Monday, January 28, 2013

Grandma's Hands

In 1971 the legendary singer/songwriter Bill Withers released the song “Grandmas Hands”.

I was listening to the song over the weekend and a whole raft of memories of my Grandmother came rushing back. I wrote last year that I hadn’t yet figured out how to process her death and I still don’t think I have. But there have been small steps in that direction and they’ve come from a place I didn’t expect. Sports.

My Grandmother, Elanor Turretto, was an athlete as a young lady. She loved the game of tennis and played in High School and through her 20’s. I remember that she never missed watching Wimbledon, The US Open and thought the French Open was silly and that it was held in too high a regard given that the clay court was so different from the surface that players usually trained and played on.

She loved team sports too especially the 49ers and Giants.

I was in 1st or 2nd grade when I was surprised one morning at school by the appearance of my Grandmother at my classroom door. I don’t recall how she’d gotten them, probably from her boss at Tarlow’s Furriers in Santa Clara, but she had a pair of tickets for a “Businessman’s Special” at Candlestick. She was taking me to my first Baseball Game and it was to be a secret. It’s a secret we shared without anyone ever finding out until…well…now. So if either of my parents happen to read this, now you know.  

I remember every detail of the first game I ever listened to on the radio as chronicled ( HERE ) but I can't recall a single thing about this game. I have no idea who the opposing team was, who pitched or even if the Giants won. All I remember is how special it felt to be getting away with something by playing hookey with Grandma. I remember Grandma’s hands on the wheel of her 1968 Camaro (which I now own). I remember Grandma’s hands handing me my first ballpark hotdog. I remember Grandma’s hands zipping up my jacket against the chill at the park. I remember Grandmas’s hands holding mine as we dodged cars in the lot at Candlestick.

She was sitting in her wingback chair and I was sitting on the floor leaning against her knees in on a Sunday afternoon in 1982. With my entire family in the room, only she and I were paying attention to Vin Scully and Hank Stram calling a playoff game between the 49ers and Cowboys. Joe Montana rolled right, pump-faked and then slung the ball high and deep into the end zone and I remember, more than anything else the feeling of anticipation and anxiety being transmitted to me through Grandmas hands grasping my shoulders.

I was running off the field with the rest of the team after a game and I remember Grandma’s hands grabbing the sleeve of my jersey to congratulate me and the joy on her face when she’d watched me score my first touchdown in High School.

I remember Grandma’s hands touching mine as she told me how proud she was of me when I joined the Military.

I remember Grandma's hands touching my wife Kathy's the first time they met.

I remember Grandma’s hands in mine as she asked me to take care of Grandpa and did her best to comfort me just minutes before she passed away.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gun Laws and Polish Jokes

David Mamet is among my favorite playwrights and screenwriters and he is responsible for many of the best films of the last 30 or so years. "Glengarry Glen Ross" is the title you are probably most familiar with, but he also had his hand on such classics as "The Postman Always Rings Twice", "The Untouchables" (bad acting, great writing) and "The Winslow Boy".

I've mentioned David Mamet before on this blog making reference to his brilliant book "The Secret Knowledge" which chronicles his coming to, rather late in life, conservatism and the conflicts found in that relative to his personal background and the professional circles that he resides within. If you haven't read that book, I highly recommend it. It's fascinating even if you don't agree with his conclusions.

Mamet recently penned an essay on the topic of "Gun Control". As one might expect, it's pitch perfect and I'd like you to read it.

Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm


The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so. 

By David Mamet. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Simplifying Caliber Choices For The New Hunter

I don't do guest posts here often enough, I need to do a better job of seeking out contributions from people I respect on topics that interest me. Look for that more in the future....

The following is a guest post from Phil Maynard. Phil has helped me a number of times over the years to simplify some of the intricacies and see through much of the mythology with regard to shooting sports. Phil's handloads have taken game all over the US. He specializes in developing loads and calibrating optical drop correction systems for medium to long-range hunting. He is a data-mining geek with more spreadsheets than firearms. By weight.

At Phil's request I am stating that this piece is available for free use, reposting or printing with attribution to Phil Maynard of Montrose, PA.

                                                         Too Many Choices

There have been an incredible number of heated, passionate debates concerning the details of firearm selection for hunting. Caliber and sighting systems dominate, but every little feature has been analyzed ad-nauseam, often with such ferocity that one group will defend a feature or round as God's gift to mankind, while the other side denigrates it at completely, hopelessly inadequate for the task at hand.

How can such debates continue to rage?

The 49ers Harbaugh Transition....As viewed through the prisim of hindsight.

I was going to wait until the end of the 2012 49ers season to write this, but I've come to the realization that the record at the end of this year doesn't much matter to the conclusion of this piece so here it is......

With regard to the sports teams I follow, I’m a pretty pessimistic fella’. Growing up in the 70’s & 80’s as a fan of the San Francisco Giants will do that to you. Following the 49ers has as well provided long periods of bitter disappointment. They were largely hapless from 1973 to 1980 in the infancy of my fandom and again from 1998 to 2010 we endured another extended period of fecklessness with the exception of the 2001 & 2002 early playoff losses.

It was from this place of pessimism and bitterness that I wrote this piece ( CLICK HERE ) a couple of years ago. In that piece I made three core points about the transition into the “Harbaugh Era”.

  1. Jed York promised a broad search for the best GM he could find.
  2. That College coaches transitioning to the NFL have a poor track record and that Harbaugh had relatively little head coaching experience.
  3. That York & Baalke handled the negotiation with Harbaugh in a somewhat sloppy manner.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Maybe, just maybe the guns aren't the problem....

Despite the myriad of studies, Federal & State crime data and testimony from law enforcement indicating that additional restrictions on gun ownership does not significantly reduce crime and/or violence the easiest target when there is a tragic shooting is guns & gun ownership. It's more difficult to look at other causes for violence be they societal, medical/psychological or cultural because looking at those forces people to look at themselves and that's hard. Often, the right thing to do is the thing that is difficult to do and in this case it's the discussion of mental illness and prescription medications.

Unless you are a serious shooting sports enthusiast you probably don't know the name John Noveske. He was the owner of Noveske Rifleworks in Oregon. His company builds civilian spec Semi-Automatic rifles, Military & Police spec rifles and accessories for both. The company is highly respected in Law Enforcement and Military circles and among civilian shooting sports enthusiasts as extremely innovative and highly responsive to their customers. On January 4th of this year, Mr. Noveske died in a car accident. His last external communication to his friends and customers via his facebook page is posted below....

DISCLAIMER: This is second-hand information. There may be errors.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Letter to Senator Diane Feinstein....

My position on the Second Amendment should be well....abundantly clear. I respect and understand the feelings of those who elect not to exercise their natural right codified by said amendment. Further, I respect, but disagree with those who elect to cling to an interpretation of the Second Amendment contrary to that which is made abundantly clear by the writings of the framers. Regardless of your position, be it an originalist advocate of literal interpretation, one who stands unopposed but chooses not to avail themselves of the right, or one who takes a position in opposition to the Second Amendment you have a duty to make your position known to our elected officials.

Lest we forget, we are NOT subjects under rule. Our elected officials do not impose their will on us, they are to serve OUR will. So if you agree with my position and stand firmly with me on the side of a Madisonian interpretation of the 2nd, that's great! Now grab a pen or pull up your email program and write. If you don't agree with me.....I want you to do the exact same thing. Take part in the process and by doing so make a tiny step toward reclaiming OUR government from those on either side of the aisle who have subverted it (Hamilton) from us.

Posted with thanks to YouTube Channel owner "NutnFancy" for the framework.

Dear Senator Feinstein,

You and many of your fellow members of the legislature are shockingly considering gun legislation that will make criminals of millions of the citizens, breaching a trust long held. I urge you to reconsider this path, to stand for individual liberty and trust in the citizenry, just like our Constitution affirms, clearly outlines and which is supported chapter and verse by the writings of many of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist framers.

I urge you in the strongest terms possible to halt this path toward an AWB and vote against any other legislation that proposes registration and banning of so-called "Assault Weapons" or places further restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. These firearms are in THOUSANDS of households, held by good citizens, keeping the peace, and preserving their liberty. The percentage of criminal use of these guns is infinitesimal and statistically insignificant.

More importantly these proposed laws registering and banning this broad category of guns will have no affect on crime. You and I both KNOW this to be true. As we saw in the CT massacre, criminals and the dangerously mentally ill don’t obey laws. They will illegally obtain guns, ignore ALL laws, and in the end probably use any destructive device available to kill.

The fingerprinting, registration, and guaranteed future control of an owner of this type of firearm VIOLATES the Second Amendment. Represents a violation of your oath of office and is a glaring manifestation of an overreaching, out of control government...the very thing which our founders feared and wished to prevent.

This or other "assault weapons bans" will be unenforceable. In the end, only the criminals and the government will be armed. Is that what you want? In determining the course of this country this might be your most important vote ever. Firmly PRESERVE GUN OWNERS RIGHTS and accept no compromise. I will watch your vote with great interest and gratefully support you in any endeavor to defend of our Constitution.

Feel free to copy this and edit it as you see fit to send to Senator Feinstein or any other elected official.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


There's precious little of it going around these days. This cat has got it in spades.

There's a lot to chew on there, regardless of your point of view on guns/crime/violence. Question is, are you willing to THINK about it or have you let your emotions make your decisions for you?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why does the 2nd Amendment Exist At All?

I submit to you, by way of explanation the words of James Madison......most probably won't bother to read the whole thing.

Hint: It has nothing to do with hunting.