Funny stuff...

This one came in today's email, and I just have to share it:

There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses.One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about.

The letter read:Dear God,I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension.Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment.Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope... Can you please help me? Sincerely, Edna

The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few dollars.By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman. The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.Christmas came and went. A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God. All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.

It read: Dear God, How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was $4 missing. I think it might have been those bastards at the post office. Sincerely, Edna

For those of you looking for a white Christmas, here's a little snow man... a very little snow man.

Everybody knows that the employment picture is very bleak at present. But this animated map shows it more dramatically than anything I have seen yet. Check it out.

Please note how things really start to happen early on in 2009. How's that hope and change working out for ya?

I have had a few emails wondering about the lack of posts. Health issues and work have kept me from posting, but hopefully I will be able to do some serious posting very soon.

Meanwhile, thank you for your patience, and feel free to email or comment on past postings.

"Mountain Man"

Via Timebomb2000:

Just when I thought I'd heard all the wierd and unusual stories from the submarine service in WWII, this one was brought to my attention.

A reindeer on submarine? That's a new one on me....

Paul Valone, of Grass Roots NC fame, has hit one out of the park. Go read it, now:

How Many Gun Laws Have You Broken Today?

(While you are there, be sure and read the comment left by Jeff Knox)

I've said for many years to friends, co-workers, and relatives- you've committed a felony today. You might not know what it is, but trust me, you did. They have enough laws out there now- not just guns, but taxes, environmental, even traffic- that somehow, some way, you committed a serious infraction sometime, probably more than you realize. If you are thinking it doesn't matter, since they didn't arrest you, know this: They can do something, when they want to. And it's looking very much like the powers that be are getting ready to use (and abuse) as many of those laws as it takes to keep you, the sheep, in line.

Any time the government - any government- passes a law that they can't or don't enforce- the recent 'no recycleable bottles in landfills' bill springs to mind- ask why they pass laws without being able to enforce them. Then remind yourself: they aren't enforcing it- yet. But they will- one day, when they need to keep you in line, or punish you for speaking out- tea party, anyone?

You have been warned.

I really hate this kind of story, but it does bring up some useful lessons:

(via The Columbus Dispatch)
Beaten Ohio man is shot during self-defense lesson
Sat Oct 3, 2:36 am ET
GROVEPORT, Ohio – An 80-year-old Ohio man is recovering from a week in which he was beaten during a home invasion and then shot while trying to learn about guns.
Ralph Needs says he wouldn't want anyone to experience what he's been through.
He was tied up and pistol-whipped when at least three intruders broke into his Columbus-area home Sept. 20. Needs' nose was broken and his pickup truck, a computer and credit cards were stolen.
Four days later, Needs was shot in the hand during a self-defense lesson. A 9 mm pistol went off as one of his sons was loading it.
Groveport police say it was an accident, so there will be no charges. No one has been arrested in the assault, but one person was charged in connection with the stolen computer, now recovered.

Ok, first the obvious: If this had been a success story, if the 80 year old gentleman had been proficient in the use of his firearm, and prevented the robbery in the first place, we would have never heard of it. Perhaps a local story on page three, perhaps not. But of course this story fits the media template, so it gets national attention: Guns are bad, and just waiting for a chance to kill grandpa. This is nonsense, of course, but until there is a dramatic change in the makeup of news employees (some 80 to 89 percent admit being 'liberal democrats) the news bias will not change.

So rather than dwell on the obvious, I'd like to point out the importance of learning skills before they are needed. When you are over 80 years old, have just been traumatized by a beating and being robbed, this is not the time to pick up a gun and try to learn how to use it. Yes, it can be done, but I have seen this scene played out far too many times. Victim, or potential victim, impulsively decides they MUST have a gun for protection before learning the proper safety rules and understanding how the weapon functions. Victim then 'feels' safe, puts firearm in drawer, never to be thought of again unless and until an emergency is upon them.

This is a dandy way to end up as this gentleman did, with a self inflicted injury.

Folks, we live in a world that is growing ever more dangerous, with no reason to expect things to improve in the short run. The prison system is a revolving door, with the average 'life' sentence for capital crimes in my state running around 7 years, average. Drug offences? Domestic violence? Armed robbery? Good chance the offender will be out on bail before the officer gets the paperwork done. When sentenced, look for probation for a first or even second offense. This means an ever increasing number of potential felons near your house waiting for a chance to do you harm. If you wait until it happens, you will be a victim.

If, on the other hand, you would like to avoid being a victim, now would be a good time to get some training, information, and mindset for what to do if the unthinkable happens. The head-in-the-sand crowd will call this paranoia, but any reasonable reading of the current crime statistics is a convincing argument for reasonable precautions. This does not necessarily mean going out and buying a firearm- although for an elderly person with limited strength and skills it is often the best choice- but should include a well thought out plan of what to do in the most likely situations. Recently, someone I know got locked out of the house. They were forced to 'break in.' After this, they admitted to me they were surprised at just how easy it was to force entry into the house. When is the last time you walked around your own house and pretended you were a break in artist? Something as simple as a screw in a window to prevent easy entry may have saved this gentleman a lot of pain. Going down this list, things like alarms, pepper spray, panic buttons, neighborhood watch, and yes, weapons of deadly force can all help the Innocent stay safe.

I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to look around today, and do some planning to keep those they love safe and secure.

Another nominee for most idiotic elected official of the year. Via The High Road US
We can't have the police out there catching bad guys now, can we?

For those of you who have been wondering where the dickens I have been the last few weeks, and why I have not been posting, it is finally time to reveal the answer:

Friends and neighbors, behold, the MAN CAVE.

Yeah, still in the finishing up stages, but this will be the new home for hobbies, projects, and the occassional odd job. Amazingly, this entire project got completed in under 2 weeks, and that includes setting up, wiring, plumbing, and inspection by the local codes officers. Hopefully, this will be a asset in preparing for future needs, and certainly will be a great learning experience on setting up a new, modern home shop. I will keep you posted as things progress.

I have mentioned before I used to be the 'on call' guy for the local police and sheriff's departments for removing problem reptiles from folks houses. Oddly enough, that talent also got me one of the more interesting jobs of my younger days- after removing a tiny blacksnake from a local radio stations transmitter, I got to work the summer helping with setting up remotes and live broadcasts, and even worked for a couple of years as the overnight person on the FM station. Well, it seems that they never forgot me, and I got a frantic phone call late the other night begging me to come and coral a terrifying watercoppermossicanhead or the dreaded diamondbackrattlerhead.... and luckily this time, I was able to find and pick up the scary thing:

(click on image to enlarge)

The station owner was sure this harmless little fellow was a 'copperhead.' It isn't, obviously, or I'd not be holding it bare handed. Ok, boys and girls, here's your chance to show how smart you are: anyone who hasn't been through my snake identification class, let me hear your best guess on what we have here. I'll post the correct identification as soon as I get a correct guess, or in a few days if no one guesses correctly.

As noted in the comments section below, 'anonymous' correctly guessed our little patterned friend will soon be a large, solid black, 'black rat snake.' (Elaphe obsoleta)

Like the spots on a fawn, that give way to a solid color on an adult deer, the beautiful pattern on the baby snake will give way to a solid color as it grows into adulthood. (The timing varies greatly, depending mainly on how much food is available and other conditions related to growth.)

Also known as a blacksnake, rat snake, black racer (incorrectly) and a few other common names, this harmless fellow is the greatest mouse trap ever created by God. They will literally eat mice and small rats until they are so full they can't move properly, and will find a nice sunny rock to warm up on, and digest food, getting ready for a long winter. If you find one around your house, by all means, don't panic- just leave 'em alone and soon you won't have any mice problems, and they will wander off in search of a meal elsewhere.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or guess, and hopefully this will help you learn just a little about the many critters you find out in the woods.

Below is an adult male black rat snake I pulled out of a nice ladies garage. He was not a bit happy when this picture was taken, hence the gloves. (He was missing several inches of tail where someone had tried to kill him with a hoe, which would tend to make anyone a bit testy.)

While I am not a huge fan of the show, I have started taping it for the benefit of the lovely Mrs. Sharpshooter. It does have the elements of some seriously weird science fiction, not to mention plot twists that are nearly impossible to follow.

Figure out the code yet? I don't even understand what the code is yet.

Anyway, for those of you who follow such things, I've added a widget to help you count down to next week's season opener. A little entertainment to take minds off the depressing news we are hearing so much of in recent days.

This just in from the ideas department of Government Motors....

Coming soon to a dealer near you!

This is why I keep trying to encourage people to be prepared:

(via Drudge)

Las Vegas Boy Dies After Getting Stranded in Death Valley
Updated: Aug 07, 2009 2:54 PM EDT
An 11-year-old Las Vegas boy died after his mother's car got stuck in sand for five days on their way to Death Valley for a camping trip, officials said Friday.

Carlos Sanchez and his 28-year-old mother set out for an overnight trip to the area Aug. 1, but were stranded when their car got stuck about 20 miles east of Trona. The mother's name has not been released.

The mother hiked to the top of a tall peak to try to get a cell phone signal but could not, officials said. The pair had no maps and quickly consumed the 24 16-oz. bottles of water, Pop Tarts and cheese sandwiches they had packed.

The vehicle was found several miles off a dirt road in the middle of the desert and apparently got stuck when it drove over an underground coyote den and the soil collapsed, Lotspeich said.

The severely dehydrated mother was airlifted to Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas. Her condition was not immediately known.

Cell phones, GPS units, and other modern tools are all nice things to have. But they can, and do, fail. A few bottles of water and some pop tarts aren't exactly my idea of enough gear to cross the notorious valley of death, to put it mildly.

As has been said many times before, the most important survival tool you have is between your ears. Use it.

My heart goes out to any mother who loses her child. More so when that mother will live out her life wondering what she could have done to have prevented that death. As for the rest of us, we need to learn from her mistakes, and try very hard to avoid making them ourselves.

Keyboard alert...

There seems to be a growing wave of ridicule involving our selected representatives ... about time, we need something to laugh at:

By the way, if you don't recognize these 'jokers', you should find out who they are real soon- they are the folks determined to take everything you have, in the name of 'fairness.' And that, friends, is no joke.

Things have been very busy indeed at the old home place. Work, preps, and summer activities have kept me away from the keyboard.

The bad news is, it may be the weekend before I have a chance to post again.

The good news is, there is a wealth of things to update. Unfortunately, a lot of them are more reports of the Federal Government putting down it's heavy hand. But there are a few good things going on, as well.

Speaking of which, there is news of a vote on concealed carry reciprocity which I only learned of today- I am trying to find out more. If what I heard is true, it's time for another call to the duly elected Representatives of my area....

They never, ever give up.

Neither can we.

Be sure and catch the part about 'extradition.' Yep, they seriously are talking about sending you to a Mexican prison for having a firearm in the USA.

From comes this story:

Akron police investigate teen mob attack on family
By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

POSTED: 07:44 p.m. EDT, Jul 07, 2009

Akron police say they aren't ready to call it a hate crime or a gang initiation.

But to Marty Marshall, his wife and two kids, it seems pretty clear.

It came after a family night of celebrating America and freedom with a fireworks show at Firestone Stadium. Marshall, his family and two friends were gathered outside a friend's home in South Akron.

Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted ''This is our world'' and ''This is a black world'' as they confronted Marshall and his family.

The Marshalls, who are white, say the crowd of teens who attacked them and two friends June 27 on Girard Street numbered close to 50. The teens were all black.

''This was almost like being a terrorist act,'' Marshall said. ''And we allow this to go on in our neighborhoods?''

They said it started when one teen, without any words or warning, blindsided and assaulted Marshall's friend as he stood outside with the others.

When Marshall, 39, jumped in, he found himself being attacked by the growing group of teens.

His daughter, Rachel, 15, who weighs about 90 pounds, tried to come to his rescue. The teens pushed her to the ground.

His wife, Yvonne, pushed their son, Donald, 14, into bushes to keep him protected.

''My thing is,'' Marshall said, ''I didn't want this, but I was in fear for my wife, my kids and my friends. I felt I had to stay out there to protect them, because those guys were just jumping, swinging fists and everything.

''I'm lucky. They didn't break my ribs or bruise my ribs. I thank God, they concentrated on my thick head because I do have one. They were trying to take my head off my spine, basically.''

After several minutes of punches and kicks, the attack ended and the group ran off. The Marshalls' two adult male friends were not seriously hurt.

''I don't think I thought at that moment when I tried to jump in,'' Rachel Marshall said. ''But when I was laying on the ground, I was just scared.''

Marshall was the most seriously injured. He suffered a concussion and multiple bruises to his head and eye. He said he spent five nights in the critical care unit at Akron General Medical Center.

The construction worker said he now fears for his family's safety, and the thousands of dollars in medical bills he faces without insurance.

''I knew I was going to get beat, but not as bad as I did,'' Marshall said. ''But I did it to protect my family. I didn't have a choice. There was no need for this. We should be all getting along. But to me, it seems to be racist.''

Akron police are investigating. Right now, the case is not being classified as a racial hate crime. There were no other reports of victims assaulted by the group that night.

The department's gang unit is involved in the investigation, police said.

''We don't know if it's a known gang, or just a group of kids,'' police Lt. Rick Edwards said.

The Marshalls say they fear retaliation at home or when they go outside. They are considering arming themselves, but they're concerned about the possible problems that come with guns.

For now, they are hoping police can bring them suspects. They believe they can identify several of the attackers.

''This makes you think about your freedom,'' Marshall said. ''In all reality, where is your freedom when you have this going on?''

Gee, I don't know where to start here. Hate crime? Suspects all black, shouting "This is our world" and "This is a black world" and the police aren't sure it's a hate crime? Hmmm, let's try it this way: a bunch of white guys show up and brutally attack a black couple watching fireworks with the kids, shouting "It's a white world"... do you think they would call that a hate crime?

I've said it before, I'll say it again: racial equality will never happen as long as we persist in trying to make laws that attempts to make things 'fair.' Racial quotas, hate crime laws, affirmative action, all cause far worse problems than they solve. Crimes must be judged on what one human being did to another human being, without color making it worse, or better. Martin Luther King wanted to be judged on the content of his character, not the color of his skin. These criminals need to be judged on the lack of character they showed, color blind. The same should hold true of whites attacking blacks. This episode shows clearly what we already knew: 'hate crimes' only happen when the victim is one of the 'protected classes.' This is the worst kind of discrimination- and it will only lead to worse things down the road.

Next up, we have the victim's injuries and reaction: "They were trying to take my head off my spine, basically." and later "Marshall was the most seriously injured. He suffered a concussion and multiple bruises to his head and eye. He said he spent five nights in the critical care unit at Akron General Medical Center.
The construction worker said he now fears for his family's safety, and the thousands of dollars in medical bills he faces without insurance.''I knew I was going to get beat, but not as bad as I did,'' Marshall said. ''But I did it to protect my family. I didn't have a choice. "

Sometimes, you don't have a choice, that is true. But sometimes you do. Here's the problem: The Marshalls say they fear retaliation at home or when they go outside. They are considering arming themselves, but they're concerned about the possible problems that come with guns.

After an attack like that, and they are worried about the possible problems that come with guns? I would think they would be more worried about the possibilities of further beatings. Yes, there are responsibilities and problems with owning a firearm. Lots of problems owning a car, house, or can of propane for the grill, too. But you learn to be responsible, and learn how to use all of those things properly. While I sympathize with the victims, I can't help but wonder if part of the problem is a reluctance to learn to take care of life's little problems, instead of relying on someone else- like the police in this case- to do it for them.

Blogging has taken a back seat to getting back into good condition of late. Sometimes, while the world is busy going crazy, you just need to get away from it all and take care of you. In my case, this almost always involves a bicycle of some sort. This was one of those times.
The place is New River Trail, in South West Virginia. The trail is an old rail road line, converted into a hiking/bike/equestrian trail, with camping, picnicking, and various other activities along the way. You can find out more about it here. Running from Pulaski, Va. to Galax Va. is a bit over 51 miles, with a spur line running to Fries (pronounced "Freeze" by the locals) adding 7 more miles. This day in June was perfect for riding, mild temps, low humidity, and clear skies. If the current political situation is getting your blood pressure up, I highly recommend finding a place such as this for a little R &R . Added bonus, a little exercise goes a long way to keeping you ready for difficult times, and having an additional skill such as being able to cover serious distance while packing enough gear to survive is always good. (I've been requested to do a blog entry on using a bike for survival purposes one day. I hope to do that soon.)
Yep, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the white pines and Rhododendron.

There are a lot of things in life you can prepare for. Spare tires, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, firearms, even parachutes can come in handy when the unexpected happens.

But there just isn't a lot you can do when your train is targeted by a tornado. Wow.

Oh, the joy of being investigated. As a part of renewing my drivers license this year, the state DMV sent me a letter this week informing me that I would be required to pass a Federal background check, complete with fingerprinting, FBI investigation, NCIC checks, the works. All this under the watchful eyes of the TSA, those friendly folks who pry through your luggage and ask you to remove your shoes each time you want to travel.

What, pray tell, did I do to incur this honor? I have a 'hazardous materials' endorsement on my CDL.

It would be simpler for me to just let it slide, give up the endorsement, or better yet just drop to a class C license and save a bunch of money. I have not driven a class A vehicle in some years, and have no plans to start back. But it is a lot easier to keep a CDL that it is to get one back. Plus, it's a pride thing. I worked hard driving 'back in the day' and if things got bad enough, I want that option to do so again. But still...

My first drivers license was a 'chauffeurs license' which cost an extra $5 then, and required that you score 85 or better on the written test, instead of the normal 70. That was all. I did this when I was 16 years old so I could earn money driving a school bus before and after school. (yes, back then 16 year olds were allowed to drive school buses. I loved it.)

Now, here's what I will be required to do: 45 days prior to renewal, fill out paper work here. Please note this is not cheap- $90 for the service, plus taking at least a half day off from work, and gas money to go to a not-very-close big city. Payment in advance, and non refundable.
If you look at the forms, please note a few things: under 'military status' you have only two choices: 'dishonorably discharged' or 'other.' To me, that is kind of insulting. I was "Honorably discharged." I should have that option, not 'other.' Then look at the 'SSN' option: you have the option of not disclosing your SSN, but gee, sorry, if you decide to exercise that option we can't process your application and you will lose your license. Sorry about that. What is it they say? if you aren't allowed to exercise your rights, then you don't have any? Oh well.

Then, hopefully, in a month or so I will get a letter stating I am not a menace to society or otherwise prohibited from handling 'hazardous materials.' With that in hand, I am allowed to report to the DMV and take the written tests- in my case, 7 written tests: motorcycle, class A endorsement, air brakes, tanker, twin trailers, passenger vehicle, and of course hazardous materials.

I would like to point out here that none of this insures that I am either a safe, nor a decent, driver. All it insures is that I can fill out the proper forms and can pass a written test. Some of the best long-haul drivers I ever knew had problems with the forms and tests required now.

My first chauffeurs license cost $15.

This trip to the DMV:
DOT physical- $90
Background screening: $90
Basic CDL test: (application fee) $30
Class A fee $15 per year, or $120 for 8 years.
Endorsement fees: $3 per endorsement, or $21.

Grand total: $351.00 This does not include losing at least 2 partial days from work, nor the medication required to lower my blood pressure after dealing with the bureaucracy.

The sad part of all of this, even with your tax dollars- gas taxes, general fund taxes, etc. -paying for the salaries and infrastructure of of all this, I'll bet they still lose money.

And some of you want to turn our health care and banking industries over to the likes of these people? God forbid!

Everybody remember this glittering jewel or colossal ignorance? Oh yes, simply by virtue of his skin color, the anointed one was going to give us all free gas, pay off our houses, and of course free health care and bread and circuses money for nothing.

Let's see, in less than 6 months, the corrupt gangs in DC (yes, Obama is the primary problem right now, but don't ever lose sight of the big picture- both houses of Congress, plus an out of control Judiciary, are just as much to blame) have nearly completely destroyed the US economy, have bankrupted the government (not an easy thing to do since they can print more money at will, something no other institution can do!) They have destroyed General Motors, not only the largest manufacturer of automobiles, but the largest manufacturer of anything on this planet. (the scope of what GM is, or was, is truly incredible.) Chris Dodd and Barney Frank destroyed the banking industry in the interest of "affordable housing." And then had the audacity to claim they needed more money and power to fix the very thing they caused.

And now, we are headed directly into another oil crisis. This one can pretty much be blamed on the President alone. The President is responsible for meeting with world leaders, and any unbiased observer (which lets out the major networks) can only come to the conclusion that Obama is an a complete disaster. Bowing to a (his?) King, apologising to anyone and everyone for everything from slavery to new coke, he might as well wear a sign on his ass that says 'kick me and raise oil prices.'

And of course, the OPEC nations are only too happy to oblige. As a happy bonus, Obama has even thrown in Israel, too. While the liberal opportunists are rubbing their hands together in glee at the nut case who shot a security person at the Holocaust Center in DC (never let a crisis go to waste, after all) the President of the United States is signaling to any country in the middle east that it is open season on the nation of Israel. Need a nuclear program to produce electricity while sitting on the largest oil reserves on the planet? Sure, makes sense to Obama, go right ahead. Oil consumption at an all time low, not selling much? Raise prices to $100 per barrel, and the US will bend over and ask for more.

I warned you about this man. He wants nothing less than the complete and total distruction of the things that made the United States of America the greatest nation on earth. And he is accomplishing that task with incredible speed, thanks to a huge majority in both houses and a judicial branch corrupted by years of abuse.

If this is allowed to happen, we will be living in a country much like Mexico or Somalia is today. Don't say it can't happen here. It can. It will. It's happening now.

So, Peggy, how's that change working out for you?

Just a note for the folks scheduling maintenance at blogger, there is no such time as '12:00 AM.' It can be 12:01 am, or 12:01 pm, but 12:00 is either midnight or midday- the dividing line between AM or PM.

I know, it's silly and nit picky. But then, so am I.

The man who was all too briefly our representation at the UN gets it, and explains it here.

It's time we all started getting vocal about the violations against the constitution going on in the current administration. Loudly, clearly, and often. Nothing less than our liberty is at stake.

Gunnies, prepare to be nauseated:

NYPD Looks to Futuristic Technology to mask incompetence

Hey, I have an idea... why don't they just find some instructors and teach these guys the four rules?

Via The High

If you enjoy watching people in public do stupid things, you need to go here.

This one is what every gunny would love to do, just once.

I don't care who you are, that is funny stuff.

First of all, an update for those of you that asked: I am doing quite a bit better this week, and I am back at work more or less full time, not counting visits to various follow-up doctors. For those of you interested in medical details, you can find details on what was going on here. For what it's worth, my EKG didn't even look as nice as that one, it looked more like an epileptic chicken was having a seizure on the graph.

I would like to take this opportunity to give some free survival advice to everyone. One of the quickest ways to end up dead, or at least very, very sick, is to not be able to communicate the correct information to the rescue personnel, and the doctors. This was not my first episode of AF, and I strongly believe the reason I came home in 8 hours rather than 7 days (in ICU, no less) is that I had learned what the problem was and could tell the medical staff exactly what they needed to know. As we say in the repair business, you can't fix it until you know what broke. The first time, having never had any sort of heart problems before, I naturally assumed I was having a heart attack. I wasn't. But when you say 'chest pains' and are old enough and on the heavy side, they take it serious and give you all kinds of drugs immediately to take care of that possibility. Unfortunately for me, that sort of treatment makes my problems worse. Hence, a painful, and expensive, hospital stay.

So, if you want to avoid all of that, here's the thing to do. During your next yearly physical (you do have one every year, right?) find out as much about your condition as possible. Get copies of the reports- especially the blood work. Keep up with your basics, like daily BP, heart rate, etc. You don't have to be a hypochondriac, just put into it as much effort as you do your other daily tasks. Keep these records handy in case you need urgent care. If possible keep a mini version on your person, either with a medic alert bracelet or something similar. Then, if the worst happens, you'll have useful information with you. Of equal importance is being able to give good, accurate information to emergency personnel. I don't know of any short cuts on this, you either know how to communicate or you don't. But a basic first aid class would be time well spent, and if you have a nurse, medical technician, or the like in the family, spend some time finding out how to tell the difference between problems with similar symptoms.

Yeah, not as interesting as 9mm vs. .45 ACP. But it's just as important- perhaps more so. The likely hood of being involved in a firefight on any given day are very small. But your chances of having a medical emergency one day are darn good. It might make the difference between going to the next gun show, or having your widow selling your collection off for what you told her you paid for it... something to think about.

Seems I woke up last night an irregular heartbeat. Things did not improve, and I ended up spending the night at a hospital in a nearby city. I'm back home now, but very weak.

The good news would be I will have some extra time to blog this week. Depending on how well I feel, I will try to post a few things that have been on my mind.

I posted on my post election visit to the Winston Salem Gun show back in January, during the buying panic when everyone was trying to corner the market on ammunition and standard capacity magazines for their AR or AK. Over the Memorial Day weekend, I once again traveled to the Camel City to see how things were going in the war on our civil rights.

Things have improved, in some areas improving greatly.

First, a few comparisons. On my prior visit, on the last Saturday in January, I'd had a difficult time finding a place to park, and been surprised at the long lines and the number of people wishing to buy anything for sale. Ammunition was selling at an incredible rate, and evil black rifles commanding a premium price. This time, although attendance was still heavy (especially for a holiday weekend) finding a parking place was easy, and only a few people waiting in line to get in. I noted last time very few people were smoking in line, this time, most of the folks hanging around outside had a smoke- most of them cheap, nasty ones. I guess we can thank the tax-everything-that-moves crowd in Raleigh for that, our friends who smoke can no longer afford a premium cigarette, so they're buying the nasty stuff.

Once again, everyone was incredibly polite. I only mention this for the wandering hoplophobe who stumbles here, those of us in the 'gun culture' know that as a group, we are the most law abiding, decent people in the United States. Those who get distorted views of our demographic from the major media outlets- especially the major TV networks, that are blatantly in the tank for the messiah- think all gun owners are mental cases waiting to go postal. If you fall into this category, please, do yourself a favor and attend the next gun show in your area, and prepare to be enlightened. If the thought of that is too frightening to you, please, seek professional help. Email me and I'll try and help you over come your irrational fear.

The best news from this show was seeing things getting somewhat back to normal. Ammo was abundant, cases of XM-193 stacked neatly in front of several tables, and no line to purchase. A friend and I split a case of one thousand priced at $400, and could have bought more at several other tables at the same price. I wasn't looking for any rifles, so I didn't watch prices that closely, but they seemed a bit more reasonable than last time. I did see a few SKS's priced way over retail, but no one was buying- the free market will take care of that soon.

I managed to spend a bit more money than usual, but I found a few things I'd been looking for and felt a bit like buying. Another Olight flashlight, this time the T-30, I really like what has been happening in the technical area of flashlight designs of late. (I grew up with rolled steel tubes, yellow filament bulbs, and carbon batteries. Might as well used flint and dried grass.) A couple of special purchases in mind for Father's Day, (no hints here, dad reads the blog daily..) and the usual impulse buys- spicy peanuts, gun safe pistol rack, pistol hangers, etc.

All in all, a great day having fun with nary a hoplophobe in sight. Best thing, however, was the continued determined attitude I saw in every face there. We all know the fight is not over, and the recent back downs from the current administration on AWBII, surplus brass disposal, and other draconian laws shows that they know they have stirred up a hornets nest- and they are leaving it alone, for now. We know they will be back. And we are going to be ready when they do.

(quote from The Patriot Post)

"Once each May, amid the quiet hills and rolling lanes and breeze-brushed trees of Arlington National Cemetery, far above the majestic Potomac and the monuments and memorials of our Nation's Capital just beyond, the graves of America's military dead are decorated with the beautiful flag that in life these brave souls followed and loved. This scene is repeated across our land and around the world, wherever our defenders rest. Let us hold it our sacred duty and our inestimable privilege on this day to decorate these graves ourselves -- with a fervent prayer and a pledge of true allegiance to the cause of liberty, peace, and country for which America's own have ever served and sacrificed. ... Our pledge and our prayer this day are those of free men and free women who know that all we hold dear must constantly be built up, fostered, revered and guarded vigilantly from those in every age who seek its destruction. We know, as have our Nation's defenders down through the years, that there can never be peace without its essential elements of liberty, justice and independence. Those true and only building blocks of peace were the lone and lasting cause and hope and prayer that lighted the way of those whom we honor and remember this Memorial Day. To keep faith with our hallowed dead, let us be sure, and very sure, today and every day of our lives, that we keep their cause, their hope, their prayer, forever our country's own." --Ronald Reagan

Happy Mother's Day

If you are lucky enough to have your mom with you today, be sure and give her all the love and respect she deserves.

I was lucky enough to have a Godly mother, who raised a wild, impulsive, hot-tempered son along with three sisters, half the neighborhood kids, along with countless dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, and even the occasional pet skunk and possum.. (now there's a story... but I digress..)

Thanks for everything, mom. God love you, and keep you, and bless you. You are the best.

Let me introduce you to a bit of history here. I currently work in the electronics repair field, where technology keeps going faster, better, and more complex. But once in a while, a veteran from long ago comes in for some R & R, and you just can't help but marvel at how things used to get done. Introducing just such a device, from General Electric Corp. (back when GE was the biggest kid on the block)

I have no idea who sent this in, or where it has been working, but it's a wonder of engineering for the day. Best I can tell, late 1940's to perhaps mid 1950's manufacture- bakelite and steel frame, hand wound coils, clockworks balanced and still working.

Oh, what does it do, you ask? Not much- it's a time-delayed breaker, sort of like the one in your home's distribution panel. Except this one has multiple taps to choose the current you want to trip out at- from 0.5 amps to 2 amps- and a hand-set time delay, from 0 seconds up to 7 seconds. Just enough time for the motor or light or whatever to get over inrush current and settle down before we go and set off the overcurrent alarm and shut things down.

Yeah, I got it fixed- problem was a broken bakelight terminal strip where someone had overtightened a screw. I made sure to do it right, too. This one deserved good treatment, after so much time on the job. I hope one day- a long time from now- when the old girl is finally retired, they have the decency to give her to the a museum or at least send her home with someone who cares. They don't make 'em like that any more.

Today is the National Day of Prayer.

I tell you this so you'll know, since the Anointed One has seen fit to ignore any mention of prayer not directed to him.

If ever our country needed the power of prayer, it is today. I urge each and every person reading this to take a few minutes today, find a quiet spot, and ask God's forgiveness for our sins, as individuals, and families, and as a country.

Ask God to give us guidance in these difficult days, and to help us to turn back to him.

Only then can God bless us as a country, and restore us to the nation we once were.

Rumor is that the good folks in Raleigh are burning the midnight oil tonight to try and get the NC gasoline tax- already the highest in the southeast, and 3rd highest in the continental US- raised again. Not only that, they want to change the maximum tax allowed to become the minimum tax. Next time you fill up, try and look for the sticker on the pump that tells you how much you pay per gallon to the Feds and the state for gas, and figure out how much gas would be without that tax. Oh, and let us not forget: that is the tax levied on the final product. That doesn't include the hundreds- if not thousands- of hidden taxes along the line. You know, taxes on the equipment that drilled it, on the wages for the workers, the pipleline fees, corporate taxes (US corporate tax rate is the second highest in the world.) Highway taxes on the tankers that delivered it, on the drivers salary that pumped it, and even the poor underpaid clerk behind the counter. Yep, you get to pay all of those. And it's still not enough for those greedy pigs who do nothing but pass laws to look good and steal us blind. Have you noticed the roads are a bit rougher lately? That bridge that's been looking a bit old getting worse? Don't look for it to get fixed anytime soon. Not to worry, though: I'm sure Gov. Beverly won't notice in the taxpayer paid helicopter, or the limo. They ride pretty nice.

Me, I'm still buying my gas across the line in Virginia, just like most folks in Charlotte wander down into SC once a week to fill up cheap, and buy some fireworks. You see, when you overtax things, people buy less of it, or buy it somewhere where it isn't taxed so much. Apparently, some of the great wise leaders in Raliegh missed economics 101. Perhaps next election cycle we can help them find some spare time to take a make up class.

Ah, the government and education. Is there anything they can't do?
This field used to be an overgrown bit of woods with a creek running through the back, which emptied into a small river. Great place for finding just about any critter you'd care to look for, from frogs, turtles, snakes, birds, squirrels, and more. Usual assortment of trees, plants, and insects, from just plain bugs to magnificent praying mantis.
Just the perfect place to bring in a bunch of heavy equipment and have a big old taxpayer funded project. Why, instead of all that natural stuff, we can level it off and kill nearly everything in sight, so we can teach everyone about what a danger to the environment evil white conservative men mankind is.
How much will all this cost? Don't ask.
Will this teach the kids about nature? Somehow, I'm thinking the lessons the government teaches these days are a bit... slanted. You want to learn about nature, go camping. Or better yet, hunting. For something that could kill and eat you.
Not to worry, the taxpayers will pay for everything.

Recently, the good folks at Grass Roots NC have been trying to change a very bad codicil in North Carolina's Concealed Carry Law. In NC, you can't use your CCW to carry in any place that allows alcohol to be both sold and consumed. In other words, you aren't supposed to be packing when you go to eat at darn near any chain restaurant that serves sit-down meals. To us gunnies, the stupidity of this is obvious. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the non-shooting public is horrified at the idea that people might be eating next to them at Ruby Tuesdays or Lone Star while armed. I've been trying to enlighten a few such folks of late, and I've found that it almost always comes down to the same problem: they don't understand the way things really work. Specifically, they think this would make it legal for the wife-beating drunk with 6 DWI's and a bad attitude to bust in with a pair of Colt Peacemakers, and the cops would have to say "Sorry, it's legal now- darn that CCW law!"

Here's the challenge: we have to enlighten more people. Some, of course, are beyond reason. No use preaching to the choir, either- bitch sessions at the local gun shop with those who already agree with us may feel good, but it's hiding in the foxhole as far as doing something about the problem. What we need to do, every chance we get, is point out the facts about CCW.

  • The drunk you are afraid of can't get a CCW. Neither can the wife beater, if the victim has ever filed a domestic order against him (or her.)
  • CCW holders are not wild eyed, paranoid gun nuts waiting for a chance to shoot somebody. It helps here to have a list of people you know (without naming names) who carry. My list includes several Doctors, medical professionals, former police officers, business owners, and retired or handicapped people. Not exactly Rambo, eh?
  • The average CCW holder shoots more often, and shoots more accurately, than the average police officer. They are also far less likely to shoot an innocent person than a law enforcement officer in a sudden encounter.
  • Perhaps most importantly, remember to tell them that only law abiding people obey laws. The drunk or domestic violence person we spoke about earlier won't be a bit bothered by a 'No Guns" sign or a law (that he's probably unaware of anyway.) Nope, they'll come right in, knife, ball bat, broken beer bottle or tire iron in hand even if they have no gun. And if Mr. or Mrs. CCW has been forced to leave the weapon in the car, guess what? You are all pretty much out of luck.

I know most people reading this already know all of that, and more. But try and remind yourself this week to educate someone who may be sitting on the fence. We've got a lot of things going against us right now, especially in Washington DC, so we can use every friend we can get. If every gunny could get just two other people to join us, we could win every fight on the horizon right now. Let's get busy.

My father was (and still is) fond of saying “my son, learn from other’s mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all yourself.” That’s good advice, although I must add that if I could just learn something from all of the mistakes I’ve made in this lifetime I’d be the smartest person in the room. Unfortunately, I didn’t, and I’m not. Most recently I got to learn the hard way a few of those lessons involving being prepared in the use of a firearm. Those of you who enjoy learning from other’s mistakes, here is a golden opportunity. Those of you who just enjoy watching others screw up, enjoy.

As I posted earlier today, I recently was fortunate enough to find not only ‘a job’ but a serious career opportunity. Better still, in a world of accountant and liability lawyer driven employee handbooks and no-gun rules, I landed a job with an employer who makes me look like a novice shooter. On the job well less than a month, he takes the employees out to a local steak house for a brainstorming meeting, and announces that anybody who wants to go to the Patriot’s Day Appleseed Shoot on the weekend of April 19th-20th can meet at the shop that morning and ride together, and he’d pay the entry fee for anyone attending.

That last statement deserves its own paragraph. I just told you my employer believes enough in the second amendment, the benefits of firearm ownership and marksmanship training, to put forth a considerable amount of cash to pay for each and all of his employees to go get rifle training over the weekend. Perhaps there is hope for the future.

Needless to say, I took him up on the offer. Since I live a bit distant from the range mentioned, I opted to go for a nearby hotel and went down the night before, and met up with everyone else at the range Saturday morning. Although I have been around firearms since I was a kid, and a member of the ‘gun culture’ since the term got coined, I’ve had very little formal training at all. Save for some police rookie school training, a CCW course, and the occasional tip from my favorite gun store proprietor, I can’t think of any formal training. So, I was a bit nervous, wondering how badly I’d shoot in front of some other shooters, many of which were obviously better prepared and experienced. Around 50 participants (or “Cooks” as Fred likes to call them) had parted with hard-earned money with the intention of becoming “riflemen.” I was hoping one of the people earning that title would be me.

Sadly, I had a few things working against me. First, despite having my fair share of long guns available, I did not have a single one that met the complete list of needs stated for the course. Second, having had little time to prepare for the event on such short notice, I’d not even had time to read the booklet to prepare myself. Last, and worst of all, I’d only had a few days to gather gear together from the list on the Appleseed website, and had hastily dumped the entire mess in the trunk of the car after work just prior to leaving home for the trip. I knew that inevitably there would be something forgotten, or something would go wrong. But I figured I’d improvise, adapt, and overcome. Of the list of recommended gear, the only major bit of kit I’d neglected to bring was the elbow pads, but I had purchased a nice shooting mat from higher than crap cheaper than dirt, and also had my trusty GI issue sleeping bag foam pad to put under it. I figured I could live without the elbow pads. Firearms were a bigger problem: the recommendation from people who had been before was either a M1 Garand or other similar battle rife with adjustable sights, or a .22 LR semi-auto with plenty of spare magazines. I own neither. I have an AR-10 flat top with a nice scope on it, but no iron sights for it at all. I have boo coos of .22 rifles, but all are tube fed, from the but stock- I didn’t want to show up with one of those. I own one bolt-action .22 LR, but only owned 2 5-round magazines and one 10 rounder for her, which I wasn’t sure would be enough for the number of rounds to be fired during the course. Still, it is the best shooting rifle I own with iron sights, so even being a bolt action it went into the car as a backup. I also had an AR-15 I’d recently purchased just before the election panic, although I’d only put a few magazines through the rifle I felt it to be reliable and accurate- plus I have plenty of magazines for AR’s. So it became my primary choice. Lastly, I had borrowed a genuine M1 Garand from a good friend, complete with a period web belt with full complement of clips loaded for same. This would be the obvious rifle to use, except for one thing: the ONLY ammunition available for the Garand was on that web belt. I don’t have any 30-06 rifles, therefore I had zero ammunition for same. A quick check of my local gun shop showed buying ammo would not be possible- even if I could have afforded it (I couldn’t) the only loads available on such short notice would have been lighter, hunting style ammo, which he wasn’t even sure would cycle the action. No time to order online, even if the panic buying hadn’t dried up the supply. (it’s getting scary going to every ammo supplier you know of and getting the same story: out of stock, no backorder)
So, to recap: I have a M1 with limited ammo, a AR-15 with plenty of ammo and magazines but a standard GI sling (not recommended) and a bolt-action .22 with only 3 magazines with total capacity of 20 rounds. I have a nice new shooting mat plus a GI sleeping bag pad, but no elbow pads. I have a positive attitude and am really looking forward to improving my marksmanship skills.
I was about to have quite possibly the most fun time shooting I’d had since my first .22 on the farm, but not without first learning some valuable lessons on ‘being ready.’

The Appleseed format should be familiar to most shooters, if not check it out here or read Fred’s column in any issue of Shotgun News. I was lucky enough to be shooting at the original ‘Appleseed’ range in Ramseur, NC. Very nice range, the long range has berms at 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards, with pop up targets no less. For the first day, however, we’d be shooting at the short range, sighting in at 25 meters on the 100-200 yard range. First the inevitable signing in process, figuring out which spot to shoot from, and gearing up from the trunk of the car, minus rifle- safety meeting made it clear no one was to bring a rifle to the line until authorized to do so. It’s always good to see safety taken seriously. I’d spoken to the range boss, and he told me to bring the rifle I was most familiar with and could shoot the best. That would be the AR-15, so I brought some gear for it to the line. First up was a well delivered and interesting history lesson on the significance of Patriot’s Day, and the shot heard round the world. WHERE WERE THESE LESSONS WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL? I’d pay real money to get this bunch into the local school systems to combat the idiocy being taught to the poor brainwashed sheep hearded through the system now. Next up, just to get everyone ready to go, would be a 13 round (representing the 13 colonies) live fire at easy targets- ‘redcoats’ on a white background. I loaded thirteen rounds into a 20 round magazine, waited for the command, and heard “FIRE.”


There is nothing as loud as a “CLICK” when you were expecting a “BANG.” I could feel my blood pressure spike about 30 points. Cleared the round, rechambered, target picture, squeeze trigger… CLICK. Again. Click. This is not good. The other shooters are about half way through the 13 rounds. Clear, tap, reseat magazine, hit forward assist to make sure bolt is in battery, yank on the trigger because I’m frustrated by now… CLICK. OK, my rifle is not working, and I’m not going to get off 13 rounds, so let’s figure out what’s wrong before we get to serious shooting. Check fired rounds. Light or zero primer strikes. OK, firing pin is not hitting primer. Simple enough. I pull the bolt out as the rest of the group stops firing, and take it back with me to the picnic table behind the yellow line. I was not aware that this was not permitted, and a safety instructor corrected me, but shortly after I got permission to try to correct the problem. Obvious first thing to check was the firing pin, it was protruding properly with bolt in position and pressure applied to the rear. Pulled it out, it had some light oil residue on it, but certainly not enough to keep it from movement. Wiped it down, sprayed the bolt with CLP, reassembled, just in time to get down for the first string of sight in targets. Prone position, sight picture, squeeze… CLICK. We shan’t dwell upon thoughts or words that went through my mind this time, let us just say I was not well pleased. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a firearm not go ‘bang’ when I’ve pulled the trigger, so having one fail on me at a critical time is worse than frustrating. Fortunately, I have other options. I was about to switch over to the bolt-action .22 LR, and in fact had swapped the AR for it and had laid it on the firing line when my employer stepped up and offered me the use of a beautiful match-grade M1 Garand for the day- with ammunition. Those of you with lesser employment options, I feel your pain. This is my definition of a ‘good employer.’ I accepted his offer before he could change his mind, got set up just in time to hear the command of ‘load for 10 rounds.’ I had never before seen a Garand clip for 2 rounds, but it was pretty obvious how it worked, so I loaded it and one for 8 rounds, and was good to go. This time, I got a satisfying BANG and felt the welcome recoil of the bigger rifle when I pulled the trigger, and to my utter surprise found when we checked targets that I had put all rounds in the prescribed 1” squares on the target. Not bad at all for a new rifle with no warm up time, and surplus ammo. Things were getting better. Better yet, I was learning things I’d heard about but never tried. High on that list was the proper use of a military sling, which to be honest I had doubted the use of. Not any more. The safety boss and coach on my end of the firing line was a motherly woman named Jennifer, who while not correcting me for forgetting to put in a chamber flag or having the rifle on safe spent her time reminding me to keep my elbow vertical under the stock and properly using the sling to increase accuracy. If you have not learned this skill yet, by all means try a Appleseed shoot. This alone is worth the money spent. This continued until the first break, where I got to meet some of my fellow shooters, and I was not at all surprised to find them to be unfailingly polite, nice, salt of the earth people. I am not sure where all these potential terrorists the homeland insecurity types are looking for are at, but they certainly aren’t to be found where they insist on looking. Back to shooting, and I’m learning the hard way the other big mistake I’ve made for the day: I really, really, should have found a pair of elbow pads. Even with the double padding from the shooting mat and foam pad, I’ve skinned my elbows pretty good, and the day isn’t half over. I don’t notice much, as I’m having so much fun. Either from fatigue or age however my groups are getting larger, but not embarrassingly so. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent this much time firing prone, and I’ve never been one to shoot from the sitting position, but for a middle aged fat guy I’m not doing badly. And as much as everyone wants to fire perfect groups in front of the other shooters, this isn’t the idea: you are supposed to learn from mistakes, not be perfect. In this respect I learned a lot. I have a tendency to allow my support arm elbow to move ‘out’ which gives diagonal groups (from high left to low right) and coupled with improper breathing control (you should not hold your breath, as I have often made mistake of doing, but time the trigger squeeze to have the tigger break as you have fully exhaled and before inhaling.) Coupled together, I got a couple of groups that looked like a line from a tic-tac-toe game. This is good, now that I know what I was doing wrong, I know how to correct it. As we say in the repair business, you can’t fix it until you know what’s broke.

For those of you that are sitting back laughing heartily at the AR-15 failures, and wondering when I’ll get a ‘real’ rifle like a Garand, I have one more lesson to pass along. Ye old wonderful M1 started having problems near the end of the day. The mil-surp ammo had been around a long time, and was producing some heavy smoke with each shot. Also, some of the rounds near the bottom of the can had some green corrosion. For what ever reason, during the last strings of fire it began to have problems. I got a good crash course on clearing malfunctions, but near the end I was having more fail to fires and misfeeds than rounds fired. So I guess at least for now I’m a cook in Fred’s eyes, but not to worry- I will be back, and I will be back with better preparations and with knowledge of what to expect and how to be ready. (yes, that will include the addition of an M1 to the arsenal) And that, friends, is exactly why I went down there: to learn from mistakes, both my own and others. I learned the lessons well, and I am a better shooter for it.

Thanks Fred, you are a true patriot in the truest sense of the word. Keep up the good work. As is my new employer, a pity we don’t have more folks like him in the business world.

Before I get back into the hot and heavy topics of the day, with your kind indulgence I’d like to warm up to writing posts again with another story from the past, on a topic that is near and dear to me. Also, this is a good subject for this time of year, as the warm weather brings humans into contact with wildlife of all sorts-sometimes with amusing results.

I have, like most normal people, a great respect and love of the outdoors and wildlife. Unlike most ‘normal’ people, that respect and love extends to creatures not everyone cares about- such as possums, turtles, and snakes. It never ceases to amaze me at the reaction you can get from otherwise normal people by simply uttering the scary word ‘snake.’ A few of these people can be educated and overcome this irrational fear, but a lot of them are so emotionally terrified they can’t be reasoned with logically. (think Obama supporters) I suppose I might have ended up a ‘snake hater’ like these sad people, except for the wisdom of my late grandfather, C.M., whom we called grandpa. Proud owner of a family farm, and distinguished member of the Virginia Aberdeen Black Angus Society, my dad’s dad didn’t learn about wildlife by watching PBS or walking down a well-tended ‘nature trail.’ Nope, we learned about these things by getting dirty, sweaty, and trying to keep a bunch of stupid bovines from doing stupid bovine things. When grandpa learned that I had, on instructions from my grandmother, killed a magnificent adult blacksnake in the back yard, he gave me a serious talk on how things worked, including a visit to the feed barrel in the barn, and lessons on just how much poop the average family of mice could produce in said feed barrel, how much disease they could spread, and how rapidly they could multiply. (Get a calculator sometime and figure it out- 2 mice, 4 or 6 offspring per month and each of those offspring going forth and doing likewise- it is incredible.) This done, I was forbidden to kill any more blacksnakes, God’s perfect and insatiable mouse trap. Also, due to a bad case of asthma growing up, it was impractical for me to keep a cat or dog inside the house- so when ever grandpa ran across a turtle while cutting or baling hay, I’d get to keep it for a few days before turning it loose again where we’d found it.

Ok, enough background. Free couch? Here’s how you get a free couch….

As a result of working with some local groups, I was on the police and Sheriff’s Department call list for animal complaints involving reptiles. Every spring I’d get a bunch of calls as snake-fearing home owners ran across a little guy just waking up from hibernation. I enjoyed doing this sort of thing, for the most part, and tried to educate those who called on the realities of dealing with harmless reptiles. On this particular night, however, I’d get an added bonus. The Sheriff’s department dispatcher called my house (this was well before cell phones) and gave me the address of an elderly lady well out in the county who had seen a HUGE snake crawl into her sofa. (They were invariably HUGE snakes, even the 14” hatchlings were several feet long when described on the phone.) I got there as fast I could, as the dispatcher had told me the lady was quite upset. I arrived at a small but neat home with the back door standing open. I knocked anyway, and a high voice laced with fear bid me to come in. I stuck my head in the door cautiously, and to my utter amazement observed a little old lady perched on top of her kitchen counter, balled up in a defensive position with a large straw broom in her hand.

“Uh, you must be the person who called about the snake…” I ventured….
“I SAW IT GO INTO THAT SOFA. IT’S IN THE SOFA” this reply delivered at slightly less volume than a 747 at takeoff.
“Yes ma’m, I’ll be happy to check that out for you. Would it be alright for me to turn the couch over and look inside it?”
It was going to be an interesting night, I could tell that already. Often the problem on snake calls would be that the problem reptile would be long gone prior to my arrival, and no amount of conversation or education on my part would make the party who called feel any better about the situation. It looked like this would be one of those times. The lady was obviously very upset, well past the point of reasonable conversation, but I tried anyway as I pulled the bottom liner from the couch and matching chair, looking in vain for the source of her frustrations. After a reasonable amount of searching, I told her flat out that I believed the snake must have gotten out of the sofa before I’d arrived, and probably had gotten outside by now, thus no threat to her.
“Ma’am’, I’ve looked closely inside both the couch and the chair, and I can’t find anything. I’m sorry. I’ll be happy to come back if you see it again later.”
“I can’t find any snake in your couch.”
This was a nice couch- couldn’t have been more than a year or two old. But she was adamant. No amount of reasoning would change her mind. And, of course, she would not get off of the counter. That had to be getting cramped up there like that at her age. It wasn’t easy, moving and loading a couch and chair alone in the dark while trying hard to reason with a little old lady too terrified to be in the house with serpent-possessed furniture. But I did it. I left my name and phone number on the end of the counter, and asked her to call me when she wanted the furniture returned. She never did. I used that set for several years, and never once did anything more frightening than spare change come out of the bottom. I wonder sometimes how the little old lady explained things to the kids when they came over for Sunday dinner, and I have to smile. For what it’s worth, friends, remember this- anything you are that afraid of needs to be addressed. Go to the zoo, the nature science center, or google up a herpetological group in your area. Fear is overcome by training, and knowledge. Once overcome, it is no longer your master, but your servant. This is a good thing.

Yes, I still offer the service when needed. I’m also willing to help anyone willing to listen to overcome fear of reptiles or other creatures. Feel free to contact me if you need help.

Coming up later today: My first Appleseed shoot doesn’t go as planned- still learned a lot and had a ton of fun. (by 3 pm.)

My apologies for the lack of posts in the past month. The good news is, I am once again gainfully employed- something 14% of the folks in my area can’t say right now. Better yet, I am working for an excellent small business that is more than firearms friendly- they are rabidly supportive of freedom and the second amendment. The bad news is, of course, that with any new job comes an adjustment period-hence the lack of posts. But hopefully I’m getting to the point now where I can spare a few minutes per day to post some things here, hopefully to amuse and entertain my legions of readers- both of you.

In addition to the new employment, springtime has brought quite a few personal things to blog about- in such diverse fields as auto racing, electronics, survival, and even my first formal firearms training course. I hope to get to all of those in due course. Of course we’ll also have to visit the unpleasant reality of the overreaching massive federal government expansion, and the porkulus package.

As always, I welcome your suggestions and comments. One thing is for certain- we won’t be lacking for things to talk about in the coming days, I just hope the story has a happy ending.

Thanks for reading.

Posters by Oleg

If you are not already familar with the wonderful photography and pro-self defense works of Oleg Volk, by all means aquaint yourself with him at his website here.

Originally posted here.

My old grandpa said to me “son, there comes a time in every man’s lifewhen he stops bustin’ knuckles and starts bustin’ caps and usually it’swhen he becomes too old to take an ass whoopin’.”

I don’t carry a gun to kill people.I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

I don’t carry a gun to scare people.I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m paranoid.I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m evil.I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in theworld.

I don’t carry a gun because I hate the government.I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m angry.I carry a gun so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life hatingmyself for failing to be prepared.

I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone.I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, andnot on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.

I don’t carry a gun because I’m a cowboy.I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be acowboy.

I don’t carry a gun to make me feel like a man.I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and theones they love.

I don’t carry a gun because I feel inadequate.I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.

I don’t carry a gun because I love it.I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningfulto me.Police Protection is an oxymoron. Free citizens must protect themselves.Police do not protect you from crime, they usually just investigate thecrime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.Personally, I carry a gun because I’m too young to die and too old totake an ass whoopin’.…author unknown (but obviously brilliant)

That pretty much sums it up for a lot of us...

The local Newspaper reports today that traffic deaths are down somewhat, and the obligatory 'expert' attributes this decline to high gasoline prices and people driving less. I'd like to point out that the article speaks only in the most general terms, giving little specific information on numbers, or even percentages. No specific traffic 'accident' is ever mentioned, nor are specific 'victims.'

For the hoplophobic folks out there, I'd like for you to take a minute and compare such coverage to your average 'gun death' story. For starters, you will observe that you pretty much hear about every single person who is affected by a criminal with a gun in the story. You will also hear about shootings, or attempted shootings, or people who may have been thinking about shooting, all over the entire country, and lately in Mexico as well. Relatives will be tearfully interviewed, questions will be asked about 'how could this have happened' and 'why doesn't somebody (the government, of course) do something?'

Now, check out the nearest story about a traffic death. Quite a difference, wouldn't you say? As a former (and still part time) professional driver, let me say first I hate seeing the word 'accident' used as frequently as it appears in traffic death stories. An accident, by definition, is something that could not be prevented. Outside of a bit of the space station crashing onto the interstate or an earthquake, most traffic situations are quite avoidable if you drive with care. The tens of thousands of bodies mangled and killed on the highways each year are almost always the result of someone driving like an idiot. Often, said idiot has a long and storied history of violations and accidents, more than a few are driving with a revoked- or never held- license.

Let's try this sometime: the next time we have an 'assault vehicle death' let's ask the Newspaper why they didn't interview every relative who just lost a loved one, or why that particular car isn't banned for being a threat to public safety. Ask why such a car owner was allowed to go to any dealership without a government background check and allowed to purchase any high capacity SUV without any waiting period, training, or being fingerprinted. Yeah, I'm serious. Be sure and point out that if you added up every single person killed by an 'assault weapon' by a civilian in the history of the United States, you'd still not equal even a single year's motor vehicle deaths.

One of the biggest enemies to freedom in the current political climate is the socialist media. A close second is the public indoctrination school system. The two are closely related. Fortunately, both of these groups are populated mostly by cowards. They will back down if confronted by a large dose of public opinion. That's where the common folk have failed. You need to speak up, loudly, confidently, and often. Write a letter to the local paper, television news, or radio station. Very few people bother to do this, and that makes even a single letter stand out. Be polite, confident, have your facts carefully checked. Do this, and I promise you will walk a little taller, and feel a little prouder when you do.

If you have been watching the national or mainstream news much the past few months, you are probably about ready to call the United States of America deceased. You would have valid reason for doing so, what with the banks failing, GM either taken over by the Feds or bankrupt (who do you root for in that fight, anyway?) and of course the eviiil corporations on Wall Street and elsewhere that the elites would have you believe are the source of all our woes.

I'm here to tell you it ain't necessarily so.

Yeah, times are rough right now. But we've been through tough times before. I've spoken to some elderly folks about the great depression a great deal lately, and they have told me what we are doing now doesn't hold a candle to what happened then. Those folks survived, and brought us the greatest, wealthiest nation in the history of the world. Any historian will tell you that the War between the States in the 1860's pretty much determined what kind of nation we live in now. We lost a half million lives in that conflict, decimated the infrastructure and way of life of over half the country, and shredded a good portion of the Constitution. Yet we rebounded, overcame the difficult reconstruction period, and became a superpower in a little over one lifetime.

The trick in times like these is to not listen to those who preach gloom and doom. Instead, look for opportunity. Wouldn't you have liked to been around in 1930 and bought some stock in Boeing Aircraft? Or the dismal days of Jimmy Carter in the late 70's and foreseen an upstart company building software under the funny name of Microsoft? Yeah, hindsight is 20/20. But I promise you the American spirit isn't dead yet, and somebody out there is working on the next 'big thing.' The trick will be spotting it first, or coming up with it yourself, and being ready to jump on it. That's all there is to it- be at the right place at the right time. A lot of people are going to suffer mightily for the current problems. If you are not one of the people who bought a house you can't afford, or have way too much debt, however, there will be opportunities as well. As a baseball coach told his team once: "put the ball where they ain't." It's as simple as that.

Just way too much bad news in the country today, I just have to lighten the mood a bit. Hope this one helps:

For those of you that do not follow racing, F1 is the fastest of the fast, the most advanced cars on the planet. Driving a passenger car, you can tell Riccardo Patrese is not even pushing the car much- engine isn't even reving much. Not that extreme G-forces, either- even his wife is not moving around much. (Probably wanted to make sure he stayed married!) Imagine what it would be like if he'd really pushed the car to the limit- F1 drivers routinely pull over 5 g's in turns, and acelerate from 30 mph turns to 220 mph straights in seconds.

Oh, forget all that. The one "MAMA MIA" with added hand gestures pretty much says it all.

The worst part of getting older, is watching the people who made the songs of our youth go the way of all Flesh...

Dan Seals was 61, and died from complications of cancer (lymphoma)

I know, I know- I haven't been at this long enough to slow down already. Unfortunately earning a living in these perilous times must come first, and I've been lucky enough to find employment that pays well above the average for my area, not an easy task when the unemployment rate for my county currently is the 3rd worst in the state. So please accept my apologies for not posting the next few days, and I will try to do a good one this weekend.

If you have not done so already, please feel free to read some of the prior posts archived on the left.

Thanks again for taking the time to visit my humble home here in blogland, I do appreciate your company.

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