention of police. What you will find are numerous references to people who wore swords and pistols whenever they went anywhere.

People now fashionably put down the Seventies, but it was a time when many people reached a level of personal success and satisfaction that may not be achieved again in our lifetimes. By comparison, we are in the pit, and I don't mean the floor of the commodities exchange. In many ways the Seventies gave us a glimpse of what life may be like in 125 years.

But it's like the Dark Ages now. Each time there is a major change, it is necessary to gain a clear understanding of what the changes are, what skills still hold, which ones need to be discarded, which new ones need to be developed.

Now, about those fifty million handguns: taking them away will not automatically give us a society like England's or Holland's. We are just not like that. It would be nice if we were. That's why Americans run away to Europe. What might help is a good set of disk brakes on people's behavior here. But anything that might put such desperately needed stops on people's personal "freedoms" is perceived out there in the streets as a violation of civil liberties, of constitutional rights. That is, it is a "right" to mug, rape, burglarize, murder, and commit arson for the insurance money. So there you are: a nation of pirates.

I would like to see impossibly tight gun registration laws, but I secretly scoff. Anyone who's honest can get through any registration process we can come up with. Anyone, who's not honest won't bother. The way guns get into the criminal underworld is that they are stolen. That makes registration a useless exercise.

As for the manufacture of all those devices and all those bullets, during World War II the United States became "the great arsenal of democracy." It is a damned good thing for the English that we were, too, or they would be holding Oktoberfests right now.

Do you really think the rest of the world sees us as insane because we bear arms? Try going to one of the South American countries. Try going into a country in which only the government has weapons. Try watching armed soldiers carrying their semiautomatic carbines around the airport gates and the customs offices, while the people have none. You want the wealth redistributed? Try it under those circumstances.

Don't talk to me about the saintly Japanese either. Everyone says they have a very low crime rate. No one really knows. It could be, because they are very big on making each person responsible for himself and also to his fellow countrymen—a sort of "One for all, all for one" attitude. They are sublimated like mad and they are rich because of it. It looks good on the surface, but just below that surface is a caldron; and if you look close you can see it. They have a history of barbarism that goes back for centuries and that we could never hope to match.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the first thing I thought was, now I'll never get to go there. Try putting yourself in Afghan shoes: no matter what you think, from your current vantage point, with a cellarful of good vintage wines and a wallful of Wittgenstein, if you lived there and the Soviets came trucking in with tanks and occupational forces, I am willing to bet you would hock your house, your automobile your Baume & Mercier watch, or your ass on the street for a good gun and the bullets to put in it.

So much for international relations; on the home front, suffice it to say that as long as we live in a society in which a large constituency thinks it can do whatever it damn pleases—no sense of morality asked for or required—then those of us who have the middle-class work ethic, those of us who believe the Freudian epithets of work and love, will be seen as potential victims by the flocks of hustlers and lurkers who are out there. It is sometimes tough to get a job. It is also, right now, easier to rob people than it is to work for money. It's easier because it can be gotten away with. These people believe no one will stop them. They're right. No one will. Not the police, not the courts, not the penal system. No one but the growing number of us who have decided we will not be victimized again, ever.

We moved from Venice in 1979. Our old friends blew away to various other places. Their dreams, like ours, blew away too.

We moved to a condominium in Culver City. Very uptown. Top floor, surrounded by Russian olive trees and flaming bougainvillea. Three swimming pools, Jacuzzis at every turn, an underground parking lot, and a tennis court. We didn't have anything to put in our place, but still it was pretty.

People were robbed in the parking lot. People were mugged on the tennis court. There was a rape nearby and then another. My wife began carrying her .38 again when she walked from our place to the car. We were burglarized again. We didn't even call the police.

One night we went to West Hollywood to see the movie Watership Down. We sat through it twice and couldn't understand why neither of us could stop crying. Sometime after that, we packed up—a simple matter, believe me—and drove east. We parked my rabbit, Nicole—who had survived Venice by digging a hole and hiding in it—in a picnic basket so we could sneak her into motels.

While we were looking for a house and staying in a motel, a white teenage boy and his girlfriend knocked on the door of a nearby room and asked to use the telephone. Inside, they held the couple at gunpoint; tied them to chairs with wire rope; took their wallets, clothes, luggage, traveler's checks, and car. We slept peacefully that night. If they had come to our door, they would have been surprised.

Now we live in a big old house out in the Midwest, big enough for each of us to have a studio. Huge yard, ravine, et cetera. The neighbors are friendly. A lot more friendly than we are, because we have memories we're trying to forget. It's not completely safe here, but it is a notch or so better than other places we've lived. We keep the guns, loaded, in the house, but we don't have carry permits anymore and we don't carry them around as though it were 1880...or 1980.

I've stopped going to target ranges to practice. But I still keep my hand in, as they say. Because every time we leave this relatively sublime neighborhood and enter the world of hotels and airports, we enter into a world of imminent danger—an area where the law is no recourse. So we remember how to use the guns, and try to forget that we have had to use them or ever will again.

When President Reagan was shot, I was outside painting a trellis. Some neighborhood children told me. At first I thought they had just seen a documentary on JFK. It seemed as far away to me as the moon...or the "forbidden planet." But it isn't.

Are human values luxuries? Could be, right now. If so, I lead a pretty luxurious life. I've paid for it, though, and the price was too goddamned high, because those human values used to come free. Part of the American package. Although sometimes I wonder if something so precious could ever have been, or be, free.

So you can fuss and bitch, Adam Smith, all you like, and you can rail at the hillbillies in the NRA, but the next time someone breaks into your house or your apartment, the next time someone busts the window of your car and rips off your FM radio and your thirty-five millimeter camera, the next time some woman you know gets raped and busted up and you have to visit her in the hospital and try to cheer her up, the next time you are totally freaked out after coming up against a gang halfway between the restaurant and the car, sit yourself down and do some serious considering about who has the right to do what to whom. Often this stuff has to touch people personally before they think about self-protection, and often by then a tragedy of far more epic proportions than getting knocked off for a Sony stereo receiver has occurred. I hope that doesn't happen to you. You have a right to carry on merrily with what you're doing.

Whenever I'm perplexed, upset, need some stillness, you'll find me out in the yard somewhere, pulling thistles out of my rosebushes, digging in the dirt. That's where I am today.

Let us know, you guys, when you figure out that sociopaths may be worthy of your concern, but not your life. The rest of us would like to come out of hiding."

Amazing story, isn't it. No not really, it could happen at any time. What is so amazing is that too many of us don't want to believe it and pefer to believe in the fairy tale of a White Knight arriving to save us in the nick of time after dialing 911. Yeah - right - good luck on that.

All the best,
Glenn B

Esquire Magazine, September 1981

The Census - On What Authority

Is the taking of the Census by the United States Government legal? You may have thought that it is indeed legal, I thought so especially since the Constitution of the United States allows for it. Then again have you ever read just exactly what it is with regard to the Census that our Constitution allows? I have not, at least not lately. You may be surprised at how little of the information collected acrually is authorized by the Constitution which by the way is the only document from which any authority at all of our federal government is derived. Watch the following video and be prepared to be flabbergasted when considering what authority our government has, if any, to demand our personal information in the Census.

Pretty interesting stuff isn't it!

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, February 26, 2010

Portlands... a restaurant on Central Avenue just north of Roosevelt near downtown Phoenix. I went there tonight as a 2nd choice of restaurants because the place at which I had hoped to enjoy dinner was closed for this one night. So, a coworker, a young agent, who came out to dinner with me suggested Portland's. She made a wonderful choice. We split an appetizer of BBQ ribs, fall off of the bone type that tasted great. She had a couple of appetizers and side dishes for dinner - scallops - au gratin potatoes and such and it was delicious. I had their fillet of salmon dinner over a bed of sauteed spinach and white beans; it was scrumptious to say the least. A delicious dinner shared with good company is an excellent thing even though we just talked about ordinary things like family, married life, work and so on. That over it was then back to the cell room and to my blog for me. I may sneak out later for a whiskey or two, and to enjoy the music of The Waters, at The Turf Accountant for an hour or so. Other than that, I expect it to be a quiet night. Still though, it would be nicer still to be at home for a quiet night, snuggled up close to my darling on this cold winter's night in NY. Oh well, only a month and a half more to go before I am home again and by then the first blossoms of Spring will be blooming.

All the best,
Glenn B

Gun Show Anticipation............

...has ahold of me even though if I do attend tomorrow's (or Sunday's) Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Phoenix I cannot buy a gun. I don't know what it is about gun shows, but I do enjoy them even when I don't buy a thing. I guess it is simply because I like guns and enjoy shooting as much as I do. So, regardless of the fact that I cannot buy a gun at this weekend's show, I will be there at least one of the two days that it runs. Well, really I could buy a gun, then have it shipped to an FFL dealer in my home state, but the thing is it would have to be an earth shattering bargain to make the extra FFL transfer expenses worth it. Thus, I will attend but not purchase any firearms. Of course, that does not mean I can not buy accessories and the like and as usual I will probably spend a tidy amount when there. If you are at the show, keep an eye out for me and stop me to say hello if you happen upon me.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Politically Hilarious and Religiously Incorrect Humor (or something like that)

Folks, this one is not mine and I have no idea who wrote it but a friend from work sent it to me and it made a somewhat gloomy day end with an uproarious bout of laughter. Without any further adieu:

The Pope and Nancy Pelosi are on stage in front of a huge crowd.

The Pope leans towards Mrs. Pelosi and said, "Do you know that with one little wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display, like that of your followers, but go deep into their hearts and for the rest of their lives whenever they speak of this day they will rejoice!"

Pelosi replied, "I seriously doubt that; with one little wave of your hand? Show me."

So the Pope slapped her.

Yes folks, sometimes the truly simple things in life amuse me and make me happy.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just Like That - Up In A Puff Of Smoke...

...and we have lost, at least temporarily, another excellent blogger. Heck, I just found the guy (although he has been around for awhile) and was really enjoying his blog and then for reasons unknown, The Hermit over at 'Smoke signals' decided to call it quits for blogging. He said he will still be reading others blogs just not blogging himself. He will be missed in that regard; he had a great blog chock full of information about guns and planning for survival, and other posts about: family, our military, politics, daily life, movie reviews and other things. I also enjoyed his pics of the area in which he lived.

Plenty of good reading there still to be enjoyed in his past posts that I have not read yet, so I imagine they will keep me busy for a bit.

Oh well, his latest post title was
I'll be off line for awhile. One can only hope that indicates it will be just a temporary hiatus. Hurry back Hermit!

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rainy Day Blahs For Me...

...but not because of the rain itself. It was rather because of bad timing on my part and because most of the shooters in the Phoenix area seem very averse to shooting at an outdoor range in a little rain. I debated going to the Ben Avery Range early this afternoon despite the fact that it was raining on and off and cool outside. The rain and coolness would not have bothered me in the least, I kind of like that sort of weather and shooting in it just adds another aspect of reality to the type of situation in which one may find one's self in a real life defensive shooting. What I am trying to say is that the sun is not always shining, not even here in Phoenix, so why not shoot in the rainy weather now and then too to be ready to shoot in any type of situation.

Works for me and I was ready to do it today but then bad timing came into play on my part. I had to take care of some errands today since today was my only day off this weekend. So I went to Walmart and Costco and Big 5 Sporting Goods first. That took longer than I had planned - Costco was mobbed and it took me a long time to get my 4 or 5 purchases through the checkout (yes they were things I will need for the upcoming week). When I got back to my apartment I had a quick lunch, then realized: 'Holy time travel Batman - it's already 2:30PM'. The Ben Avery Range closes at 3PM on Sundays at this time of year. That was definitely out. So instead of going there, I did this and that, then I decided to go to an indoor range. I looked some up on the Internet and found one not too far away called Shooter's World. I called them and they told me there would be an hour and a half wait because they were crowded today because of the rain.

I then called the Scottsdale gun club, quite a bit further away, but within reason. No one answered the telephone there. I tried several times but always got an answering machine even though their website says they are open til 7PM on Sundays and I was calling them between about 3 & 4. I even tried several different options from the voice menu but never got through to a real person. I decided to give it a shot anyway. I drove up that way, probably 20 or 25 miles in all and when I got there I found the place was packed. I guess I got there around 5PM or a little earlier. A customer told me there was a long wait and there were about ten people on line waiting to get in to shoot. I just looked around their shop, turned around and walked out. Outside I met one of the range employees and asked him about how long was the wait. He said at least an hour maybe 90 minutes. He also told me it was all because of the rain and that usually there is no to little wait even on weekends.

Rain - heck it sprinkled a few times today, and at other times once or twice it was a steady rain for all of 5 to 10 minutes in places I was at. It was on and off all day. If that is enough to make everyone flock to only indoor activities I am amazed, then again I suppose people out this way are really used to sunny days. They supposedly have been getting more rain than usual lately. As I said above, I certainly would have gladly gone to the outdoor range in the rain today. The rain would have assured a few things - the more realistic shooting scenario I mentioned above than only shooting when nice outside, that there would have been less people at the outdoor range and no wait like I had there last week, also that there would have been less down time between cease fires not having to wait for so many people to set up targets, and that there would have been less likelihood of their being jerks at the range. Jerks, morons, imbeciles, peckerwoods and arsehats seem to prefer nice weather at outdoor ranges. Too bad I started my day off late and that I decided to do my shopping earlier instead of later. Heck I could have gone shopping after the range as easily as before going there. Oh well, I suppose there is always next weekend.

All the best,
Glenn B

12 Gauge Slug Ammo and Walmart

I do not like shopping at Walmart but sometimes find myself therein looking for what I need. Today I did just that and I happened to come a cross a pretty good deal on something I did not expect to buy.

They had Winchester Super-X 12 gauge 2 3/4" shotgun shells going for $3.17 per box of five. I have not seen 2 3/4" 12 gauge slugs going for less than $4.00 per box in store and not below $3.77 online (that was at with a club member discount and did not include shipping). Of course I had to pay tax so it wound up being a bit more but not much. I bought a few boxes. I need to sight in my issued Remington 870. The rear sight came loose recently and while I got it back on okay and just qualified with it, I shot a few inches low at 25 yards. Could have been me, could have been the sights need adjusting. So, I'll take it to the range, probably next weekend and fire a bunch of rounds through it until it is shooting pretty much dead center.

If you are in the Phoenix area and want a good deal on those shells visit the Walmart on Bethany Home Road and about 15th Avenue; who knows all Walmarts may have them at the same price.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another Patriot Gone

Alexander Haig 1924 - 2010 he passed away today. Whether from the left or the right - this man was viewed by most as a great patriot. He served our country well with 30 years in the military and many years in various appointments in federal government in Washington, DC.

Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Junction of the Pine Creek Loop Trail...

...and the Ballantine Trail - reason enough to take up hiking. Places that look as beautiful as this, or even nicer, are why I go hiking when I get the chance. Besides that, I may lose a few pounds while at it. This shot was taken last weekend on a hike north of Phoenix. I only hiked 3 miles that day but it was awesome nonetheless. You just gotta love places that look like this - tha is as long as you have enough water with you. Mine is in my pack all the way to the left side in the photo as you look at it.

Click on the pic to enlarge.

All the best,
Glenn B

Starbucks Appreciation Day - Sunday February 21st

If you are a law abiding firearms owner within the USA, I urge you to visit your local Starbucks this coming Sunday, February 21, 2010. While there, if the counter clerk is not too busy, chat them up briefly along these lines:

'Hi how ya doing? I just wanted to let you know that American firearms owners appreciate Starbucks policy on legal carry of firearms in their stores and that is why I am spending my money here. Can I get a medium black coffee with no room please.'

You might also ask to speak to the manager if he has a moment so that you can let him know how much you appreciate Starbucks policy.

Why am I urging you to do so. Well Starbucks recently told the Brady Campaign to basically sit on a stick when the BC tried to shove a petition against firearms carry in Starbucks down the throat of Starbucks Corporate HQ. Starbucks reply was basically that they are neutral and will continue to allow people to legally carry firearms into their stores.

I also suggest sending a letter or email to Starbucks corporate to let them know you appreciate this policy. While letters and emails are great, please remember that Starbucks is a business and if you give them your business and let them know why you are spending your money there, they will take notice. So I urge you to at least spend some money there this coming Sunday and let them know why you are doing it.

I was not a regular Starbcuks customer having gone there only infrequently for a pick me upper cup of coffee but now I will shop there more frequently and I ill let them know why I am doing so.

The hat tip goes to Another Gun Blog for the heads up on this one.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, February 15, 2010

East Palo Alto, CA Detective Allegedly Advocates Shooting People...

...who are legally and openly carrying unloaded firearms or exercising their 2nd Amendment rights in California. Is that hard to believe, it was for me. That was when I read about it on a firearms forum. Then I read a news article about it.

As per the article,
Gun Rights Advocates Target California Detective Following Facebook Posts, the statements made by the detective indicate he was talking about shooting someone for that person having had exercised 2nd Amendment rights. This was all in a FaceBook posting specifically with regard to people in California legally carrying unloaded firearms in the open.

""Sounds like you had someone practicing their 2nd amendment rights last night!" Tuason wrote. "Should've pulled the AR out and prone them all out! And if one of them makes a furtive movement … 2 weeks off!!!" -- referring to the modified duty, commonly known as desk duty, that typically follows any instance in which an officer is investigated for firing his weapon."

Being an LEO, and being someone who believes in upholding our Constitution and our rights as U.S. Citizens and being an ardent supporter of our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, that got me pretty riled up. So I sent off an email to the East Palo Alto Police Department voicing my disdain regarding such hatred and bias allegedly coming from a police officer. If you value your 2nd Amendments rights, and all other rights, then I suggest you do the same.

Now, some may say that Detective Tuason was exercising his right to free speech when he allegedly wrote those words. That may be so, but as part of his employment he has no such freedom to exhibit bias and hatred toward others, and is likely not allowed to advocate what would amount to murder for someone exercising their rights under our Constitution. That should go for off duty conduct as well as on duty conduct. Masking the reason for shooting someone by saying that they should be shot because they made a furtive movement after they were ordered into the prone position by a police officer is an abhorrent statement and seems to me only to be suggestive of premeditated murder in which the officer is just waiting for some excuse to kill a law abiding gun owner. Remember, in such a situation as he allegedly described, the person would have been carrying legally and should not have been ordered to lie down in the first place simply for carrying a weapon openly. Even if that could be justified he then said the person should be shot if they made a furtive movement - mind you not a threatening movement. If this statement was actually made by the officer, not only is the statement abhorrent but it is, in my opinion, a good indication that this officer is not fit to serve because he either intends or desires to violate the law and is encouraging others to do so and that violation includes killing of a law abiding citizen. Such statements alone should be grounds for his removal from any position as a sworn law enforcement officer as I see it. I let the East Palo Alto Police Department know just that in my email to them.

If you would like to contact the East Palo Alto Police Department, you can do so via this link:

I encourage you to do so regarding the intolerable statements allegedly made by Detective Tuason.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 47 - Ben Avery Shooting Facility

After over a month and a half in Phoenix, I finally got to go out and do some shooting today. I chose an outdoor range, I would have had to have been loopy not to have done so being that it was a beautiful sunny day in the low seventies. I may as well enjoy this fine weather as much as I can while I am out here, it has not been a good winter back home - not unless you are a polar bear or something like that (or a global warming fanatic - go figure how it getting colder is proof of global warming) with all the snow and very cold temperatures this year.

The range I chose was the Ben Avery Shooting facility. It is a state run range, I think run by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and it is located just a short distance off of Interstate 17, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of downtown Phoenix.

Once I got there I made my way to the main range and then to the registration building. I paid a mere $7.00 for unlimited shooting during their business hours (open Sundays from 8-3PM in the winter months) and then asked for some targets. The lady asked me if I had been to the range before and when I said no she asked me to sit down and watch a 7 minute video that explained range protocol for this particular range. Good idea. The video was short, safety orientated, to the point and explained the particular rules for this particular range. After that I went to buy my targets but had to wait on a line of about 10 other shooters in front of me. The range was packed and more people kept coming - it really was that nice of a day. he targets i chose were bull's eye targets with a paper size of about 12x12". They were only .15 each - not bad. Once done buying them, I headed to the range and had to stop by the range masters booth to check in and be assigned a shooting point. I got number 14 - coincidence I suppose that the date was the 14th. In all the main range has 67 points. There are several other ranges - check the website for more info

Luckily a cease fire was going on when I was assigned my point. I had plenty of time to find my shooting table, get a target backer, set up and place my targets. They use a very wide target backer, I easily fit two of my targets across its face, probably could have fit three or four across, and then at least another row below that. Soon after setting up it was time to start shooting. I began with shooting my issued Sig 299 and fired exactly 87 rounds through it. That was a complete compliments of rounds in the pistol and two spare mags worth plus another box of 50 rounds.I also shot my Glock 26. I put maybe 75 to 100 rounds through it. While i was quite satisfied with how I was shooting the Sig, I was quite disappointed with the Glock. Since I got it, I have shot about 4 to 5" to the left at 15 to 20 yards consistently. This is true even when resting on support on the bench. I need to have the sights adjusted but each time I have qualified with it there was one reason or another why they could not be adjusted on those days. I qualify this week out here, and I will insist they get adjusted and that I have time and ammo enough to make sure it was done right.

I also brought along my Henry Survival Rifle but am disappointed to say I only had 16 rounds of ammo for it. I stopped at two Walmarts and at one Big Five Sporting Goods store only to find that neither Walmart had .22LR ammo at all and the Big Five only had bricks I wanted two boxes of 50 at most). I would have sworn I bought a box of a hundred rounds of .22LR when I went to the gun show here last month - but I cannot find it. As a matter of fact, I just checked my blog from back then and I noted then that I indeed bought a box of 100 rounds of CCI Standard Velocity .22LR ammo. Must be in the trunk. I shot 14 of the 16 rounds I had, two jammed for some reason and I discarded them. I did okay shooting it at 15 yards, would have definitely hit a pigeon sized game animal, maybe even a sparrow each time. For a survival rifle you would think that better accuracy would be tantamount. I do not know if it is me or the rifle but judging by how I shoot with other rifles in .22LR I figure it is this particular rifle. Not bad, just not very good. I did as well, actually much better, in group size at 15 yards with the Sig pistol. Of course it could be I need to find some ammo that the Henry really likes, time will tell.

While at the range, during the first cease fire after I had started shooting, went to my bench to grab 2 new targets. I got yelled at by a range officer. Lot of new unfamiliar rules at this range for me, and going to the bench is not allowed during ceasefires because they allow you to leave your unloaded firearms on the bench during the cease fire. That is something I am not used to from ranges at home which make you unload your firearms then rack rifles and shotguns or holster pistols when a cease fire is called. I got over it, even apologized to the range officer, and promised not to make another mistake. I kept my promise.

I have to point out that everyone who worked at the range, from the lady who took my range fee to the guy who assigned my my point to the guy who yelled at me to some other ranges officers to whom I spoke, were all very polite and helpful. They answered any questions I had, corrected me firmly but politely (he only yelled because I still had on my muffs) when I pulled that one boner, and were interested in where I was from and why I was there and so on (but were not nosy). I also had the chance to speak to a guy who was shooting an AR next to me. Nice guy, we talked about the range, shooting and ARs a bit. Brendan is in the market for one back home - he wants a Stag Model 8, so any info was appreciated. That gentleman asked me if I kept my brass and I told him feel free to scoop it up. He donates it to some organization or another.

One slightly strange thing happened though. A guy walks over to my point, just as a new shooting session had begun. I was at the bench and had just assembled my Henry Survival Rifle. He started telling me he had just bought an original Air Force survival rifle with an extra custom made heavy barrel, all for only $50 at a garage sale, and as he was doing so he kept looking at my rifle closer and closer actually bending over it so his eyes were only maybe 6 to 8 inches from the receiver and he then kind of absent mindedly pointed along the serial number as if reading it. I am pretty certain he was not just making small talk but was actually checking the serial number and trying to look nonchalant, like he was not doing what I thought he was doing. Maybe someone had a similar rifle stolen, I don't know why he was reading it but it seemed pretty obvious. Of course, it is possible my imagination is too active but it sure looked to me as if he was reading it. After that he left and I started shooting. When I went into the range building to say goodbye to the lady who took my range fee, the same guy was in there at the counter. He was very polite, even gave me some directions. Oh well...

You can bet that I will be back to this range again if I have the chance before I leave Phoenix. Hopefully I will be able to make it there a few more times. It was a fun couple of hours, especially since the folks there were so nice.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Spirits Are With Me...

...and now I must choose between them. I found a place called Total Wine and decided to give it a shot in my search for a bottle of Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey. Despite the name - Total Wine, this place was a total spirits emporium. It had just about everything a mortal soul could desire when it came to spirits, from wine to Champagne to beer to ale to cider to cordials to hard spirits of all sorts. Being in this place could be pretty trying if you went in looking for nothing in particular if only because they have such a wide variety. I sort of knew what I wanted, the Knappogue Castle and maybe an Ommegang Abbey Ale or two.

What I decided on was a bit more than that: one bottle of Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey, two bottles of Ommegang Abbey Ale, two bottles of Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weiss Bier (probably the first weiss bier I have tasted some 36 or 37 years ago) and a half case of Paulaner Hefe Weiss Bier (maybe my favorite hefe weiss bier). That should last me awhile, potentially for the remainder of my stay here since I also already had two or three bottles of wine. Now while I could easily finish it all by myself, that would be a lot of drinking to do alone, so I suppose I'll have to pass out the invites to some of my coworkers.

Right now, I am enjoying a Hacker-Pschorr Weiss Bier. Absolutely fantastic! It went well with my dinner of steak smothered in onions and shrooms along with a couple of eggs. The bier is supplying most of my carbs this evening. Mmmmm good.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Valentine's Day Card Blues

I've got the St. Valentine's Day card blues. Note I placed 'St.', aka: SAINT, before 'Valentine's' because it is actually a holy day named after a saint in the Christian religion. I am not blue because barely anyone remembers this is a day meant to celebrate a saint, I am not all that religious. I don't have the blues because I have been suckered in, for years now, by the likes of Hallmark and feel compelled to buy my sweetheart a nice card and gift for this day. I certainly am not blue because I already received a nice card from my lovely wife for this occasion. Nor am I blue because I bought a card for her last week that I then lost and did not find until today - only 2 days before the day.

I am not blue because when I got to the post office today, the one I found only because it was listed in my GPS, there was a sign in the window that tried to explain that they do not sell stamps. Now, though we are getting closer to why I am blue that is not the reason but it compels me to ask: Why have a post office if it does not sell stamps? Yet, that was not too bad. I could always find another Post Office nearby, one that did sell stamps.

So why have the blues? I am blue because this is what I saw when I walked up to the front door of the post office at which I had hoped to buy stamps today. Yes folks, I kid you not! The United States Post office located on E. McDowell Road in Phoenix, AZ had this sign, pictured to the right, in its front window. It was prominently displayed so that all could see that the U.S. Post Office is run by morons. Maybe the reason for their long standing inability to turn a profit is apparent in the wording of said notice. If they don't SALE stamps that could explain a lot. Please note that said notification is signed: McDowell Management. Can you imagine that the management of that particular branch of the Post Office approved that message for placement in the front window. I cannot.

So why be blue over bad grammar? After all, it was only one little mistake, wasn't it? I work for Uncle Sam, thankfully not for the Post Office. That sign exemplifies, for me, the fact that our government is run, in great part, by idiotic boobs. Other things like it are evident throughout the current administration, one that seems to be one based upon mistakes because of incompetent federal workers, management, appointees, and elected officials. I once had great pride in our federal government but as of late it has been shaken to the bedrock. The Post Office is a prime example of why I have lost that confidence. Branches that do not sale stamps when that is one of the main reasons for the existence of the Post Office, in which the management approves of notices with bad grammar and employees who obviously have less than good command of the English language are allowed to officially place such on display for all to see, just make me feel miserable because such is a sign of how our whole government is failing from the bottom to the top (or would that be from the top to the bottom). I also have the blues because after seeing that I decided to wait until tomorrow to send the card - maybe not a good move but I already sent my love a nice PajamaGram.

Of course, I am not a grammar expert. I make grammatical mistakes too - you surely have seen them here in my blog; I probably made a few in this post. The thing is though, if I wrote something like - with such a glaring mistake as that - in an official document, my supervisor would correct me. He also would laugh at me if I thought it would get finalized without correction. If he did not catch it and correct it then that would be a shame. It would be even worse had it been some sort of public notice we needed to post and it had been posted with the mistake included, then left that way for all to see, and left long enough for it to begin to curl at the edges. As a matter of fact, my fifth grade teacher probably would have slammed me upside my head (as they say) had I handed in a project with a grammatical error like that one. That sign is a disgrace and it is indicative of what we are becoming, or maybe what we have already become, which is a Third World Nation. That is why I have the blues and I only noticed it because of a St. Valentine's Day card that I am overdue in sending!

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wanted To Write A Fairly Long Post Tonight...

...but I went to a wine tasting in support of a group that fosters dogs needing homes and now I have a splitting headache. Maybe one of the wines did not agree with me but I only had a few small tastes. I don't know but the head is throbbing and I am not about to write much.

I will put this out though: I can tell you I enjoyed the evening - the wine tasting charity event in support of man's best friend, getting to taste a few wines, having fun playing with and petting some puppies a bit, making friends with a mutt, being surrounded by younger woman including three coworkers (guys you do not know what you are missing when you pass up and event like this - must have been 10 women to each guy that showed up - but alas I am an old married man so I could only pet the puppies) and then sitting down for a really good dinner with company that was even better (two really nice coworkers). The food was great and the company even better. I am happy I was asked if I wanted to go along.

It was a good night until now anyhow, so off for some rest for me.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, February 8, 2010

So - Representative John Murtha (D) Has Died

He passed away due to complications of gall bladder surgery, that surgery reportedly damaged his intestines, see here. I have mixed feelings. I owe the man a debt of gratitude for his service in the military during the Vietnam conflict. Then again, I despised his politics, what I believed were his repeated insulting deceits while in office and what I saw as his brazen unpatriotic rhetoric. I think his politics stank and while maybe he was the well meaning sort, he was doing us almost irreparable harm by way of his politics in my opinion. So, I mourn the fallen ex-serviceman with genuine sympathy and my condolences go his family and loved ones. Yet, at the same time, I am brought to the point of almost celebrating, with unmitigated joy, that he is out of the House of Representatives. I only find myself not doing so because his being out of politics was brought about by his tragic and untimely death and he was, after all, an ex-marine and he is owed respect for that if for nothing else.

With mixed feelings,
Glenn B

A New Gun After Phoenix or Just Wishful Thinking

I have been here in Phoenix for about a month and a half. In that time I was able to squirrel away a decent amount of cash. What with not having to spend on my ordinary expenses from out of my own pocket, being on per diem and all, I have put away about $1,200 of what I would have otherwise spent of my own money. Getting the per diem has allowed me to do that. I figure that once another 2 months goes by, if I keep going at this rate, I'll have about another $2,000 saved up for a total of about $3,200 or so. That will be a nice chunk of change. Some will go toward new flooring for the living room, some will go toward a new computer or tuition for my son, and I think the rest will have to go for something along the lines of a new rifle. maybe something I have been wanting in .308 or maybe an AK of one sort or another that is still legal in NY. I am figuring on putting aside at least a grand to $1,200 for the rifle - whatever I decide to buy.

I have had designs to get a new gun a few times in the past but my hopes were smashed on the rocks below for one reason or another. This time though, it looks as if things are on target. Even if it winds up I don't get to put that much aside for a rifle, I will almost undoubtedly have a few hundred put aside for one. That would put something like a Marlin XS7 in .308 in my sights. I would rather get an AK or maybe even a Springfield M1A1 or a Ruger Mini 30 - something along the lines of a SHTF rifle but I will settle for less if it comes to that. I suppose I am leaning toward an AK because there are parts available for them worldwide, ammo is cheap, and they are workhorse guns.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Dubliner - Phoenix

I made it up to The Dubliner tonight and surprisingly got there before The Waters, well at least before Krystal of The Waters (she was solo tonight), started playing. She does a great rendition of Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' - good for an older middle aged guy's soul. I enjoyed her singing as I enjoyed dinner which was a Pub Steak. Pretty decent food and better entertainment made for a good night.

Krystal did 4 or was it 5 songs and then opened up the mike to others (open mike night). The next couple of soloists were pretty good. One did a couple of Jethro Tull songs, the other sang 5 pretty funny songs including Hitler's bar mitzvah (and he claimed go be half Jewish). It was a good time. The 4th and final singer I stayed to listen to tried to be funny and maybe would have been had he not tried as hard. Not as much talent there as compared to the others but 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Anyhow, I went there to hear The Waters and was quite content to settle for listening to the the fiery red headed half of the duo.

I did not stay til the end, wish I had had the chance but I had to get back before the witching hour to make sure I get up early tomorrow.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Book of Eli

I decided to take in a movie earlier this evening. I walked over to the theater, maybe a mile away, and was truly looking forward to seeing The Book Of Eli. I was way too early, so I took another walk. Got back about 10 minutes early and figured I would go for it thinking the movie would not be crowded with the Superbowl being played. I was right. When the trailers for upcoming movies started I was the sole occupant of the theater. Just before the movie started there were a total of 67 people there to watch it. One or two more came in awhile later.

At 1 hour and 7 minutes into the actual movie (yeah I noted the time when it started and when i left) I got up to look for the manager. I tried,up ti;l that moment to disregard the black scratches continually across the entire screen, and the green scratches, and the flecks of dirt or dust particles too. I tried to convince myself that this was all part of the film. Well if it was part of the film it got to the point where I figured the film sucked. So I left and sought out the manager. He told me, once I mentioned the green streaks or scratches, that they meant the film itself (or whatever medium it is) was scratched. He said he would order a new one and that I was the first person to complain. I find it hard to believe that people are so accepting of low quality and annoying crap like that as to sit there and watch the whole movie all the way through without complaining to the management. Maybe, had it been an excellent movie, I would have stayed but it was mediocre to just okay at best up to the point I got to. I declined the refund and took a free pass. I want to see it all the way through once they get a better copy - he said within two days. I hope so. Even if mediocre to just okay at best, it is a sci-fi adventure and I am a sucker for them.

Oh well, off to dinner I suppose. I am thinking of a nice lamb stew if I can find it. Off to an Irish restaurant I think, as I had planned earlier.

All the best,
Glenn B