Don’t Run, We Are Your Friends.

The whole “nobody is trying to take your guns” mantra has always struck me like this:

It has always been so glaringly obvious that they are in fact trying to take away our guns, despite the lies seeping from between their teeth. During the 2008 Presidential Election, I commented to a coworker my concerns over upcoming gun control measures. My coworker shook his head and said, “every time a Democrat gets elected to office the conservatives think they’re going to ban guns.” And where would we ever get that idea?

The real question is why do they think we’re so stupid? Don’t run, We are your friends. Nobody is trying to take your guns away. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? These are not the droids you’re looking for. We still know alarmingly little about our current sitting president’s history, but we do have a very clear picture of his stance on guns. It was obviously only a matter of time before the administration took on gun control as a pet project. Despite their best efforts, our representatives are actually doing their job and have blocked unsavory and unpopular legislation to limit our rights. Obama has not hidden his disappointment at all and in fact has pouted about the defeat.

Obama-gun-amendment-angry

But still, nobody is trying to take your guns. Right.

OK SDA

Recently, renewing my carry permit has been in the back of my mind, as it has been almost five years since my permit was issued. There have been more pressing things to attend to, and I got sidetracked, but I started researching what I needed to do when we got back from the NRA Convention in Houston. My permit was set to expire in about five weeks. The state’s website advises that the renewal application may take 60-90 days to process. Crap. It also reads that one may apply for renewal within 90-days of expiration. They do allow a 30-day grace period after expiration, but apparently we’re supposed to get our application in exactly 90-days prior to expiration. Lovely. So, Jennifer and I got our applications sent in last week. Her original permit got issued after mine, so she should be in her grace period when her new permit comes in, if they take as long as they are rumored to. I, on the other hand, will likely have to leave my gun at home for a couple of weeks. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably had some idea that this was going on.

This morning I got a letter in the mail from the OSBI. Surely that couldn’t be in response to my application already! I felt the envelope, and it clearly didn’t contain a renewed permit, but only paper. Surely they didn’t already review my renewal application and find some reason to not issue me a new permit! I don’t know why I get so paranoid when it comes to these dealings. I tenuously opened the letter. It appears to be an auto-generated letter sent to notify me that my permit expires next month and that I should apply for renewal. *head scratch* It seems to me that this would be significantly more useful if they sent them out 90-days prior rather than 30-days prior to expiration, considering that if one waits until the last few weeks, one is pretty well guaranteed to be out of a permit for a while. And, if they’re not going to be any more helpful than that, why even waste the paper and postage? There’s our tax dollars at work. *sigh*

UPDATE – Jennifer tells me that the payments to the state have cleared our account, so apparently they’ve received our applications and have done SOMETHING. I’ll update you when we see permits.

Soft Drinks, Artificial Sweetener, and Childhood

This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.

A Rossi? Really?

I have not been a fan of any of the products of the Taurus group in the past. Sorry, Gabe. I’m not hating. You’re gun is still cool. I have a dear friend who purchased a model 10 from a local pawn shop. It’s from the Bangor Punta era that we Smith fans are supposed to sneer at, but it is still a pretty sweet gun. Well… I have pined for a decent revolving carbine chambered in .357 Magnum. Or even better, .44 Magnum. And then…

croppedrevolver1

What? What do we have here?

croppedrevolver2

Umm… This appears to be a revolving carbine in .44 Magnum. In a bright blue. With walnut furniture.

croppedrevolver3

Yeah. We may just have to get one of these babies.

Don’t Text and Drive!

I have a solitaire app on my phone that I enjoy playing from time to time. On one of its ‘updates’, it started this annoying little habit of displaying an advertisement prior to dealing my cards. During deer season, this was particularly bothersome when it was a video commercial with sound. Fortunately, it’s usually just an image, or a video with a play button, as opposed to one that auto starts. For example, something like this:

dont text and drive

Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the car on the road when I’m trying to clear off some stupid public safety announcement so I can play solitaire?

Marketing Fail

Every now and then, I’ll see a store display that just stinks of some out-of-touch marketing mind doing something that they think will be clever, not taking into account reality or people or human nature. At the local office supply store, there is a Sharpie marker display that is set up as a try-before-you-buy affair. It is a colorful display with racks of markers in different colors, and at waist height, it has a paper scratchpad and a couple pads of Post-Its. One must be careful how they design a promotional store display. It is nothing short of laughable that whatever aforementioned marketing guru did not foresee the shortcomings in this otherwise clever marketing piece.

See, people can’t leave well enough alone. If you leave an opportunity to make havoc, someone will take you up on the offer. How many times have you seen a prank video based around the placement of a mysterious button, and the filming of passers by pressing it to see what will happen? Indeed, I would defy you to leave what appears to be a very large firecracker someplace with a lighter, and see how many people try to light it. It’s irresistible. As another example, on Sunday, one of the local grocery stores had a rack full of herbs. I could not help myself and had to do a little rearranging.

herbs

Are you going to the grocery store? Remind me to one who works there.
So, Sharpie has this great display where people can try out many colors of their permanent markers.

sharpie01

They even provided a little pad of paper for people to try out their markers on. There’s a sign over the paper that reads, “Try Me”. And surely, nobody would mark anywhere but the provided paper, right?

sharpie02

“Try Me” you say? Don’t mind if I do!

I’ve been watching this display for a while. When it first went in, although pristine, I recognized it for the degenerative folly that it would eventually become. Here’s part of the display which shows a picture of a little girl a few months ago:

sharpie07

And, more recently:

sharpie08

I <3 poop

LOL! Beware of the quips of marker wielding idiots! The differences are subtle, but clearly more artists have contributed as time has gone by. People even took the opportunity to mark on the shelving to the side of the display.

sharpie03

Here, you can see that someone wrote a greeting to the world not once, but twice, just in case the world wasn’t paying attention the first time. World, you’ve been greeted. And finally, there was at least one brony representing:

sharpie04

They at least had the decency to leave the message on one of the provided Post Its instead of defacing the display or store property. I realize that most of this graffiti is likely the work of under attended children, but it illustrates a part of human nature that never really goes away. As we mature, we learn to rise above it, but it never fades completely. We’ll always have that prankster that wants to press the button or rearrange the herbs or scrawl “I <3 poop" in a speech bubble on the Sharpie display. Note to all you marketing people out there; make your product labeling witty and humorous enough that your prospective customers won't want to deface it when their attention is drawn to it. awesomesauce

Because seriously, who would want to mess up a perfectly good jar of Awesomesauce?

Gay Marriage

At the risk of severely alienating some of my readers, I’m going to take a swing at this horribly controversial issue. A rough head count shows that about forty of my FaceBook friends have changed their profile picture to show their support for equal marriage rights. I’ve seen a lot of these:

gay equals

…as well as the gun/freedom bent varieties:

gay freedom

gay rifles 1

gay rifles 2

gay mags

…cullinary variations, of course:

gay bacon

gay butter

…disturbingly this:

gay penis

…and for the ultimate in head-scratching hilarity, the kittens flying over The Grand Canyon variation:

gay kitties

About half of those have switched to something else at this point. One of my friends even shared this video in which the young man speaking makes a very excellent argument for gay marriage as viewed through biblical scripture:

Of roughly 1,400* friends, this represents less than a 3% showing in the first place which has tapered off to just under 1.5%. I do not for one instant believe that support for gay marriage rights is this abysmally low. As much of a stupid cliche as it is, I have friends that are gay. I’m not going to call them out as examples, as I feel that would be rude. I do feel that they have as much right to pursue happiness as the straight among us. I am of the opinion that the government has no place in my bedroom, and therefore it has no place in yours. I am not wholly convinced that a homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable**, but I don’t believe that it should be legislated out, nor do I think that my moral convictions or leanings should come into account in a consensual act between adults when I’m not included. I have told as much to some of my gay friends at one time or another, and they’ve taken it quite well.

I also have some friends who despite feeling homosexual attractions, practice relationships with people of the opposite sex. Through conversation, I have learned that this can be due to them having moral convictions concerning their lifestyle choices. I don’t know whether this is true for all of them, but it is for at least some.

You can’t help who you are attracted to, but you can choose what to do with that.

I’ve heard critics of this stance point out that these people are merely denying their own nature and pushing down the desires of their heart and body, but I don’t see it that way. If I did everything my body told me to without concern for my personal convictions as to what is right and wrong, my wife would have left me by now! Many people stifle dark desires that would land them in jail or get them killed. We are creatures of choice and free will. I will not say that this is the right lifestyle choice for everyone who has an alternative attraction going on, but I do believe that it is a valid choice for some, whose convictions dictate it. In being sensitive to the lifestyle choices of others, let’s be careful not to step on the toes of those who have made even more difficult lifestyle choices.

The older I get, I’m becoming more and more fiscally conservative and libertarian, which manifests in the form of social liberalism at times. I do not believe that my marriage certificate grants justification to my committed relationship to Jennifer, but I will admit that it does make taxes and a will easier, and I understand why homosexuals want the same benefits. So, despite my uncertainty, I do believe that they should have that as a choice. I do not believe that a church should be required to grant a wedding between members of the same sex if that goes against their beliefs. There are plenty of churches that would gladly opt in though, so I don’t anticipate that would be a problem. I don’t know what has or has not happened in the courts this week, because I haven’t been following that closely. But, I do hope that they’ll make the right choice.

*The actual number is 1,398. It was higher last week. I must have pissed someone off. LOL!

**And, that may have more to do with the fact that I personally find two dudes kissing to be gross, but then again, I’ve seen a lot of straight couples that I would not want to watch making out either.

Shotgunning

As many of you know, this past weekend was our second annual Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest. A splendid time was had by all. the turnout was smaller than anticipated, which I blame on the current ammo shortage combined with less than perfect weather. I literally had people straight up tell me that they weren’t coming because they couldn’t afford the ammo. Yes, I could have used less wind and another ten degrees of warmth, but it was still a lot of fun. Shortly after we arrived at the range on Saturday morning, with a glitter in his eye, Teen Bot asked me if I packed some 20-gauge shot shells.

Several years ago, I had bought a beautiful little Winchester 1300 in 20-gauge with the coolest youth furniture on it. This was a pawn shop find, barely used (if at all), with a vent rib and winchokes. This was one of those deals where I’d seen the gun previously, and we were going into the shop for another purpose. On the way, I commented, “if they’ll take $xxx for that gun, I’m going to buy it. Then when at the store, the owner offered to sell it for a price significantly lower than my proposed price.

The youth stock and fore end make this gun ideal for smaller statured people and children, which makes it an awesome new shooter trainer for our arsenal. When I bought it, Teen Bot was still small enough that I thought he’d get a lot of use out of it. But for whatever reason, the boy was completely frightened of any shotguns bigger than a .410. He would practice stance at home, and even mount up the empty gun, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with it on the range. Often he’d claim that he’d screwed up the courage to try it today, only to chicken out when we actually got in the open air.

This went on until one day, the three of us showed up on the property with nothing in the car but shotguns, bird shot, and a case of clays. I had Teen Bot operate the thrower for me for a bit, and then he said that he’d like to try that 20-gauge. And then, he was totally hooked. In short order, he was busting clays like a pro. Sadly, this timed poorly with his major growth spurt. He’s now nearly as tall as me, and the youth sized 20-gauge is a little on the small side for him anymore, after him putting a paltry 100 or so shells through it.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I dug around in the trunk for the 20-gauge with no success. I asked Jennifer if she had packed the gun, and she confirmed that she had not. She’d meant to, but she specifically remembers not packing that case. So, I asked Teen Bot if he’d like to try 12-gauge instead, assuring him that the recoil was not much worse. He tentatively agreed to give it a go. We don’t have a 12-gauge in the house that most people would consider an acceptable clay gun, and the first gun I grabbed was Jennifer’s Defender. Teen Bot shoved seven shells in the magazine and I started throwing clays for him. Again, he was busting clays and having a great time.

The boy is going to need a shotgun of his own. I knew this day was coming eventually. When I bought the 20-gauge, a big reason was so that he could start learning to use a shotgun, but it’s not a gun that I really saw him taking into adulthood as his. So, now I’m thinking about the economics of a decent, multipurpose shotgun. Remington 870s are fairly easy to source for around $400. You can get a brand new Mossberg for $200 or less if you are looking right. And, I still see like new Winchester 1300s between $250 and $350 on occasion. No, I’m not buying him a Kel Tec KSG with an EOTech mounted on it. His birthday is long past, so I’m going to have to figure out some occasion that will be appropriate for gift giving.

On Saturday, as I was handling clay targets, my life-long friend, Rob asked me how much a box of clays costs. I told him that I thought I usually paid around $10. He commented that shooting was an expensive hobby. I didn’t say much to that at the time. Shooting can get really expensive really fast. But, about $10 for a case of ~100 clays, and around $30 for a case of shot shells will keep a family entertained for a day. That’s cheaper than going to a theme park or even the theater, and it’s far better for exercising the body and mind, and bonding between participants. In the grand scheme of things, it probably one of the cheaper forms of entertainment, especially if you consider the benefits! And now, I wish that I was outside shooting clays instead of here at my laptop. Well, there really aren’t enough hours of work time before the weekend anyway.