Saturday, July 31, 2010

Neighbors are...

...a good thing to have fairly nearby but sometimes can be a real pain in the neck or maybe just be someone who you see now and then and give a wave to at most. That view about neighbors came into my head after reading a blog post, Oh Won't You Be My Neighbor by Melody Byrne, over at The Anarchangel. She was talking about her family's recent move to Idaho from Scottsdale, AZ and how their new neighbors in ID differed from those in AZ when she said this:

Sure we had neighbors in Scottsdale, the kind that came with high fences and nods. We even knew a few names but we weren't really, well, friendly. Everybody had their own lives and not much in common and the entire neighborhood was transitory.

Lucky for me, for my family in fact, that we have neighbors too where we live in NY. Even luckier for us is the fact that some of our neighbors, those who live close to us in this pretty congested area, come in a wider variety than just those separated from us by fences, who are not really friendly, with not much in common, who live their own lives...

Well, when you think about it, sure all of your neighbors live their own lives, so I guess I should be rephrasing that to say: Even luckier for us is that some of our neighbors, even though having some pretty different interests than those of my family, still have some interests in common, and those interests include me and my family and they are willing to knock down the fences so to speak, as are we, to come together and enjoy one anothers' company now and again. Some of pour neighbors go even beyond that and we or they have developed some similar interests because of one another. We visit one another now and then to see how the others are doing, we invite one another over for a BBQ or dinner now and then, we chew the fat (gab about gossip - or current events - more or less), watch each others dogs sometimes if need be, collect each others' mail when one family is away on vacation, shovel snow for one another or just for those too old to do it, loan a tool or even the lawn mower now and again, babysit (though that is now a thing of the past) for one another, call the police if we see someone messing with a neighbors' home and so on. Some of our neighbors have even become our true friends - though I will admit they are few, but they are dear to us nonetheless. Some of those who are more than just run of the mill neighbors (as in people who live close by) and yet not true friends are friendly. There are some not all that friendly but we tolerate them as they tolerate us. There is even one who is becoming a real pain in the ass neck lately but we put up with that one too.

The way it works out is that my wife is more friendly with all of our neighbors than am I. I am away more since she works closer to home and gets home earlier than me, therefore sees more of the neighbors. My daughter is likewise. My son not as much so as the ladies, he is more like me. I am grumpier than my wife would ever be and I guess it can be seen by the neighbors, except for how grumpy she can be with me, and that makes it easier for her to get along with the neighbors than it is for me to do so. Still though we get along fairly well with some of them, better than I would have expected when I first moved here.

An example of getting along okay can be seen from just today. One of my neighbors and I were talking about our gardens, asking about each others' families, me finding out she was now a grandma, and so on. Next thing you know she was handing me a huge Zucchini Squash over that very same good fence that some would say makes for good neighbors. I guess on the the good things about fences is that they are not so high as to completely cut you off from your neighbors so you can reach across them with a handshake, an offering of vegetables or just with some kind words now and again. My neighbors, I am pretty lucky to have the ones I have. As for Mel and Chris Byrne and their girls, well they have moved to a place where they basically have only one set of neighbors who are close by. They are lucky too because it seems they have found some goods ones.

All the best,
Glenn B

Making Up For Lack Of Blogging Over The Past Couple Of Days... posting 4 other posts besides this one today has taken a big bite out of my day. So now I am going to get back out into the garden, take care of the tortoises, do some other chores, and then get ready to go fishing tonight.

later for you,

Ballseye's Gun Shots 80 - Safety Violations On The Firing Line - What To Do

Although I am not about to give all the details of this story, such as the name of the range, when I was there, or a better description of the shooters or of the range, and despite the fact that I changed some of the details so the range and the shooters (other than me) cannot be identified, let me assure you the substance of this story and almost all the details given below (except for those I changed as just mentioned) are true. In other words, maybe I changed it to make it appear it was an indoor range instead of an outdoor range, maybe I changed it so that there were only 3 range officers working instead of 5, maybe I changed it so all the range officer were male instead of some or all being female, maybe I changed sexes of all the shooters or some of them, maybe I changed it to a semi-auto rifle when it fact it had been a bolt action, and maybe I didn't change those things but did change others - but I did not change the substance of what happened even one tiny bit.

I found myself at a rifle/pistol range sometime with the past few months; which one it was -and exactly when it was - doesn't matter all that much. It could have been any range at anytime. I was shooting, mindful of what I was doing, concentrating on getting my shots in as good a group as I could, while shooting at a good rate of fire, doing it safely, and I was doing pretty good at it too. I had 5 or 6 magazines fully loaded, two 10 round mags and three 15 round mags. Once I had fired all 65 rounds, I placed my pistol down on the bench and I started to reload the magazines.

As I was reloading, I noticed a young lad of about12 to 14 years of age standing just two points away from me. he was holding what looked to me like a .22 rifle. He had it in his right hand and was holding it muzzle up. I looked back at what I was doing, a few second later I looked up again and saw the young allowing the rifle to slip downward in the direction it was pointing and realized it had just covered me for a moment and had also covered several other folks on the firing line. He tried to hold it muzzle up again, using only his right hand and arm and surer that smelly stuff rolls downhill he was again pointing it at me and others. I gave him a quick upward movement of both of my hands, he immediately made an awkward face but got the idea and moved the muzzle up and then held it with two hands. I went back to reloading but moved away from the direction he was facing just in case he let that muzzle come down again.

As I was reloading, I realized he was alone, at least for the moment. There was no adult with him, no one to supervise him. He was standing just behind the firing line with a weapon in his hands and had just pointed that weapon at others a couple of times that I saw and who knows how many times when no one was watching him. Almost as soon as I had thought that, an adult walks in from the outer portion of the range, where you can buy ammo and targets and stuff like that, and walks over to a point 2 away from me. He fiddles for a few seconds and call the boy over to him and tells him to start shooting. He did not ask the boy if he had his ear protection in place (he did, I could see it after looking hard to see if he was wearing ear plugs), he did not give him any instruction except to say something like 'okay come on over and start shooting', he did not tell the boy to load the weapon, he did not tell him to check the safety, he did not tell him anything else. The kid raises the rifle to his shoulder, aims, tries to take a shot and squeezes the trigger several times to no avail. Okay, it is not loaded I thought but that is when I noticed the magazine was already in the rifle. I had not noticed before but was paying more attention to the muzzle than anything else when it had pointed at me. The adult then says, and I quote: "Take it off safest".

The boy then fiddles with the rifle, apparently looking for the safety or trying to remember where it is. He finds it, switches it into the off or fire position, looks at the adult who tells him to shoot, and then aims in and starts shooting. The light bulb comes on in my head. This kid was walking around, just behind the firing line, without adult supervision, pointing a loaded weapon at other shooters. Yikes! I immediately decide to finish up the rounds I have just loaded into my mags and then to get the hell out of Dodge.

I shoot up the 65 rounds I have just loaded pretty quickly. My group opens up a bit from the others I had just shot. I suppose my stress level is up a bit what with these jokers next to me, the pucker factor always has a way of opening group size. Still, it is a respectable group and I would be happy to get one that size under real stress. Once I finished shooting up my rounds, I start to police up my point and those around me to my right where my shell casings have landed. Lucky for me the 2 guys in question are to my left. I take a better look at them. One a somewhat pudgy kid, the other a pretty fit looking adult of about 35 years or so with a sort of muscle man shirt worn for the effect, no doubt, of showing off his tattoos of which he has many. One in particular is a word in large fairly bold fancy print, it is across his forehead, of all places. Ah, I think, that word explains it all. I will not write out the word but will spell out the meaning:

a state of utter confusion or disorder or a total lack of organization

No sooner had I seen that, the young fellow had a misfire. The adult says nothing, the kid starts to turn around, rifle in hands still at his shoulder, and the rifle starts to point diagonally across the range, it almost comes to a 90 degree angle away from the target and straight down the firing line at other points and shooters. He looks at the man, then looks at the rifle, then the man takes the rifle and fiddles with it clearing the unfired round and hands it back to the child. While he took the rifle, he was standing just behind the youngster's right shoulder so the rifle, with round in chamber, is now behind the line but he still has it pointed down range basically over the kids shoulder. He hands it back to the boy who finishes shooting what was in the magazine. The boy then heads outside the shooting range, to the other room, leaving the rifle on the bench pointed downrange but with the action closed and the magazine still in place. The adult never told him to unload it and to make it safe.

At that point the adult picks up the rifle, removes the magazine, does not clear the chamber, and reloads the rifle. I think the chamber was empty when he started this but how he could have been sure, without checking, is beyond me. Could have been another misfired round in there for all he knew. Then, another younger shooter comes in and takes the boy's place. This one is at least an older teen, maybe even in her twenties. The adult has her take up a position in the firing point, tells her to pick up the rifle and tells him to shoot. The gal picks it up and tries to shoot. The adult tells her to "...take it off safest". The youth does not know what the adult is talking about or at least does not know where the safety is located. I guess she must have forgotten what this adult most assuredly must have told her when he went over gun safety and how to operate this particular rifle with the youth before ever letting her handle it. What do you think?

Well, the adult points out the safety and says something about how to take it off of safe and place it into the fire mode. The youth then raises the rifle to her shoulder and starts to fire. She fires a full magazine, I think 10 rounds, then the adult brings the target back. There is a group of about 12 inches at its widest point with about 2 or 3 flyers far from the rest of the group with no particular grouping of their own. The adult asked: "didn't you use the scope". The young gal says 'not for the first few shots, then I started to use it'. She did not even know enough to use the scope, probably did not know how to set up her eye in relation to it, yet here she was blazing away with a semi-automatic rifle. The adult says she did just great. Once again, the rifle was put back on the bench with the action closed and the magazine remaining in it. This time though the adult took the rifle from the young shooter and placed it on the bench like that himself. Then he took out the magazine, with the action still closed and started to reload the mag. Me, I walked out the door.

Are you wondering where were the range personnel while all this was going on? I was wondering just that. One was seated in the other room with a thousand yard stare on his face, cup of coffee in his hands, another was flitting around doing this, that and everything but keeping an eye on the shooters, and I think yet another was on the range talking to a curvy female shooter. He seemingly had eyes pretty much only for her. I was about to say something to the guy who was flitting around and when I started to he just flitted right by without paying attention to me. So, I walked over to the other guy with the stare out into heaven knows where and talked to him a bit to see if he was with us. He wasn't interested in anything I had to say, so I decided to get out of there pronto before I could wind up either shot or as a witness to an accidental shooting caused by negligence.

Shame on me for not being more forceful with getting the attention of either of the range guys. I guess the reason was that I was in a hurry. Yep, that is a piss poor reason for not letting them know about what was going on safety violation wise on their range; not an excuse at all. I wonder though if either of them had even a piss poor excuse for not paying attention. If I ever shoot at this place again, I will be sure to be respectful when I advise the shooter, or in the case of a child shooter then his/her adult supervisor, or when I speak to the range personnel, about what most assuredly could have easily tuned into pandemonium and I will be sure to do it. That is usually what I do - I speak up - but I suppose I was off my mark that day. I have no excuse, none at all. I am happy to report I did not hear of any accidental shooting(s) in the area that day, so I guess things turned out okay despite the lack of firearms safety on the part of those shooters.

My biggest point, in this whole rant was not just that you need to be mindful of what you are doing nor that you also have to be mindful of what others are doing while at the range but you really have to be ready to point out safety violations because your life, or another shooter's, may depend on the safety violation being brought to light. So, the most important point I could make about the whole incident I just recounted above is that I should have made sure to say something to someone about the safety violations I saw taking place. Shame on me for not making sure I got that done. I usually do it, but just like with gun safety usually is not good enough, it is an every time kind of a thing. So if you see (a) blatant safety violation(s), you should let a range officer know immediately, that is once you have made your own firearm safe and you can safely tell them. You also can tell the shooter too but beware - sometimes the other shooter will just react as if some asshole pushy person just tried to tell him, the expert of experts, how to shoot properly. Sometimes that gets the other shooter pretty mad and remember - he has a gun with him so be tactful if you do speak to the shooter himself. Maybe even wait for a cease fire, if they are called at the range where you are shooting, so he is not holding or near a loaded gun when you tell him. (If you are going to talk to a shooter and let him know about a potential safety violation or give any type of shooting hint, I do not recommend talking to young shooters directly, instead I would talk to the adult who should be supervising them.)

Again, for me not to have told the range officers, or the adult supervising these kids, about what I saw as safety violations, was inexcusable under the circumstances. I will not let it happen again, neither should you let it happen if you see a safety violation at the range.

All the best,
Glenn B

OBAMOPOLY - You Can Only Win By Voting Right

I got this in an email today with no credit given. I see though there is a website shown on the right of the center portion of the board and if you go to that site or just click below, you can see the original post about this piece of very fine political satire:

I guess I now have yet another blog to which I absolutely must supply a link. You have got to visit the site and be amazed at some of the stuff there. Great political satire and a great political message for those of us who still love America and the principles upon which this country was founded. I did not think of it, I did not design it, I just enjoyed it and got a big laugh out of it when I saw it and am now sharing it with you. Sometimes the things that seem closest to the truth can give you a good belly laugh even though that apparent truth is scary. Hopefully, when you click on the image, it will enlarge enough for you to be able to read everything on the game board.

The only thing missing, as far as I see it, is that Park Place and Boardwalk maybe should have been something to the effect of: November 2010 elections Move To The Right November 2012 Election Republican Landslide. That way at least someone who is on the right could have had a chance when playing it but of course if it stays the way it is in the game as in real life, I think we all lose. Bear in mind that in real life, the only way America will have a chance is if we beat the tar out of the libs this fall and in 2012. As for the game board, I suppose it is funny/truthful just as it appears and it certainly is one fine piece of work at that!

All the best,
Glenn B

New Blog Added To Blog Roll

I added a new blog to my blog roll, under Other Bloggers of Note, to the right. This is great political stuff/satire. It should make you laugh no matter what side you are on when it comes to politics, that is if you have a sense of humor.

The blog is:
America Es Un Obamanation

The address is:

All the best,

Goin' Fishing Again...

...or so I can only hope. The plan, made with the one and only male heir, was to go out this afternoon on a half day boat out of Point Lookout. Of course, plans change and I suppose that hangovers (or maybe just very late nights) will have something to do with messing up the best of plans. As it turned out, I was sound asleep at about 0315 this morning when the side door opened and awakened me. It was my son, who upon entering the house said 'oh shit' and proceeded inside. Don't know what the expletive was all about but that and the hour of his arrival at the old homestead kind of made me think he would not be getting up early enough to go fishing this afternoon. Sure as clockwork, when I knocked on his door at about 10 this morning and asked if he still wanted to go fishing, he said "I'm still sleeping'. I left it at that.

There is a night boat going out, the Captain Al, at 7 tonight. I will most likely be on it as I was last weekend. As for Brendan being on it, well maybe and maybe not. He will probably want to hang out with friends tonight but I am going to do my best into getting him to tag along with me on the fishing trip. If all else fails, I'll try to shame him into it because he slept through our planned trip this afternoon. Yes it is just afternoon as I type, and he is sound asleep! A little humility will do him good, the fishing trip will do him better and a good fishing buddy going along with me will be the best of all. Hopefully we will actually catch some bluefish as opposed to last weekend when all I caught was just about everything but a blue.

Wish me luck, not only with fishing, but with having my best buddy of a fishing partner come along for the trip.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 79 - Long Island Shooting Center

On Sunday, I stopped by the Long Island Shooting Center, a place I had not been to probably in a couple to a few years. The LI SC is split into two sections, one being a gun store and the other a range. Only the range was open when I arrived and it would close in about an hour. More than enough time to send some lead downrange and have some fun while getting in some practice. The man behind the counter greeted me pleasantly, checked my ID, asked what I was shooting, then really checked my ID because I had replied "pistol", then told me it would be $11.00 for an hour. I paid up told him I did not need targets or ammo when he asked and then headed to the firing line after he told me to take any open point. I donned my earmuffs and walked into the firing range.

Once on the actual range, I picked a spot and started to set up. It was then I decided to go back out and grab some life sized targets. I had smaller targets and with this ranges fairly high target holders I thought I might put one or three into the ceiling. I realized the cables all had good sized bellies, so to speak, and my target would have been much lower half the distance out, but still at close range they would have been pretty high so the longer targets were the better bet. Then back inside and I was soon blazing away with my Glock 26. (I will admit I goofed when I also grabbed 2 of my Berettas at home but forgot to grab the key set for their cable locks, so it was just what was on my hip for shooting that day.)

When you first enter the range side of the LISC, you may think you walked into a restaurant. It has a counter with several swivel stools and apparently used to be a restaurant of some sorts. behind the counter, today though, you will find a wide assortment of targets, ammunition, and firearms accessories and supplies. The LISC range has several points, I am going to guess 15 to 20. Each has electronically operated target carriers and the range is 50 feet long. About 5 or so of the points had what looked like a pile of railroad ties stacked up down range. I am guessing this is how this range allows something larger than pistol calibers or 22long rifle ammo on some points. While there is usually not much point to shooting large caliber rifles at that close a distance, sometimes you have no to little choice of open ranges in the area, after all this is New York, and you have to shoot where you can. Each point also has lighting within each booth, supposedly one the shooter could dim, but all I could do was turn mine on and off. The downrange portion of the range is fairly well lit. The target carrier control worked well and amounted to a toggle switch for sending the target downrange or bringing it back to the shooter. The range was clean and seemingly well ventilated.

I shot about 250 rounds of various types of 9mm ammo through the Glock. I did well but was having some problems in that the Glock repeatedly failed to feed after about the first 100 rounds. Out of 250 rounds, I would estimate, there were at least 10 failures to feed in the last 150 rounds. A good cleaning is in order and so is a check of the magazines. Shame on me if it was just due to a dirty pistol but that usually is the likely culprit in such cases. I would have sworn I cleaned it right after shooting it last but I may have forgotten to do so. Last time out I shot many more rounds through it than this time, I think around 400 to 500. So with another 100, where the problem started this time, that would have made for one dirty gun and could explain the failures to feed. Never had the problem before. So I will clean it, shoot it, see if it happens again. If not - problem solved. If yes - back to trouble shooting until it is problem solved.

Regardless of the problem with failures to feed, I had a good time. The range personnel were pleasant, the range was clean, it was not to expensive for this area, and it is convenient for me to go to whenever I visit my mom who lives about 10 minutes from the range. I think a few near future return trips are called for and hopefully I will make it there when the gun store half is also open.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Tasty Fish...

...was that American Eel when cooked on my BBQ grill under the silvery light of the full moon shining through the cloud cover. I just cooked it right after posting my previous post. It took me the better part of 45 minutes, maybe a bit longer at medium heat, to get it to where it was just starting to become fairly tender. It started to become white and somewhat flaky as cooked white colored fish should by that time, probably could have cooked a couple of minutes more but I was anxious to taste it. It actually had turned white within about 5 to 10 minutes but took much longer until it was tender/flaky enough to consider done and was just much too chewy before 45 minutes. I don't know if that is just because it was an eel or because it was as old as it must have been, to be as big as it was, but that was one slow cooking fish. It was worth the wait and I enjoyed the company of 2 St. Pauli Girls along the way. By the way, nothing like smoked eel at all as far as I remember but still quite delicious.

Maybe it was the anticipation of tasting it, maybe it was the 2 St. Pauli Girls, or maybe it was because I cooked it under the glow of a full moon but I have to say that was one fine tasting fish when grilled. Of course, it should have been tasty since I caught, cleaned (taking care to remove the red oily meat near the spine) and took my time grilling it.

All the best,

Glenn B

Gone Fishing... long last. This weekend, I finally made my first trip of the year out to sea to be bathed in the briny spray and glow of the almost full moon as the bow of our small but worthy fishing boat slammed hard against the waves. We party boat fishermen (and woman and kids) were probably only moving at about 25 knots but, for me at least, it was exhilarating if for no other reason than I should would be dropping a line, complete with baited hook and small sinker, and would be fishing for monster bluefish. Within about an hour of getting under way, The Captain Al, of Point Lookout, NY, had set its anchors and the 29 fares aboard eagerly wet their lines for the first time that night. Then each of us waited with great anticipation for the words: "Fish on!" but those words were long in coming at least true to their meaning. One joker, after about 5 minutes of fishing spoke them loudly and had mate come running, armed with gaff hook and net only to be disappointed because he had only been explaining to his girlfriend what she should say if she hooked one.

Not long afterward, as fate would have, the bigmouth was the first one to catch a fish. He made it look as if he was pulling in a monster bluefish, at least a 10 pounder anyhow, but when fish and surface finally met, all who were watching readily saw it was nothing more than a skate that at best weighed a pound. He was rigged for bottom fishing and I was rigged for drift fish with just a light split shot sinker so as to let the current drift my bait. The other fares aboard our boat were split about 50/50 for bottom or drift fishing; this was done to see where the blues would be biting. After a short while longer, the boats horn tooted, the captain yelled reel em in, and the anchors were hauled in. Then we moved onto another spot.

We fished at the second spot, again with no blues biting. The only fish coming up were small skates, small dogfish, and a small fluke or two. We fished on, or I should say most of us did. The others who had stopped fishing had done so not out of boredom or loss of hope but rather because they couldn't take the sideways rocking of the boat. We were anchored so that the waves were coming at the side of the boat and that made for some uncomfortable rocking side to side even though the waves were probably only 3 feet at most. I fished. After about another half hour or so, I hooked what I thought was a good sized fish but was pretty sure it was not a bluefish. It was pulling hard but not running and fought more like a shark than a bluefish because it went straight down when it did gain some line. Every now and again it shook violently and pulled straight down hard, once or twice gaining some line but never really running fast and long. Nope not a blue, I was convinced. I lifted the rod tip, reeled in, and lowered it still reeling. Repeated over and over, sometimes gaining not an inch of line because, even though it was not running, it was as if reeling accomplished nothing because the drag was allowing out as much line as I was reeling in over the long haul. The captain yelled at me to slow it down and let it tire itself out, he too thought it was a good sized fish. This went on for a good 5 to 7 minutes maybe more. I thought I had a good sized dogfish. Then, after a bit more fighting it, there it was and guys along the rail were yelling out "doormat fluke". I was guessing it had not been a fluke but a doormat fluke, I thought "GREAT"! It wasn't a fluke although I wished it had been one, then again maybe it was a fluke of sorts if you consider a fluke being an oddball. When it was up just under the surface, I saw what it was and so did the captain who had been coaching me from the upper deck. It was another skate, or as Captain Al called this one - "...a barn door skate". For a skate in these parts it was huge; my guess is that it weighed in at about 4 to 5 pounds, it was approximately 20-22 inches long (snout to tail tip) and at least 3/4 as wide from fin tip to fin tip and it was one fat fish for a skate. In fact it was so fat as to have at first made me think it was a female that was gravid but this one had the long clasper fins of a male. I have never seen one that big before and I probably have discovered why at this website about the Little Skate:

As per the information found therein, you can see that the maximum size of the Little Skate, is about 21 inches long and mine was maybe an inch longer. I am good at guesstimating length when fishing and in addition there was black tape on the rails to measure fluke. It was darned close to the measurement between those pieces of black tape which was the minimum length for a fluke - 22 inches. Now, after seeing the maximum size of about 21 inches, I wish I had measured it with a tape measure and not just held it up close to the black pieces of tape on the rail. I also wish I had taken a picture of it. Who knows, it may have been the record Little Skate for NY State waters! The fish went back into the deep but not before leaving its mark on me. I knew enough not to grasp its tail to pick it up, they have nasty short spines all along the tail, so I tried lifting it by grasping it near the head across the back. Ouch, I was stuck by a few of those same spines there along the back. I bled freely out of those tiny puncture wounds for about 15 minutes. Not much but it just kept bleeding. A mate tried getting it overboard for me and he too was jabbed. I suggested grabbing it with a rag in his hand, surprised he had not tried that once he saw me get poked, and he then did just that. He was surprised by the skates heft and commented on it saying it was the biggest one he had ever seen. As for the fish, it was back where it belonged, in the deep. I kind of had thought it a garbage fish, though fun to catch because they do put up a fight and always seem larger while reeling them in than they are when in hand. This one was a surprise in that it was pretty big after all. Well, it will live to swim another day and maybe will be caught by some young kid who will then feel like a great fisherman should with his monster fish on the deck at his feet. Hopefully his dad, or even he, will know enough to throw it back for another day's catch.

Finally I was again back in tune with what was going on for the rest of the fares. Not much had been coming up. We fished on, no one catching a bluefish and not many catching anything but a small skate or dogfish now and again. Time ticked on and the boat's horn again tooted - we all reeled in and headed to another spot. As we got ton the next spot, the mate rigged me for some bottom fishing. He said all I was likely to get was an eel or a skate or dogfish; I was hoping for some Ling - a great tasting fish that sort of resembles a codfish but is smaller. Again we fished and fished, and the waves rolled and so did the boat. A young fellow of about 20 came over to my left side and I thought he was about to drop a line but he was set on dropping something else. Over the side went what looked like a bucket full of chum but this was not made up of fish heads and gut from out cut mackerel bait. This was whatever it had been that the young man had last eaten. Again and again the boat heaved port to starboard and again and again he heaved over the rail. I don't know why the captain insisted anchoring the boat so the waves came at us from the side but that is what he did and those with a less than forgiving sense of balance paid for it.

We must have been at that spot for a good 45 minutes when, after the young lad had laid out a good chum slick of sorts for me, I hooked what again felt like a big fish. This was a lot different from the skate I had hooked earlier but again I did not think it a bluefish though this one's fight was somewhat more similar by nature to that of a blue than to that of a skate. It took some line in a few short runs, it was powerful and thrashed then ran again. It bent the rod over and I was using a fairly strong rod - one good for those heavy monster blues. This one though came up a bit quicker than did the skate, probably due to its body shape not creating as much drag in the water as does a skate's when a skate cups itself against the resistance of the water when being reeled up toward the surface. When it was near the top it was easy to tell what was this one, it was an American Eel. Again I had gotten a big one. The average length of the American Eel is about 2 to 3 feet. Mine was right about 4 feet long. That is pretty big though females can reach 5 feet in length. Again, we did not measure it and my camera was in my tackle box in a plastic bag but this one I brought home for the table. I cut it up and have it in my fridge. The widest piece of that eel, cut up, is as big around as my mid-forearm at just about 9 - 10 inches around. If the fish still was intact, with its guts inside of it, it would probably have been around 11 - 12 inches around at the widest point of its girth. The world record for the American Eel is said to be about 9.25 pounds. Mine was not near that, I am guessing though it weighed in at about 5 to 7 pounds. Not the biggest eel I have ever caught, I caught some eels off of San Felipe in the Gulf of Cortez, about 28 years ago, that were between 6 and 7 feet long and that had huge teeth. I suppose they were some type of Moray Eels but this was, by far, the largest American Eel that I ever caught. American Eels are actually fresh water fish. They live in rivers and lakes with river outlets that flow to the sea. They come into the Atlantic Ocean and migrate to the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda to breed, I think in October or there about. Some also remain in coastal areas in brackish waters. While it is reported that American Eels die right after breeding, my guess is this one lived through several breeding seasons to have attained its size. I can only guess how much heavier it would have been had it been full of eggs, it was obviously a female judging by its innards when I gutted it. Ovaries look like ovaries in all of the fish in which I have seen them. The ones in this eel were just longer than most, sort of like a snakes in proportion. It was nice fish and I am hopeful one that big will be tasty to my liking. I have not eaten eel for probably over 30 years and am looking forward to cooking this one on the grill.

After that, we continued fishing at the same spot and more eels and dogfish came aboard. I soon hooked a small dogfish myself. Dogfish are members of the shark family but they have tiny teeth not the type which you need to be afraid of taking a big sized chunk out of your hide although I would not stick my finger in ones mouth. Soon after that we moved on again. At the last spot we fished and fished and not one bluefish came aboard. I hooked one last fish, this one nibbling then taking the bait hard. It did not run, did not feel heavy and did not put up too much of a fight. When I got it up tom the top I saw it was a fluke, about 18 inches long and too small to keep legally. I lifted its head out of the water and brought the fish over the rail, all the time expecting it to spit out the hook as they usually do once their heads are above the surface. That is why you usually keep their heads under water and have the mates net them for you when they are of keeper size. I was hoping this one would spit the hook and save me the trouble of getting the hook out but it was not to be. This one had swallowed the hook. The mate got it out for me and over the rail went the fluke to be caught another day. We fished a bit more and all too soon the boats horn tooted 4 or 5 times signaling the end of the night as far as fishing went. Soon after, we were headed back tot he dock in Point lookout - not one bluefish aboard and therefore the mates getting to keep any money that was in the pool for the biggest fish. good for them because with absolutely no fish being gutted, cleaned and filleted they would not be getting much in the way of tips. As we got off the boat, I gave a tip to the mate who had helped me out, regardless of me not having caught one bluefish. I can tell you, going bluefish fishing on this boat and getting skunked is a rarity. Hopefully next trip out will be better but I had fun on this one and have a few pounds of cleaned eel to cook up.

All the best,
Glenn B


Saturday, July 24, 2010

MSM Premium Customer Service

2 weeks ago, I sent MSN Premium customer service an email because I kept getting a message that my account had been deleted and with it all of my emails. I also wound up making several phone calls to both Verizon who is my service provider and with whose service the MSN Premium was packaged and to MSN directly. I got the problem fixed but it took most of a day and sometime into the next day.

Today I received the first reply to my email about the problem, the email I sent to MSN 2 weeks and 2 days ago. Can you imagine that, having a problem with your email account and your service provider taking 2 weeks and 3 days to reply to you. Maybe MSN Premium should be renamed, maybe something like MSN Sucks would be more apropos.

All the best,

Ballseye's Gun Shots 78 - "Now, You Don't Jerk The Trigger..."

" just squeeze it a little might."

That my friends is some pretty good advice because in essence it tells you all about trigger control and if you really pay attention to it you won't make some of the common mistakes associated with getting a shot off.

If you know anything about shooting such as what finger you use to operate the trigger - and even a novice shooter usually realizes that it is the index finger that operates the trigger - that statement will have you well on your way to becoming a good shot. One of the common mistakes among new and even some seasoned shooters is that they think that squeezing the trigger means that they are supposed to use their whole hand to squeeze it. In other words, they think they are supposed to be squeezing not only the trigger but also the whole grip, sort of like squeezing a lemon to get some juice out of it or like squeezing some one's hand when you shake it and want them to realize you have a strong grip. First of all, that statement tells you that all you are squeezing is the trigger. So, while you should have a firm grasp of the pistol grip, the only motion that you consciously, or try to, carry out to operate the trigger should be the pulling back or squeezing of the trigger with your index finger on you strong side or shooting hand, the other hand being used for support if 2 handed shooting or not used at all (to support the gun) if shooting with one hand.

There is another thing, in that sentence, that is also very important. It tells you not to jerk the trigger, but that " just squeeze it little might". In other words, its not like you are trying to crush a beer can in your grip as a show of strength, gouge out someone's eyeball, nor trying to pull your dog back on its leash if it lunges at someone, or to pull open a stuck door with all your might. What it is, is just a smooth continuous squeeze of the trigger, with your trigger finger, until the pistol goes off. (Of course this can also apply to rifle shooting which is the context in which the quoted sentence was originally used.)

Some will tell you that trigger squeeze is a bad term because it makes people think of doing something like squeezing a lemon. They prefer to use the term pull, but as I showed above that could be misconstrued as well. Then again, so too could just about any term that you use. What needs to be taught and what needs to be learned it what is meant by the term trigger squeeze. For an instructor to tell a student shooter that you squeeze the trigger, with giving an explanation of what is meant by 'squeezing the trigger' simply has too much a a chance to wind up with the shooter misunderstanding what s required for good trigger control.

One person, Robert Osborne, described trigger squeeze as this:

"Trigger squeeze is the independent rearward movement of the trigger finger without disturbance of the sight alignment until the weapon fires."

I agree with almost everything he said except that trigger squeeze is not an independent movement but I do not fault Mr. Osborne for saying it. That he meant what I meant above is obvious to me. While Mr. Osborne was trying to convey what I just described above regarding the whole thing about consciously only squeezing the trigger with the index finger and not squeezing like you are juicing a lemon or shaking a hand, the truth is, that when you squeeze back with your index finger as I have just described there is also movement of all of the other fingers on your hand - a reaction to the movement of the muscles and tendons and ligaments required to move the index finger. Albeit that movement is basically involuntary and slight, it happens because of the movement of your index finger. It would probably take years to overcome that movement if possible at all to completely overcome it; it is simply a natural effect of curling back your index finger. The important thing though is not to squeeze with all of your fingers and the rest of the hand - you are making a conscious effort to squeeze back using only the index finger while maintaining a firm steady hold of the grip. When you make that effort you will get it right and, for all practical purposes, all you will be doing is squeezing back with your index or trigger finger while maintaining a firm hold of the grip - the involuntary movement of the other fingers and rest of the hand will be, at most, nominal in effect.

In essence, everything I wrote above was said in that one simple sentence. I heard it while watching an old western - Return of the Bad Men. It was uttered by the character played by George 'Gabby' Hayes, who was giving a brief shooting lesson to a young man under his tutelage. That movie and the quote were made in 1948. It was good sense back then and good sense today. By the way, the above pic is one of Gabby Hayes and Roy Rogers. There are better pics of Gabby Hayes but maybe none that look so much as if he may be perplexed while trying to teach someone trigger control - and that someone being Roy Rogers makes that shot priceless.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Dinosaur Goes Extinct...

...or should I just say another of my co-workers, Pete P. is retiring. He will be gone in early August and he will be missed. Nice guy, one of the nicer ones I have worked with, always a gentleman and all that.

Seeing other dinosaurs people going one after another sure has me wondering (has a lot of people wondering) why it is that I have not become extinct retired yet. I became eligible in the Fall of 2005. Wow, it's been almost 5 years already - hard to believe that I have hung on so long. Why hard to believe? I guess because the job and I are not both what we once were years ago. I, of course, was younger, had more energy, and liked what I was doing. The job was a good one, law enforcement of laws that I believed mattered and still do, it had its rewards for good work, and I had a lot of exciting and oft times adventurous work to do. Since 9/11 things changed big-time. Customs and Immigration were taken out of Treasury and DOJ respectively, combined and put under Homeland Security and that was it, in my personal opinion, for an interesting job as far as things went for me and most of the people with whom I work. The feeling of doing something worthwhile is not there, at least for me and apparently for quite a few others. The agency seems, as I see it, to have little to no direction but exudes a lot of hot air like rhetoric about its accomplishments. Yeah, some good is done, but much of the job is so muddled by ludicrous politics as to make it impossible to enforce, with effectiveness, virtually any of the immigration laws and some of the customs laws. I still like to work but not at pointless paperwork or mindless repetitive things or at things for which I have virtually no training and there has been a lot of that type of work over the past 7 plus years. I guess that is why, when I have the opportunity, I often volunteer for temporary assignments lasting up to a few months. They get me out of the daily grind in my office, out into the field on investigative work, and remind me of better days. That is true eve when the assignment is not the best. The daily routine in my home office, for me, is almost enough to make me walk out the door right now. I do not do it though because there is something about the job, law enforcement and service to the people, and upholding our Constitution that runs deep through my soul that even overrides the desire to quit when faced with having to do work that I find somewhat less than what I had hoped it would be at this point in my career. Still though I do the job to the best of my ability and find it hard to leave. It seems to be the hardest thing I have ever done or have attempted to do is to make a decision about when to retire. Sometime, relatively soon though, is when I will leave it all behind. I have to go by the Fall of 2012 and will probably go by next summer or December 2011 at the latest. Until then, I will make the best of my current duties and will do my job to the best of my ability - I mean what else could I do. I will stick around and do my job just like others have stuck around and have done theirs despite the fact they or I could have left sooner. I guess it has something to do with indecisiveness and also something to do with loyalty and not wanting to give up what we believe is service to our country and her people, and I am sure that is what Pete P. has been thinking as have countless of other loyal American civil servants. I would hope so for the other guys but I know it is true for Pete P. He is a good man! He will be missed and work will be a harder place to tolerate with him gone.

All the best,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is A Democrat Undercover Mole Destroying The Republican National Committee and Republican Party Too?

Read the article, RNC Treasurer Accuses Steele of Hiding GOP's $7 Million Debt, then think about other allegations made against Michael Steele lately along with his own recent statements and then you tell me what you think. Me, I think he is an undercover Democrat working to destroy the Republican Party and that he is doing one heck of a good job at it. Of course, he is gettying plenty of help from other Republican National Committee and Republican Party members because he has not been fired yet.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Write Like

I write like
Ernest Hemingway

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Four different authors based on four different things about which I wrote, over the course of the past week, but the Cory guy came up for a few of my other pieces too. What does it all mean, probably little to nothing. I hope that is really does mean nothing because I also input the signature line I use in my emails and on many forums, this is what came up:

I write like
Oscar Wilde

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

He may have been a great writer but I, for one, do not care to emulate him for traits of his other than his writing style

All the best,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vina Fay Wray - They Don't Make Em Like They Used To When It Twas Beauty Killed The Beast

I was just watching one of the best movies of all times, at least as I see it, and also was just watching one of the most beautiful of women to ever grace the silver screen. Wow, Fay Wray (born Vina Fay Wray) was a knockout even if she wore a blond wig in the movie King Kong.

They just do not make actresses or movies like that anymore, nor do they have death scenes in which actors have ever hammed it up more than did the clay/rubber or whatever figure was King Kong. His last few moments atop the Empire State Building are a death scene extraordinaire but then again why wouldn't it be because he was losing beauty, and man was she ever so beautiful! She was not a bad actress either, pretty good in King Kong and one or three other movies in which I have seen her.

By the way, my bet is that if you only know her from the movie King Kong, you might have been surprised by this picture of her showing her natural dark hair. As I said above, she wore a blond wig for King Kong but I have to point out she was a bombshell either way. Not a bad looking set of legs either, but I will let you search out those pics, or just watch her in King Kong.

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Gun Shots 77 - Police Officer Shoots Hostage Taker - Video and My Comments

Watch the video if you will but please bear in mind it contains graphic real life violence resulting in an apparent death. It is several minutes long but well worth it to watch the whole thing if you are interested in firearms tactics; then you can read my comments which may or may not be as worth while as was the video. After watching and reading, feel free to leave comments.

It is pretty obvious they meant to shoot this guy, maybe to kill him. This was in China not the USA and that is reason enough to believe that they intended to kill him just as the bad guy said he believed they were going to do but maybe not to execute him as some may believe. I think shooting to kill is acceptable there as opposed to shooting to stop, but the officer almost certainly is not trying to make sure she kills him from what I can tell. The woman officer, takes 1 shot that drops him. She then fires a few more times and some have questioned why.

Before I address that let me point out she starts to do something before that. She starts to take cover as she apparently continues to assess the situation with her pistol slightly raised not pointing at the bad guy (as if she had not predetermined to kill him by taking several shots). She moves to her left toward the frame of the storefront opening. Then she seems to alert and she fires again and again and again. My guess is not that she thought the guy was no longer a threat and fired anyway. My guess is that, at the point she alerts and again moves forward firing, she has just seen him as still being a threat. Of course, that is my guess but based on what is seen in careful review of her actions in the video. As for all of the follow-up shots, some or all may have been necessary, at least in the mind of the officer, and after all whose mindset matters at the time! If the guy moved, if she thought he moved, if the body moved because the hostage was now breaking free and trying to run thus causing it to move, if the body twitched in its death thrall, if it was a hallucination on the part of the officer, if it was a perceived threat (and mind you all threats at this point potentially would be life threatening because the guy had already stabbed his victim several times and committed whatever crime it was for which they were hunting him down [yes I am assuming he committed another crime and it was not big brother looking to exterminate him]), then she was justified to shoot. If, on the other hand, there was no perceived threat, then she should not have shot (under our way of doing it) and that was just as it was even if only momentarily after the first shot, she held off for a moment, seemed to assess and alert and shoot again a few times. So it seems she was not intent on making sure he was dead when she first shot but more so that he was not a threat When she perceived further threat, or so it seems, then as I said, she alerted and fired again. Note, by the 4th shot, it seems apparent the guy is not moving, you can see that on the video but that does not mean that she did not perceive a threat nor that she was not justified in shooting. A good shooting is based not only on the reality of the situation but on the mind set of the officer and all things considered from that mindset and what we believe to be the mind set of a reasonable person (who would have the same or similar training as did the officer) in the same situation (then again that is here and not in China or wherever this took place).

I have to point out a few other things about the woman officer. She has her hair in a ponytail. She approaches holding a purse or grip (loses it somewhere along the way by the time she gives him the coke). The purse is in her right hand (most people are right handed, as is she, and this has an effect of lessening her as a perceived threat). More on the purse in a little bit as I believe it has a lot more significance. She never identifies herself as police. She wears nothing to make her look like an officer, nothing to make her look alarming, only things to make her look as if she had been out for a stroll and is now wanting to help. Well, that is except for the fact that it appears she is printing (you can see the outline of her pistol a bit or so it looks to me). She even has a scarf around her neck and otherwise is dressed in all white (a very neutral color that does not usually provoke anyone and is probably still worn by doctors in China - helpful life saving doctors).

Most of this, in my estimation, is all a deliberate effort to make it look as if she is a bystander and to get her in there to be able to neutralize the threat at close range. There was ample time to get her there from when this all started (and it started before the filming you can bet on that) so she could prepare. I do not think she was there to tackle the subject if that had been possible, nor to grab the girl and run had that been possible. Nor was she there to negotiate which is obvious because she did not even try to negotiate. I think that is one of the telling keys as to what was her predetermined purpose in this. I think she was there for one purpose only - a close in shot (my bet is that she is ranked as an expert marksman). Of course, there were also other officers ready to rumble as can be seen in the video, who had taken up positions along the barricade but they were there, in my view, not only for back-up but as a distraction away from the woman more than anything else. The guy keeps looking at them - even tells them twice to get back as he points to them to his right, then turns to his left and does likewise (I guess they were also on that side and he knew it). (see the shorter version of the video with English subtitles I link to below.)

As for the other police on the scene, the male negotiator in all black (he is in all black and she in all white - do you think that a coincidence - maybe - maybe not), and the female officer, they did a good job of keeping him interested in other things so he would not notice what else was going on, such as the other officers taking up positions. They even went from water to coke (or other soda) as an offering - probably much more appealing by that time than mere water. They kept him so preoccupied so as to not even see it when the female officer uncovered her firearm, and had it uncovered for several seconds (about 8 to 9 seconds) prior to her actually drawing it.

Remember what I said she did (though we did not see it and how I wish we had seen it) apparently shortly before the scene with the coke and thus shortly before she draws and shoots. She at some point got rid of the purse from her right hand. Of course it would stand to reason she wanted her hands free, or at least her right hand free, but had the bad guy been paying attention maybe he should have been alerted. I am willing to bet that others were alerted when she got rid of the purse and this leads up to why I would like to have seen her do it. I would have wanted to see her do it, to see if I could see the reaction of those officers waiting in the background along the barrier fence or of the hostage negotiator. When she dropped the purse or put it down or whatever, did those officers tense? Was her giving up the purse, as I believe it must have been, her signal to other officers that she was about to take action? My bet is that her getting rid of the purse meant she was about to take action. Luckily the bad guy did not realize it and luckily he did not see her uncover her pistol which by the way seemed pretty tricky for her to get a grip on.

If you want to see the video (shortened version) in a version subtitled in English, go to the below link but please read the rest of what I have written first.

Pay attention to what the reporter asks her and says to her to her at the end, and maybe you will understand her laughter after having shot and killed someone. (And note that a reporter should never have been allowed that close to her, she should have been getting support from fellow officers and medical personnel but she was ignored because, sadly, that probably had not been planned for though it should have been planned). Nervous, you can bet if not nervous when taking the shot (and she probably was not nervous as she was determined at that point), her nerves were taking a beating from all of it by the point that she was asked that question. Adrenalin high point over, starting to come down a little, nerves begin to take on the negative effects of the adrenalin because we are not using it efficiently any longer, we get nervous, we laugh to ward it off, we feel good we did good (as the other guys tells her - she was awesome), then we often either become elated or slump into depression or both because they are natural reactions to killing one of our own because we survived and he did not - we won. Still he was one of our own so to speak and it effects how we process and handle that info psychologically. Hopefully, if this was indeed simply the shooting of a very bad man, then she will be well in the long run. Hopefully it was not a scene that unfolded because a political dissident was being hunted down because he disagreed with the government, believed they were going to kill him, and then took desperate action to try to survive.

Just all stuff to think about. I have one other thing to think about, who gave her back the purse, she has it at the end again. That person should have at the least kept paying attention to her and not have left her alone. He should have guided her to medical personnel because no matter how it may seem she needed medical and psychological attention immediately. Only a reporter paid her any mind - a cop standing right there looked at her and turned away. The reporter asked questions just like they would here in the USA, a question that seemed harmless but which upon answering the officer could have hung herself. Here, they would try to crucify you if you were the officer and laughed like that even though the laugh was almost assuredly a psychological protective reaction to the stress of it all and a reaction to the reporters question. Note her answer, ‘I don‘t know‘, was a good one. Then she did another good thing, she turned away and shut up.

One final note: I reviewed the videos several times. At the time she shot, her pistol was aimed at the subject and not at a 30-40 degree angle above him as someone, on a firearms' forum I visit, said it was when you saw the smoke coming out of the barrel. Try to remember that the smoke, the great majority of it, exits the barrel after the bullet and while recoil is already occurring. Sound that we hear is only after the bullet exits. If you stop the video over and over again at the time you hear the shot, you can take a straight edge and run it from the pistol to the bad guy. You will see, it is aimed (even if only by point shooting) on level with her target. Yes he fell, after she shot him.

All the best,
Glenn B

Gone Fishing Again...

...and the boat, for the 7AM trip this morning, was so full already at 6:35 when I got there, that I decided to turn around and head home. Usually, I would be there earlier but as luck would have it I had a pretty sound sleep last night and my body and soul, both being so unused to that, did not want to wake up this morning. I awakened at 6:04 though and got going right away, I was out of the house by 6:08. With absolutely no traffic to speak of the ride went quickly and I got there by 6:35. The boat was already packed with fishermen - or people who imagine they are fishermen anyway. Had I gotten there earlier I could have easily found a spot on the rail in the stern, my preference - but not today since I was so late. Something good came of being late though in that I decided this was not the day for me to go fishing. There is just something about standing crammed shoulder to shoulder with 40 or 50 other fishermen that is just not conducive to a fun or productive day of fishing especially when the fish start biting and the lines start tangling or the hooks start snagging. So I'll take a pass until I can go on a weekday or take a night trip - both of which will probably be less crowded. If I am going to spend $50 or $60 for a day of fishing, I may as well enjoy my day. Today, I'll find another way to enjoy it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gone Fishing...

...or so the sign should have read. I got my salt water gear ready late this afternoon. Actually it was ready and has been in that state since last year in my shed. I just gathered up what I needed. Then after dinner I headed to Point Lookout to go out on the Super hawk. I had called them last weekend and they said they would start going out on night trips this weekend. As I arrived at the dock, there was the Super Hawk just offloading from their afternoon trip. I asked a mate about tonight and he said they were not doing any night trips. He recommended the Captain Al in the next berth.

I have been out on the Captain Al many times over the years. I like that baot and the crew, it is one of the slowest boats around but they stay out longer to make up for that. About 10 people were already aboard and I boarded and was able to get a spot on the rail in the stern. That is great when they drift or anchor for blues and strippers. I left my gear aboard and went to the store, grabbed a big can of Heineken and some peanuts and headed back. Climbed aboard again and waited. I noticed there was no crew and that was odd. At about 6:50 PM, the captain boarded, came to the stern, told the people gathered there that there would be no trip tonight because his crew had not shown up, gave out $5.00 off tickets and said adieu and farewell. He also said the next trip would be 7AM tomorrow for bottom fish (Sea Bass, Ling and the like).

I grabbed my discount coupon and fled. I headed to my car quickly and then drove about 25 minutes Captree, hoping to catch a boat there. As I arrived, I quickly drove past the fishing boats, I saw one was readying to go fishing, the others had either left already or were not going out. I made a quick u-turn and was about to park when I noticed the boat was no longer in the slip. It had, in fact, slipped away in the 30 seconds since I saw it there and was making way to the fishing grounds without me! Crap, crap, crap close but yet so far!

I headed home but stopped at the supermarket, picked up a 12 pack of St. Pauli Girl and a package of double stuffed Oreos and headed home to enjoy both. Beer and coolies - health food. Hopefully, I will fall asleep early enough to feel refreshed at about 5Am, so I can leave by 5:30 to go back to the Captain Al for a day trip tomorrow.

All the best,
Glenn B

Do We Live In Friggin Bizzaro World...

... you know, the place where everything is ass backwards, upside down or just not set to normal standards - an opposite of the way it should happen on planet earth. It sure seems like that is the world of today, in these United States, under the current presidential administration; heck under the last three presidents for that matter. They are/were all so liberal as to make ones head spin and along with all the head spinning of this countries citizens must have come a vortex that sucked us right out of the normal universe and into the alternate reality of Bizzaro World.

Some examples to illustrate what are mean follow:

We are in an economic slump, a recession, with unemployment at the highest it has been in a long, long time. Yet our president and vice president tell us they have saved millions of jobs. Okay so they saved millions but also lost millions, that is why we have such high unemployment rates. It does not matter how many they supposedly saved if we keep losing jobs - don't they get it??? We need job creation and their policies are failing miserably.

The government, with an extremely high deficit, and in debt to many other nations, including Red China a communist tyranny, keeps spending money like it grew not only on trees but as if it magically appeared from thin air. The tarp and bailouts are fine examples, so is the amount they plan to spend on such things like universal health care. In addition they keep allowing our economy to be sucked dry by illegal aliens (note I did not call those bloodsuckers immigrants).

Instead of legislating tough anti illegal entry laws, and stiff penalties for employers of illegal aliens, what does the government do - sues a state that is trying to keep the scourge of illegals out of our once great country, and that despite over 60% of American citizens and legal alien residents supporting tougher immigration laws including those enacted by the state of Arizona.

As this goes on in government, what do private corporations do (and mind you they have been doing it for years)? They keep hiring illegal aliens instead of U.S. Citizens and legal resident aliens. In addition they keep outsourcing jobs to places like Pakistan and India and to many African nations. To what purpose, to make a buck? Don't the realize that as we have fewer and fewer jobs here, we have less and less money to spend here, and the profits they make here will get smaller and smaller?

But of course, if citizens and legal resident aliens try to do anything about these last two situations, they are immediately branded as racists by groups with names like La Raza; that name alone implying that said group is actually the group of racists. Think about it. They scream and holler when we talk about a border fence, or jobs for citizens instead of illegal aliens, and tell me - of what ethnicity are over 85% of those illegal aliens? They could easily be life members of La Raza.

Then we have the NAACP screaming that someone at a Tea Party Rally held up a KKK Sign and they say it was a tea Party member. Who was it, where are the pictures, how do you know it was not an anti-Tea Party agitator? TICSMYD!!! (talk is cheap show me your data). The fact is the Tea Party has repeatedly reached out to prominent members within the black community (you bet I will call it the black community as opposed to the African American community until they call another ethnic community the European American community), and that reaching out is well documented, but the black leaders have mostly shunned the tea party and tried to call it racist! Why would that be? Why especially for a group like the NAACP? I mean look at it, we have a black president (well half black at best), a black Attorney General, many Hispanic leaders, many other black leaders, and the NAACP still is trying to say we are a nation divided by racism. Give it a break - no they will not. Why not, because they will lose money once people realize that - 'hey, why are we giving to the national Association for the ADVANCEMENT of colored people when there is no further advancement possible' - I mean look - the president is a black man! Blacks and Hispanics are in every major industry and type of job imaginable - as are other people of color - so how much more can they advance? So they, groups like the NAACP and La Raza, try to make others look racist when they are not to keep the money flowing from the people who historically have supported those groups. They are using racism as a way to take advantage of well meaning folks. I mean, what else could they want, what other advancment could they expect, no please don't say they want to become the masters! That would be bizzare beyond the scope of imagination.

Then we had the oil spill/leak in the Gulf. What was up with that? Over 80 days to cap it to make it stop. Why wasn't the US Navy sending down mini-subs with engineers aboard to try to figure out how to get it capped within the first week or two? Why didn't the Army Corps of Engineers and the Sea Bees take part in this effort by getting down there to stop the leak. Of course now we face cap and trade and you can bet the president will use this oil disaster to push that through Congress. Heck he has already made it almost a completely political event for himself, so why would he want to see it shut down any sooner!

We also have just seen a finance reform act passed. Watch out folks, now the federal government can check every credit card transaction that anyone makes in this country. People thought that the Patriot Act was intrusive - you ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until the finance reform, the health care reform and cap and trade (with electrical power (because of remote controlled electric meters and circuit boxes) controlled by the government, how much power do you think you will get to use when there is a heat wave, how much do you think you will pay for it, and if you pay by credit will the government keep track of it and spank you later if you spent a little too much on credit? Maybe they will decide to tax you more, or maybe they will cut off your health care since they will be in absolute control. of course, you may just not be able to use your credit card because you will not be able to get credit after having to afford sky rocketing fuel, electrical and health care costs.

And what has our president been doing throughout all of these crises? he has been golfing, and partying, and taking brief trips here and there and rolling up his sleeves and doing almost nothing to actually help America. Oh yeah, and he stood on the White House balcony looking something like a dictator from a Banana Republic, and that was on Independence day when he put down the fonding fathers and implied that our government was not made right until Lincoln.

There is more, such as ending the war in Afghanistan but actually extending it and gearing up for conflict under a new general when the old one could have gotten the job but was not allowed to do so because of the lamest rules of engagement ever. Yet then when he complained and was fired, it now seems the result is that those rules of engagement are apparently soon to change. And yes there is more bizzaro behavior out of Washington and their supporters. Damn, I think I feel an artery in my heading pounding and I do not want it to explode so I will stop now. Just tell me this: If we are not in Bizzaro World, please tell me where are we?

All the best,
Glenn B

Hey Hornady - The Only Thing Worse Than Instructions Printed In China...

...when it comes to trying to assemble something that requires some assembly, is not receiving any instructions at all. So when I eagerly opened my brand new Hornady Classic Reloading Kit today, that I received on Wednesday or Thursday and my wife took until Friday to tell me it had arrived, I was pretty disappointed. I had thought for sure that I would set it all up to see, first of all, if all the parts were there, and secondly to see if it looked like it was working. No luck either way.

There is a manual enclosed with it that apparently tells you how to reload with it but not an instruction manual on set-up. I do not mean the Hornady Reloading Manual, with all the specifications for different cartridges, powder weights and such but a skimpy little pamphlet that tells you the basic steps of reloading with the kit. Of course the Reloading manual is in there too, the big hardcover manual but no set-up instructions. The thing is, there are at least 7 or eight parts in the box and for some of them I have absolutely no idea how to attach them to the main press nor do I know the purpose of one or two of them. That sucks. I do not want to take a chance of getting it together wrong, then finding out at the range when a bullet I reloaded explodes in my face as that would suck even more.

Come Monday, I will call both MidwayUSA and Hornady to see who will be more helpful to me in getting it set up. I have already heard disappointing stories about Hornady customer service, but I am hopeful they at least will know how to set it up or will have available a set-up reference chart or instruction manual to send to me. I will make it a point, to point out to them, that I would rather have had an instruction sheet printed in China and maybe even in Chinese than none at all!

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anderson's Salamanders

The Anderson's Salamanders I received a few days ago are doing fine.. For now they are in a 6 gallon tank but they eventually will be moved to one a bit bigger, probably a 20 gallon or maybe a 30 gallon long. Despite the very warm weather, even the temps in my basement have gotten into the high 70s and maybe even 80, they are doing well and do not seem stressed. I was told they require lower temps in about the high 60s to very low 70s at the most but they are doing fine with water temps that have hit as high as 76 so far. I have kept the water well circulated and am sure that helps and once or twice a day I throw a couple of ice cubes into the tank and sometimes have the A/C on as well. Still though, the water temp has not gone lower than 70, and has mostly been in the low to mid 70s, as far as I know and they seemingly are not stressed at all. My guess is, that while it is fairly cool because of high elevations where they are found way, they are probably also routinely subjected to higher temperatures as there natural range is within the tropics. By the way, their natural range is quite limited. That would be a single lake called Laguna de Zacapu. It is in north-central Michoacan, Mexico. It is the only place in the world where they are found to naturally occur.

Sorry the video is not the best but I certainly am not the best videographer nor do i have the best equipment. Regardless, you can get a fair idea of what they look like. They look pretty much like this throughout their normal lifetimes as they are neotenic or in other words retain the larval (gilled) stage of their development throughout their lifetimes. For most salamanders, a typical life cycle would be egg, hatching out as larval gilled stage, transforming into a gilless adult. These guys retain their gills and become fully functional adults, able to breed, in that condition. This could be due to the altitude at which they are found, or due to the fact that they evolved this way because their natural habitat, Lake Zacapu, lacked indigenous fish fish predators and therefore it may have been to their advantage to remain a fully aquatic species in order to survive. Today, fish are in the lake, having been introduced in the past and the fish have lowered the population of these interesting salamanders. In addition, pollution has also brought a marked decline to their numbers. Pollution is not the only way that people effect their numbers as they are eagerly sought as food items by the local people. It has been reported that hundreds of them per day are removed from the lake. They are currently not on any CITES list but have been labelled as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. (I have never heard of this organization before so do not know if this ranking as critically endangered is credible, especially since the species does not appear in CITES at all.) Regardless, these were captive bred here in the USA, as I understand. I intend to breed mine should I be lucky enough to have both sexes. If not then I will try to acquire some of the gender I do not have. Time will tell, these are still too young to determine their sex. If I am lucky enough to have both male and female salamanders then I hope to be breeding them by next spring at the latest.

All the best,
Glenn B