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