Firearms VS. My Skull

Shotgun

Have you ever had your head blown off with a 12 gauge shotgun?  I have, almost, and it still gives me shivers when I’m reminded of it!  Actually, that’s a silly question.  If you’d had your head blown off, you wouldn’t be here, answering this silly survey.

Children in my small hometown owned weapons. 14, 15, 16-year-old boys possessed rifles and shotguns.  It was not unusual, of a warm, sunny summer Saturday, to see a group of armed youths, ‘going hunting’, if hooting and yelling, and telling jokes while clomping through the near-by woods could be called hunting.  All the animals were hiding behind trees and snickering.  The only things that got shot were trees and fenceposts – or old appliances and food tins, if we reached the city dump.

One well-armed wight once boasted of ‘bumping off a chickadee’, as if he were a mob hit man. From a distance of 20 feet, he blasted away with a 12 gauge shotgun, leaving nothing but a fine pink mist.  He was also the genius who found an arm-thick, wild apple tree amongst the evergreens, and ‘chopped it down’ using three blasts to its base.

The rifles we owned were mostly little .22 caliber plinkers, capable of very little serious damage. Those who carried 12 gauge shotguns though, were far more dangerous.  .22s are only 22/100ths of an inch wide.  Even .45s, a large handgun shell, are less than half an inch.  12 gauge though, is .730 inches in diameter. And the power comes from the ‘squared’ portion of the Pi/R/Squared formula.  See the size comparison below.

Gauge

I had moved away to get a job, and had returned for Christmas. I’d been able to get presents for my Mom and Dad, but admitted to him that I had no idea about what to get my brother.  He told me that my brother wanted to be armed like his friends for ‘hunting season’, and also told me where there was a bolt action shotgun for sale, much like the one at the top, only in far better shape.

Bolt-action, for a shotgun, is quite rare. It cocks, ready for the next shot, when you lift the bolt handle, rotating a wedge-shaped section backward.  After you manually insert another shell and close the bolt, it is fired by pulling the trigger, to release the spring-loaded portion….usually.

After I had presented it to him on Christmas Day, the brother oohed and aahed over it, and took in into his bedroom, ‘to put it away in his closet.’ I had a small repair chore to do for my Dad, and stepped out into a shed, attached to the back of the old, frame house, with a work area in it.

I was standing close to the house outer wall, with a file and screwdriver in my hands. Suddenly, there was a loud bang, and my head and shoulders stung from small impacts.  I thought at first that a two-bulb, 4-foot fluorescent light fixture had exploded in the cold….but no, I still had light.

I turned, and there was a head-sized hole in the wall, right beside my head.  I could see my brother inside, with the shotgun in his hands, and a dismayed expression on his face.  By the time I’d left home, I’d acquired almost 300 hours of gun-handling and safety training.  Not so my brother, and his gun-toting friends.

He just HAD to know how the gun operated, and inserted a shotgun shell.  Apparently the gun had a 6-inch split, at the back of the barrel.  Instead of cocking, as the bolt was raised, it allowed the cocking cam to slip out of a groove, machined into the barrel, and hang up on the barrel’s rear edge.  When the bolt was pushed forward, it stretched the firing spring, and when the bolt was cranked down, to lock it, the cam snapped back into its slot, and suddenly flew forward, firing the gun.

A couple of fortuitous degrees of angle, or inches of difference in where he, and I, were standing, were the only things that prevented me from becoming a Wisconsin Swiss-Cheese-Head. The gun’s vendor had not wanted to lose a sale by mentioning the flaw, but had to refund my money, and got a good blast from both me and my Dad.  My brother never did end up owning a gun, and it’s probably just as well.

Do any of you have an almost-died story that you wish to share?  This is not my only one.  My brother also almost drowned the both of us one time.   😯  I’m alive and safe now, and look forward to hearing from you again soon.

 

 

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WOW #25

Embarrassment

“Twenty words that will show your age.” – That’s the title of one of Dictionary.com’s articles.  Another is, “Only kids from the 90s know these words.”  I was already feeling old, when I ran into….

BAGATELLE

Definitions for bagatelle

something of little value or importance; a trifle. a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue. pinball.

Origin of bagatelle Bagatelle came to English from French, from Upper Italian bagat(t)ella, equivalent to bagatt(a) “small possession.” It entered English in the 1630s.

And the bagatelle begat Pong. And Pong begat the video arcade. And the video arcade begat the game console, and people began to ignore each other, even sitting side by side. And the game console passed its mighty power unto the smart phone and the tablet. Mesmerised by the pretty blue screens, people began wandering around, bumping into each other, street signs, and mall fountains.

….I’ve got no finish for this post, just the usual random rant about the speed and scope of social and technological change – seemingly within a fruit-fly’s life-span – from mechanical to electric to electronic to digital, and soon, to quantum, from 6-volt cars to 12-volt, from 120-volt home appliances to 12-volt-transformer units, from incandescent lights, to fluorescent, to LEDs.

I’ve played a variety of pinball machines as a teen. Even younger, my parents gave me a Christmas present of a bagatelle. It was an undersized spring-loaded plastic replica of a 1911A Colt .45 caliber pistol, which fired pea-sized ball-bearings at targets enclosed by plastic dome, 18 inches away. It may have been the cause of my life-long love of the ‘look’ of the venerable, American-designed and made pistol. It was an inexpensive bagatelle game then, but if I’d kept it in good condition, I could have sold it to a collector for enough to finance my retirement now.

In my little hometown in the late 1940s and ‘50s, there were a few intellectuals who actually used the word ‘bagatelle.’ The phrase, “It’s a mere bagatelle.” might have been a requote of actor/comic W. C. Fields. Of course, the illiterate pond-scum that I was forced to hang around with said, “A mere bag o’ shells.” The informational value is almost the same – an inconsequential thing of little value.

Your visits and comments are not a mere bagatelle. What have you got to say about this dated old word?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRAINRANTS!

Birthday Cake

I sent BrainRants a birthday present!

From comments on previous years’ posts, I knew that BrainRants’ birthday was some time late in January. Using stalker senses honed by sticking my nose into Cordelia’s Mom’s business, I found a link to the employment consultant who was aiding him in obtaining suitable civilian employment.

She’s a lovely lady. Wanting to surprise Rants, I sent her a package, along with a note, asking if she could discreetly forward it to Mrs. BrainRants.  No black helicopters came winging north over the border, only an email saying, “Can do, and did!”

Rants’ new bride doesn’t know me from Santa Claus.  Inside the shipping envelope I included another note, asking if she could hand him the final package on the fateful day.  She obviously knows of his blogging, and coterie of blog-friends.

Perhaps the arrival of strange bundles, delivered in odd ways, isn’t all that unusual. All I know is that the FBI didn’t ask the RCMP to stop around and ask some pointed questions.

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During my ongoing housecleaning, I realised that I possessed two commemorative medallions, one bronze, the other aluminum, honoring astronauts, and the Apollo 11 and 12, 1960s Moon Missions. Knowing of Rants’ interest in science, NASA and the moon, I wondered if he might have any interest in them.

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I included a shield-shaped Canada shoulder patch which I picked up the day I went to photograph the tank and Spitfire.  I doubt that he has uniforms anymore.  The army made him turn all his stuff in.  He would only wear one for a special occasion, and the Maple Leaf patch would not be allowed because it is non-regulation.

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No cost was spared when I packaged his coins in the Costco box I received my membership-renewal Christmas gift card in.

While not ‘strange’, my plan was unexpected and unannounced. Mrs. Rants was apparently willing to go along with it.  She sneaked out an email to confirm that she had received his gift, and presented it to him.  I received another, from him, thanking me for my little piece of thoughtfulness.

This sending of physical packages and actual printed letters seems almost outdated in today’s electronic society. I couldn’t use a drone, because the DC area is a no-fly zone.  Somebody, perhaps Rants himself, would have shot it down.

If you haven’t already, drop in to his site, wish him a Happy Belated Birthday, and really make him feel old. I had hoped that another gift might be the ability to announce that he has secured gainful and productive employment.  We waited – but none of us as hard as him, and now everyone’s wish has been granted.  He scored a job – cube-drone trainee, working under Dilbert.  Still got the training wheels on. Good Luck, Rants, and thanx.  😎

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The presents, as they sit proudly in Rants’ house, at an undisclosed location in the Eastern USA.   😆

 

Triviana Fore

 

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation
I’m retired!!  It’s ALLLL vacation.

I received my WordPress email outlining my year.  I ignored it.  Last year I displayed my stats.  This year…Pfft!  I’m not disappointed; it’s just that guys like BrainRants and The Byronic Man get year-end notices that include the statement, “The population of the Earth is seven Billion.  Every one of them visited your site last year – twice!”  I think mine mentioned a Mini car….or was it an electric scooter?

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I found some money (what a surprise), and got panhandled for a bit of it – twice in one day.  If Ace is the place for Americans, Canadian Tire is the place for Canucks.  I went there with the wife to buy the grandson presents – tools he’ll need for his welding apprenticeship.

While she was dithering deciding, I ambled up the aisle.  I’m planning a post about written stuff I find on the floor/ground.  Halfway between me and an oncoming woman, there was something on the floor.  Probably just someone’s shopping list – but I hurried a bit, to get there first.  I picked up $15 – a ten and a five.

I went into a non-usual grocery store, and checked out the coin-counter machine, as I always do, and got 45¢ for my Scottish trouble, a quarter and two dimes.  The next day I went to my usual store, and was barely inside the door when some young colored female asked me for a dollar.  She was well dressed in figure-displaying clothing, but had a Muslim modesty scarf over her head.  Oh, that sexy hair.  That’s what guys go crazy for.

She and her friend had come in to purchase a single-use aluminum roast pan.  Probably going to cook up a camel haunch.  They had brought their little change purses, but had both left the big ones with the real money locked in the car.  The roast pan cost more than they’d thought it would.  They didn’t want to have to go all the way back to the car in a snow storm, and would I just give them a dollar.  Uh, NO!

The nerve!!  The absolute gall!!  I was about to tell her what she could do for a dollar, when I realized she already had.  This tale alone was worth more than the dollar.  As I left this store, I checked out their coin counting machine – and picked up another 45¢, this time a nickel and four dimes – including a 1952 silver, King George one to add to my collection.

silver dime

 

 

 

I went a quarter-mile down the road to another supermarket which carries a house brand not available elsewhere.  As I exited, I was accosted by a mid-20s male, slightly scruffy, but warmly dressed.  He politely asked if I could spare any change toward ‘bus fare.’  Yeah, right – but his girlfriend?, seeing that he had a big one hooked, came rushing over – on her power wheelchair.  Oh damn.

I kept the silver dime, but bought some Karma by giving them all the change in my pocket – not a lot, more than a dollar, perhaps less than two.

The wife and I shopped for groceries together one day.  The couple checking out – the guy ahead of us – and we were third in line.  As the first pair bagged up and left, the guy in front of me stepped forward, and onto, and then off, what appeared to be a coin.

I moved forward into the area he’d vacated, and bent forward slightly to see if it was a quarter I might later pick up.  Suddenly he was all in my face!

“What the FUCK are you lookin’ at??!  Just keep your goddamned nose out of my business!  I don’t want you snooping at my shit!  Just stand the FUCK back, asshole, and mind your own fucking business.”

Dear Lord!  Take a chill pill Bill.  Increase the medication dosage, and attend those court-ordered anger management courses.  Nosy??  Snooping??  Your business? – in a grocery store??  All for looking at a dirty spot on the floor?  Does your wife have you picking up panty liners, or are those yours Nasty Nancy?

Even my wife, who is usually judgemental and unsympathetic of my ‘shenanigans’, was amazed at this over-the-top paranoia performance.

General Motors recently sent me a letter, telling me that, if I attach a bowling ball to the keychain for my Chevy Impala, it may cause the jet engines to fail in midflight, and kill more than the AirAsia crashes.  Nice going idiots!  This 54¢ part recall has been going on for years.  I’ve owned this car for almost 11 years, and you finally got around to telling me that my vehicle is one affected.  I feel so cared for.  🙄

I had an awkward moment recently, when I wasn’t sure if I actually had some free time, or if I was just forgetting something again.

 

The Night Before Christmas

Angry Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Xmas and all though the house,
The whole God-damned family was drunk as a souse.
Grandma and Grandpa were singing a song,
And the kid was in bed, pulling his dong.

Ma home from the cat house, and Pa out on bail,
Had just settled down for a nice piece of tail,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutter, and fell on my ass.
The moon blushing down on the new-fallen snow
Gave a nice wholesome lustre to the objects below.

When there to my old blood-shot eyes did appear
A rusty old sleigh, and eight mangy reindeer.
With a ruddy old driver, holding his dick,
I knew in a flash the old bastard was ‘Nick.’

Slower than snails his eight reindeer came,
And he swore and he bitched as he called them by name.
“Now Prancer, now Dancer, up on the walls:
Quick damn it, quick, or I’ll cut off your balls!”

Then up on the roof he scrambled and fell,
He came down the chimney like a bat out of Hell.
He staggered and stumbled as he ran out the door,
Tripped over his bag, and fell flat on the floor.

But I heard him exclaim, as he rode out of sight:
“Piss on you all – What a Hell of a night!”

***

A little girl is in line to see Santa. When it’s
her turn, she climbs up on Santa’s lap. Santa
asks, “What would you like Santa to bring you for
Christmas?”

The little girl replies, ” I want a Barbie and
G.I. Joe.”

Santa looks at the little girl for a moment and
says, “I thought Barbie comes with Ken”.

“No”, said the little girl, “She comes with
GI Joe, she fakes it with Ken.”

 

Just a little serving of Holiday Cheer.  Are you getting into the Spirit?  Or just into the spirits??  I’m sitting here, having a few with my big fat neighbor, Round John Virgin.  He has a pair of pet caribou – a male he calls Bruce The Moose, as well as Bruce’s mate, Olive, the other reindeer.  Be sure to take a big bag of ‘Bah, Humbug’ with you.  You’ll need it when you’re wrapping those last presents.  😯

It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Commerce

Christmas Presents

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, November 11, after I stood quietly, respectfully, for two minutes, I stopped at a Dollar Store, and picked up a box of biscuits for the dog.  With my receipt, the clerk handed me a postcard sized form.  If I filled it in and dropped it off soon enough at a downtown office, I might earn a seat in the reviewing stand for the local Santa Claus parade – being held tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 15th.

I returned home to hear the son announce that he’d picked up his ticket for his firm’s gala Christmas Party – being held next Saturday, Nov. 22.  Dear Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s not even the American Thanksgiving yet, and we’re already hip deep in Christmas.  Welcome to the Festival of Conspicuous Consumption.  The decorations have been out, and the ‘Christmas Sales’ have been on since Halloween.  Even today’s crossword had 3-down – gift-bearing trio = Magi, and – guide for 3-down = star, although, admittedly, those are a little more Spiritual than the rest.

Canada is a bit ahead of The States.  We held our Thanksgiving last month, well before the behemoth that is the Holiday Season was on its tracks and starting to move.  We’ll still be ahead of them in a few years when the commercial season begins about the 4th of July, and we celebrate our independence on July 1.

Be sure to give the ‘Good Christians’ lots of room to ignore Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and secular atheism, and insist that their single day in the next two months of celebrations, is the only valid reason for The Season.

Allow the more militant among them a little extra swing room for when they U-turn, and insist that no-one should be allowed to have fun, or give presents, or engage in spiritual introspection, without their permission and participation.  Their cold, exclusionary Grinch’s hearts are well attuned to this icy time of year.

Armed with my CDs, I’m ready for the day, just over two weeks away, when the radio begins delivering nothing but all-Christmas songs, all the time.  I got a new keg of Bah Humbug on E-Bay, and will be downing the occasional shot to keep me topped up, as I help the wife assemble and bake Christmas Holiday cake and Christmas Holiday cookies.

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Four

Day 2/Part 1 – Forgetful Follies and Awful Aftermath

Since it was the son, Shimoniac, who was originally to accompany me on the Blogger Safari/Pilgrimage, I had not informed the wife about the lollipops I’d obtained, and forgotten to give to Cordelia’s Mom.  After we were in our motel room, I admitted my senile oversight, and we slept on what to do to correct the problem.

The next morning, the wife said that she felt well enough to drive back across town, to deliver them to CM’s house.  With a little help from Ethel GPS, and the knowledge I had obtained during yesterday’s high-speed chase, we made it safely.  I called her private cell phone because I didn’t have her work number, to tell her what we planned to do, but had to leave a voice-mail.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a guy. Men and women do things differently, as CM noted in a recent post.  I was just going to present the suckers in the plain white paper bag that the Mennonite vendor had put them in.

Walmart

 

 

 

The wife was horrified! Soon, we were in a WalMart, buying a small gift bag, and a Thank You card, and rainbow colored tissue paper.  The wife did all the social stuff, and soon had a pretty little package, almost as nice as the one CM had given us the day before, while I dragged my club around, bopping the occasional sabre-toothed tiger or woolly mammoth.

Judy's Manor

 

 

 

 

Using my Stalker Senses, I soon had us at the front door of CM’s modest little suburban cottage.  The turbo-charged soccer-mom van from yesterday was in the driveway, but I didn’t know how she commuted to work.  I pushed the doorbell, but heard neither a ding-dong, (Oh! – He was outside.) nor any movement.  I carefully placed the package between the doors, and headed for the car.

Suddenly, the front door flew open, and Tasmanian Niceness Devil came swirling out to meet us. She comes home for lunch each day to let new puppy, Cody out.  She’d called the motel, but we’d already left, and she just hoped to be there when we arrived.  The woman makes me tired just watching her.  She gets more done by nine AM, than I procrastinate all day.

We had another lovely get-together, which was sadly cut short because she had to get back to work, and we had a long way to go, and a short time to get there, and needed to be on the road. CM directed us on how to reach the Interstate, by telling us to go down her street for “a couple of blocks, and turn right on Delaware Road.  It’ll take you right to the up-ramp.”

A couple of blocks down the street, it was crossed by another narrow, ordinary, residential street, at an odd 60 degree angle, rather than 90, proving that not just Kitchener has strangely laid out roads. I couldn’t see a street sign, but, it seemed hardly the type of road to feed an Interstate onramp.  A ‘couple of blocks’ further on, I could see a big, six-lane road – that must be the one. Sure enough, I turned right on Delaware Ave, and a half-mile later, I sat at a traffic light at the base of the Throughway ramp – waiting for the traffic coming up Delaware Road, where I could have been, if I’d just paid attention.

We’d had toast and juice for breakfast, but now it was approaching 2 PM, and we needed to shake out the kinks, and consume some protein. We did this at a service center at Angola, a small town west of Buffalo.  Here, deep troughs were dug, about a quarter-mile apart, for the east-bound, and west-bound Interstate traffic.

Buffalo Rest Center

Angola Travel PlazaAngola Travel Plaza 3Angola Travel Plaza 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The single service area perches on the top of the hill in the middle. There are parking areas on either side, and enclosed overhead pedestrian walkways out to the center.  I have encountered only one other such middle-located service center.  It’s on the Florida Turnpike, just north of Miami.  People can pass through the buildings, but barricades keep the toll-paying automobiles moving in the correct directions.

It’s another 4 to 5 hours of driving to our next motel, so I’ll relate the details of that in the next segment.  🙂