Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

26 January 2013

Anti-Gun Rally in Washington D.C.

There was a rally in Washington D.C. today…an anti-gun rally. The Associated Press reported that “thousands” attended. Hmm, not “tens of thousands?” Just thousands? Not a very good turnout. Perhaps they should have waited for warmer weather.

As usual, the rhetoric was out in force, as well as some truly bizarre logic. About repealing the Second Amendment, one attendee from Maryland stated that repealing it was the only way to stop mass killings. The AP quoted him as saying, “You can repeal it. We repealed Prohibition.”

Say what? This genius wants to replace one prohibition that did not work with another? Just what kind of brain-damaged people live in the northeast, anyway?

It gets better! One of the speakers at the rally was Colin Goddard, who was shot four times during the infamous “Virginia Tech” shooting of 2007. According to the Associated Press reporter who wrote the story, Brett Zongker, “Goddard…is motivated to keep fighting for gun control because what happened to him keeps happening — and nothing's been done to stop it.”

Along those same lines was a woman named Kara Baekey in the crowd who’d come down to the rally from Connecticut. Why did she come to the rally? Listen to this bit of truly misguided and misinformed drivel from Ms. Baekey: “I wanted to make sure this never happens at my kids' school or any other school. It just can't happen again."

Look, I hate to break this to you all, but here’s the thing about shootings like those in Newtown, Connecticut and at Virgina Tech. Listen closely now…THEY WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. And there is NOTHING “the government” can do to prevent them. Hey, Mr. Goddard? The government cannot protect you from every conceivable harm. And umm, Ms. Baekey? NONE of these proposed new laws will do a damn thing toward preventing someone from waltzing into the school your kids attend and shooting up the place. Nothing. Sorry to have to tell you both that. I hope you’re not too distressed about living in a free country that is not a police state. (Not yet, anyway.)

I'm truly astonished at the lack of critical thinking expressed by Mr. Goddard and Ms. Baekey. Astonished! Banning “assault weapons” will not stop these shootings. Limiting the size of gun magazines will not do it. As long as there are guns in this country, more shootings will happen.

In the Associated Press article (which appeared in my Yahoo News feed), there was a picture of a woman holding a sign that read: “A gun should be very hard to buy.” Presumably, she means “by law-abiding citizens.” Which makes absolutely NO sense. Zero sense. “Law-abiding citizens” are not the ones going around shooting up colleges, movie theatre crowds and elementary schools.

Guns are already “very hard to buy” for criminals. And yet …somehow…inexplicably…they manage to obtain them! They do it in the same way that people obtain illegal drugs; they sure don’t go skipping down to your local CVS pharmacy and buy a kilo of weed or an ounce of coke.

People really need to wake up and get to work on the real cause of these shootings. We need to try to bring our culture back from the place we’re at now, which is an environment which glorifies war and violence. And yes, we glorify war, just admit it. Every soldier is a “hero” now. We lionize the noble “warfighter” as someone to be admired and extolled. Since the end of WWII the U.S. has turned war into an Olympic sport at which we particularly excel if not dominate.  We love war.  It reinforces our smug, superior attitude that people in other countries seem to hate.

Oh, and you think we don't glorify and condone violence? By playing video games like “Call Of Duty,” young boys can vicariously experience what it “must be like” to be on a commando squad in a hostile land. The effects are quite realistic, at least visually. I've played it once - not my cup of tea. Call me a faggot but I get no thrill from pretending to kill people, not even "bad guys." But I'll tell you, it is quite disturbing to watch a person playing this game and seeing the palpable joy of killing they are feeling. It is, apparently, addicting.

And then we wonder why one of them goes crazy…some disaffected lunatic with an axe to grind grabs a real gun and goes out to exact his revenge on society and die in an awesome, romantic blaze of glory?

And then we blame the gun?


HERE is the article referenced above

20 January 2013

Boring Airline Safety Briefings

Anyone who’s ever traveled by airline has had to endure the dreaded pre-takeoff safety briefing telling us all how to buckle a seatbelt. I used to mock that “In the unlikely event of a water landing…” bit, until US Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger and F.O. Jeff Skiles proved that it actually could be done…could be done in a nice, calm river, that is. I’m still unconvinced that a “water landing” out in the open ocean would be anything but a…what’s the word…oh yeah, CRASH.

Anyway, some airlines have decided to spice up the safety briefing. Southwest Airlines, for example lets their flight attendants improvise and try to make the briefing more enjoyable.

More and more airlines are turning to prerecorded videos. And some of them are putting quite a lot of effort into them! Air New Zealand has done some of the most hilarious and well-produced in history. I've blogged about their risque "Nothing To Hide" body-paint video before, HERE.

But Air New Zealand has done others! In THIS ONE, called "Fit To Fly," the disco-themed briefing is given by Richard Simmons and has a cameo appearance by Phil Keoghan of TV's “The Amazing Race.”

But please watch this incredible and astonishing safety video linked to "The Hobbit" movie.



My favorite has to be the salute to the All-Blacks rugby team below.



Here in the U.S., four years ago Delta Airlines came out with a new safety video series featuring one of their very pretty flight attendants named Katherine Lee. It's a fairly standard "cookie-cutter" briefing...until the 1:50 point when they cut to a close-up shot of Katherine (who became known as "Deltalina" due to her resemblance to Angelina Jolie) saying, "Smoking is not allowed on any Delta flight." The comment is accompanied by a stern, motherly wag of her index finger at us.

This little moment catapaulted this briefing into airline traveler fame and notoriety. The YouTube version of the video had 300,000 views before it was ever seen on an airplane! Currently it's got over 2.8 million views. Watch...



So some time has passed and Delta updated their safety briefing videos. Not only updated but they decided to up the ante. Obviously taking their cue from Air New Zealand, Delta chose a new presenter and went for a more humorous approach. The result is hilarious. It's full of little comedic bits and stuff going on in the background that you might miss. Watch for the little pictogram warning sign that cautions, "No chainsaw juggling." What?

One of the things that forever endears this video to me is the no-smoking advisory. As the flight attendant tells us in narration that smoking is not allowed, the camera cuts to a tweedy, bearded coach passenger with a pipe. Sure enough, there she is...a civilian Deltalina sitting in a nearby passenger seat, giving Mr. Pipe Smoker a wink and her trademarked finger-wag. What's this...Delta, making fun of itself?! Too much! Watch...



I love it when companies actually put some creativity into doing their business. I love it that some airlines actually try to get people to listen to the safety presentations instead of burying their faces in magazines. And I especially love it when a company can poke fun at itself.

All of the above videos are worth watching just for the fun of it. If you have some time, I urge you to search YouTube for the behind-the-scenes, outtakes and blooper videos for both Delta and Air New Zealand. The Delta one has some things that did not make it into the final cut that I think are funny enough that they should have been included.

These videos almost make me want to fly on the airlines again.

Almost. But not quite.

19 January 2013

Reducing Gun Violence

Okay, look, I get it. “Guns” is a very emotional subject for some. Especially for those who don’t like them – who view guns as horribly repugnant or just plain “icky” or who wish not only that they’d never been invented or that we could somehow eliminate them from society.

Newsflash: We can’t. Guns are here to stay. Sorry.

The twenty-something son of a friend of mine recently posted something on his Facebook page (the family lives up in Washinton D.C. by the way). He said that nobody needs to own an “assault weapon” and anyway that it only takes one bullet to kill most things. Needless to say he was for stricter gun regulations.

This is so typical of the liberal mindset: Nobody needs this or that sort of gun; they should be banned! Nobody needs a 30-round magazine; they should be banned! Liberals must feel that these steps would necessarily “reduce gun violence.” In reality, all they do is hinder the RIGHT of law-abiding citizens to own guns, something I need not point out which is protected in a little document called the Bill of Rights. You wanna change the Second Amendment? There is a procedure for doing so. Go ahead and try. Let us all know how far you get.

I posted a rebuttal on the boy’s page. First, I asked him to define what an “assault weapon” is. Then I asked the kid what gave him the right to choose what kind of gun I should or should not own and how I should use it? I bet that the kid had never fired a weapon in his life and suggested as nicely as I could that he is extremely na├»ve if he thinks that it only takes “one bullet” to kill most things. I added that I would suggest that he shut the fuck up – but that I could not force him to as his right to free speech is protected under the First Amendment, something I seriously doubt he’d ever want to change or even alter. He took all this as a “personal attack.” Bam, unfriended! Boo-friggin-hoo.

I believe “the media” is misrepresenting how the majority of Americans feel about guns. I often hear them projecting their own biases and opinions into their stories and comments – as if the Connecticut school shooting has galvanized the nation to believe that “more gun laws” are necessary.

I’ve got news for you: That’s incorrect. None of my gun-owning friends (and I have lots of them) have changed their opinion on “gun-control.” We pretty much all feel that there are enough gun laws as it is, thank you very much, and we’d like to see them enforced more diligently. We also don’t feel that ANY of the proposed new gun restrictions would have prevented the Newtown shooting or will prevent a similar event from happening in the future.

We gun owners don’t look at the NRA as some big corporation that only represents gun manufacturers. We know that the NRA represents *us*, its members. When Wayne LaPierre speaks, he speaks for me and the millions like me.

Look, I realize that we need to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people. But even under the new, restrictive laws like those in New York State, Adam Lanza’s mother still would have been able to purchase her guns! And so what if the kid only had seven rounds in his magazines? He would have simply carried more of them. Or used the two pistols he was carrying.

So what’s the point? Where does the “reducing gun violence” come in?

16 January 2013

Doing Something About Guns

Never mind all of the ginned-up media hysteria after any tragedy – set that aside for a moment. After an event like the shooting in the school in Connecticut we are moved to ask questions. Questions like, “How can we keep it from happening again?”

What if the answer is, “We can’t.” Would you feel frustrated? Would you be pissed?

“No, that cannot be, Bob. There must be something that can be done to prevent such acts.” And so everybody, from the President on down to the man-on-the-street wants to DO SOMETHING! right away. Or have the government DO SOMETHING! Knees are jerking! New gun laws are being crafted as we speak. Because it’s the gun that’s being demonized. If only there weren’t so many damn guns…

The sad truth is that if we look at this Newtown school shooting and events like them, there is NOTHING that could have been done to prevent them. Why is this so hard for some people to accept? Insane people will do insane things. And exactly NONE of the new laws being considered (or passed in the case of New York State) would have done anything to prevent Adam Lanza from shooting up that school. None of the thousands of gun laws already on the books kept Dylan Klebold and his buddy Eric Harris from obtaining guns illegally and shooting up their Colorado high school. Nor will any new gun law prevent these things from happening again.

Really.

Banning certain types of weapons only means that insane people will use other types of weapons. Limiting the size of the magazines (“clips”) only means that shooters will carry more magazines. This is not rocket science, folks.

New York’s Governor Cuomo finally defined an “assault weapon.” It is one, the state says, that has a “pistol grip.” That’s it, a pistol grip. What? Yep, you read that right. Basically, Governor Cuomo is banning the AR-15 from his state. Did I mention that Remington Arms, which has been manufacturing guns since, like…forever is located in New York State? And Remington makes a version of the AR-15?

I know, I know, sarcasm does not help my case…whatever “case” I’m trying to make.

Which I guess is that all these proposed new gun laws are just silly. Their official intent is to “reduce gun violence!” but they do nothing of the sort. Maybe they make you feel good. They should not. For you are just as likely to become a victim of “gun violence!” as you were before Governor Cuomo passed his stupid law. Oh, and there’s more to it than banning the AR-15. New York now has a limit on the number of bullets a rifle can hold. That number is seven.

In a former post, I showed you a weapon…the Ruger 10/22…a semi-automatic rifle that does not have a pistol grip and yet has a 10-round magazine that holds basically THE SAME ROUND as the AR-15 – just a lower-power version of it. (And yet this would not be an “assault weapon” in New York.) Astonishingly, owners of the larger, old-style magazines have one year to sell them out of state. (I wonder if some anti-gun governors of the other 49 states - like Connecticut, maybe? - are saying to themselves, “Thanks a lot, Governor Asshole!”) What If you do not get rid of your ten-round mags? Well, Governor Asshole is making you a criminal. Does this make ANY sense to you? To me it does not. You’re taking law-abiding citizens and turning them into criminals. Great.

I’d love to sit down with Governor Cuomo and ask him just exactly how his new bill will prevent a future Adam Lanza from doing what the last one did. I’m sure his answer would be, “Well Bob, you see, we had to…do…something…”

14 January 2013

How Guns Are Perceived

There is a blogger I read, although I don’t know why. This guy is a flaming fucking idiot. He has been a “travel writer” for the New York Times and he considers himself something of an expert on all things travel-related, including aviation. And now, evidently, guns. He writes a lot about guns. Most of what he writes is pure, Class A bullshit. He routinely mixes up fully-automatic weapons with semi-autos, leading his readers who may not know any better to assume that all “assault rifles” are fully-automatic machine guns or that a semi-automatic rifle can fire bullets any faster than my semi-auto pistol - neither of which is true.

His latest scribblings concern the newspaper up north that published the names of all gun permit holders in a given county. Here is what the blogger wrote:

“The newspaper has exhibited no sign that it is truly interested in reporting on genuine gun issues, such as the proliferation of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, or the disturbing gun culture…”

First of all, can SOMEONE please tell me what an “assault weapon” is and how it differs from a regular rifle?

Let’s take bullets! The Bushmaster .223 fires what is basically a .22 caliber round that measures…sit down now…5.7 millimeters in diameter. Just over FIVE MILLIMETERS. Do you understand how small this is? Now, admittedly, any gun can kill and it was a .22 caliber handgun that was used to kill Senator Bobby Kennedy. So I’m not saying that a .22 is not deadly. It’s just that in the grand scheme of things the .22 round is tiny.

And granted, the rifle bullet is propelled at a high rate of speed, yes. Muzzle velocity of guns like the Bushmaster/AR-15 are around 2,700 to 3,700 feet per second depending on the weight of the round selected. Bullets within the same caliber often come in different sizes (weights).

But now let’s look at handguns. My Glock pistol fires a .40 caliber bullet that measures 10mm, almost twice the diameter of the .223 round. My Glock is loaded with hollowpoint ammo which is designed to “mushroom” and expend its energy when it hits an object. The bullet comes out of the barrel at somewhere around 1,000 to 1,200 feet per second. This is comparatively slower than the rifle, but just as deadly at close range, perhaps even more so and certainly not less so.

FYI, the diameter of a .45 caliber bullet is 11.5mm. Most .45 caliber pistols hold eight rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber.

And people are worried about “assault weapon” bullets? Really? It’s silly.

Okay, let’s move on to the high-capacity magazine objection. As I have said many, many times, the solution to any law that restricts magazine capacity is to simply carry extra loaded magazines. Problem solved! Perpetrators of “mass shootings” plan these things out. They don’t just impulsively grab the nearest AR-15 and go shoot up a mall or a movie theatre or a school.

Finally, there is what the blogger referred to as the “disturbing gun culture” in this country. He disparagingly refers to gun owners as “gun-nuts.” What he is saying is that anyone who owns a gun must therefore be crazy.

I would love a world that is peaceful…a benevolent utopian paradise where everyone is simply concerned with the benefits of “the tribe” and looks out for the welfare of one another. How wonderful that would be! A world in which there were no crazy people nor violent acts…a world where guns were never invented.

But I don’t live in such a world. I live in the real world. And in the real world, there are bad people. Crazy people. And some of them have guns. Trying to keep those guns out of their hands is simply ludicrous. Impossible.

Our “disturbing gun culture” goes right back to the very beginning of this country. We wrestled this land from the British, and the way we did it was with guns in the hands of ordinary citizens. As a nation we have grown up knowing the gun as a tool for self-defense, hunting and sport. To call it a “disturbing gun culture” exhibits a colossal lack of understanding of the people that make up America.

I guess that everybody in the U.S. lives in a big city now…in supposedly “civilized” areas where the perceived need for a gun is small and people who own guns can be looked down upon as “gun-nuts.” Yeah. Tell that to the teachers and students who were cowering in abject fear for their lives as a madman with a rifle worked his way through their school killing people indiscriminately and without opposition.

Now tell me how ANY new law that makes guns harder for law-abiding citizens to own would have prevented that from happening.

12 January 2013

Even More On Guns!

In an earlier post, I excoriated attorney, Irv Pinsky for his intended lawsuit against the State of Connecticut in relation to the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Apparently Mr. Pinsky has had a, um, change of heart. He has dropped the suit. Maybe it had something to do with the fifty death threats he received. Maybe it had something to do with the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association's disapproval of his plan. They publicly called it "ill-advised;" we can only imagine what they told him privately.

Read the article HERE

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The WAR ON GUN VIOLENCE seems to be waged only in the media. Most of the talking heads on TV are liberal anti-gunners who simply cannot keep their bias from coming through. They cluck their tongues and roll their eyes, trying to make us believe that the whole country supports banning guns now. They talk about the NRA as if it is merely some disconnected monolithic corporate entity, forgetting the millions of American citizens...law-abiding gun owners (like me) who are NRA members and for whom the the organization speaks.

But even politicians are backing away from any real restrictions. Vice President Joe Biden's committee will not be suggesting that President Obama ban "assault weapons" (something the president is anticipated to do anyway).

Here's the problem: What is an "assault weapon?" Most people do not know, and indeed there is no real definition of one. It's kind of like the old definition of pornography given to us by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: "I know it when I see it." Which doesn't help us much when it comes to firearms.

We see ominous-looking rifles like the infamous Bushmaster .223/AR-15 and, because we've seen one too many Rambo movies we might be tempted to assume that these are "machine guns" capable of continuous fire. They are not.

The civilian "semi-automatic" AR-15 only fires one single bullet with each trigger pull. Just like my semi-automatic Glock pistol.

Look at this rifle below. It is the Ruger 10/22.


Looks like a "normal" (i.e. non "assault weapon") rifle, eh? But do you know that it is a "semi-automatic" rifle and normally contains ten bullets in its magazine? There are magazines available on the aftermarket that hold up to 50 bullets.

So banning "assault weapons" because they look nasty is just stupid.

We already have enough gun laws on the books, thank you. But if you want to do something, try putting a restriction on the size of the magazine that a rifle can hold. That might make Mr. and Mrs. Joe Public feel better. Hold on! I said "try putting" because what's to stop someone from ordering a high-capacity magazine that is manufactured and sold overseas and having FedEx deliver it to your door? (FedEx doesn't open every package to see what's being shipped.) But...but...Bob, doing such a thing would be illegal! Yes. But remember, criminals generally don't care about what's legal and what's not.

And regardless, it's so easy and quick to change magazines that even if they were limited to ten rounds it would not matter much to someone who wants to kill a bunch of people. Just carry more loaded mags with you. Reload!

So a restriction on magazine capacity is stupid.

Rational people know that there is almost nothing the government can do to stop horrible random acts of violence. NONE of the proposed gun laws would have had any effect at all on the number of deaths in any of the recent "mass shootings." As long as guns are legal in this country (and trust me, they always will be), such an event will surely happen again, and no amount of hand-wringing, posturing or new gun law is going to change that.

Rational people know this. Radical extremists, like that loony Senator Dianne Feinstein are the ones who are completely out of touch with reality. Her call for a national gun registry is simply insane. It tells me that she knows very little about the American people or its history or culture.

03 January 2013

Idiots and Morons

Why do we even bother reading these “pundits” whose columns appear in our local newspapers? They’re often so full of shit that it boggles the mind.

Take Cal Thomas. Please. His column regularly runs on the right-hand side of the Pensacola News Journal/Birdcage Liner’s editorial page. In today’s essay he talks about evil and our duty to acknowledge its existence. Specifically he is referring to the recent Connecticut school shooting. He mentions obvious solutions, like locked doors and armed guards, but then he says:

"Sandy Hook’s doors were reportedly secured, but the shooter still managed to somehow gain access."


Umm, say what? “…Managed to somehow gain access?” Yes, that’s what he said.

Had Cal Thomas not read anything about the incident?? Does he *not* know the type of weapons Adam Lanza was carrying?? For it was widely reported at the time that “the shooter,” shot his way through the locked doors of Newtown Elementary School to gain access. “Somehow?” That’s how. Unbelievable, I know; I never would have figured that out on my own.

There is more to Thomas’ idiotic ranting, but I’ll leave it at that.

When I read the words of supposedly-smart idiots like Cal “I’ve written ten books!” Thomas and that moron, Charles Krauthammer, I’m reminded of the words of Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist: “I believe that a scientist looking at non-scientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

You know, maybe we’re all just “the next guy.” And if that’s the case, maybe *I* should have my own newspaper column. I'm just as good at writing crap as Cal Thomas.

02 January 2013

Gun Control

In a recent Letter to the Editor of our local paper, a woman wrote, “I read with amazement that folks around here made a panicked rush on gun stores to buy assault weapons and ammo sufficient to blow people into several pieces with one spray of their gun.”

Okay, here’s the problem: 1) Apparently, many people still believe that assault weapon = automatic rifle = machine gun; and that 2) You can skip on down the road to any ol’ person who has one of these machine guns for sale, and then buy it and “spray” innocent people with them, blowing them into several pieces.

Exactly NONE of these things are true. An assault rifle still only fires ONE bullet when the trigger is pulled. Real “automatic weapons” have been banned since 1986.

But people believe what they want to believe.

I have challenged my anti-gun friends and relatives to come up with ONE practical new law that would have made a tiny bit of difference in any of the recent public shootings…from Columbine to Aurora, Colorado, to the Oregon mall shooting, to the Connecticut school shooting. Please tell me ONE law that, if enacted would have prevented a SINGLE death in any of those cases.

So far, I hear only crickets.

We “pro-gunners” have already shown that Adam Lanza could easily have killed just as many kids in that Connecticut school if he’d used the two pistols he was carrying – EVEN IF they were loaded with the smaller, 10-round magazines.

After horrible events such as those listed above, there is usually a great hue and cry for the government to DO SOMETHING! to “prevent” them from happening again. In the case of these public shootings, there is usually a loud cry for “GUN CONTROL!”

And so I ask…AGAIN…for suggestions as to laws which would have made a difference in any of the last shootings, and that would make any difference in any future shooting.

For me, “gun control” is a practiced, comfortable shooter with a steady hand.

I’m serious, all you gun control advocates: what would YOU suggest? Most of you apparently don’t even know what an “assault weapon” is.