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Archive for May 2011

The LAST DAY to Act!

Please ACT Today!  (if you’ve not, previously)

Today is the last day for com­ments from the pub­lic regard­ing the ATF reg­u­la­tion that would require FFL deal­ers to record mul­ti­ple pur­chases of long guns by the same per­son within a spec­i­fied period of time.
If you have not yet com­mented, please go here now. It will take you less than a minute and it is a big help. The com­ment is already filled in if you don’t want to write your own. Just pro­vide your information.

h/t  Patrick – Where Angels Fear to Tread

Hijinks at a closed amusement park

In 1963, between Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona, an amusement park was born.  It was called Legend City, and had a Western theme.  After a number of different owners failed to generate the excitement
necessary to keep it open, it was closed in 1983, and demolished to make way for a utility company office complex.
But, there was a time, when it was operating, it was fun.
It had all the standard rides with a Western flavor, and junk food, a train (!), and souvenir shops.  Our high school graduating class had it’s all-night party there, in 1970.
I got to see the sunrise from the top of the Ferris wheel!  (I know, I’ve led a sheltered life.)
By 1975, it was shut down, in disrepair, and the Japanese owners were trying to sell it. 
And, one of my college classmates, a former Marine, was managing security at the park, and in need
of additional personnel.  And, he approached me.
Soon, I was part of a motley crew of professional college students, Ukrainian emigres, drug addicts, ex-military folks, reserve deputies and other assorted ne’er-do-wells, whose main objective was keeping vandals from damaging the park, and kids from sneaking in under the fence from the adjacent municipal baseball park.
We worked 12 hour shifts, in pairs, and patrolled the 80+ acres on foot, with a Detex clock.  (for the uninitiated, a Detex Clock was a heavy pot-metal mechanical clock in a leather case, which had paper tape installed which wound through the mechanism.  One stopped at a specific site, inserted a key in the clock, and it recorded on the paper where and when the guard had been.  It was to show the insurance company someone had been at a specific location, at a specific time.)
It was a pain in the a$$!  A pot-metal albatross.  I’m guessing they’re digital, now.
We also had a couple of guard dogs for a time, with which we could patrol.  There were many places a trespasser/burglar/arsonist could hide.  And the dogs were good at finding them.
Our former Marine boss was a military buff, and liked to play war games.  Like having off-duty guards, who knew the park, trying to infiltrate it, foiling the on-duty guards.  Something to break up an otherwise uneventful 12-hour shift.
(I always liked traversing a barbed-wire-topped fence on my days off.  NOT!)
Hunger and boredom were the biggest enemies. 
Many times, one guy would make a pizza run, while the other was patrolling.  The guy in the park would crank up the pizza oven in one of the restaurants, and we could have a slice while on patrol, fresh and hot!
As at least part of the park was in the County, between two cities (in a mostly desert area) the boss gave us occasional permission for target practice.  (Yes, we all carried.)  He told the owners the guns were for feral dog control. (TRUE-we did have packs of dogs who sometimes ran through the unimproved, desert area of the park.)
My only personal concern was one temporary guard who it was rumored used drugs, who came close to shooting a jackrabbit directly in front of a gas meter!
Fortunately, he didn’t do that.
And, we’d sometimes turn on the rides and lights at 0300, just to see if they worked.  They usually did.
We did catch our share of interlopers, mostly trespassing teens.  And, if we couldn’t reach their parents to collect them, we called the police.
Further away, across the street from the ball park, was the zoo.  One could hear the animals awakening in the morning, as the sun came up.
There was a particular bird call, “LEMME OUT, LEMME OUT!” they would cry.
Not knowing what they were, we christened them Houdini birds.
Years later we found out they were a kind of peacock.
My bosses’ boss wanted to get rid of some of us.  He was a drunk, and I think he had some drinking buddies in the wings he wanted to hire.
There was a short dispute with unemployment insurance, because he told them I was fired.  Turns out, as far as the State was concerned, I’d been laid off.
I don’t remember if I migrated to another security guard job after that, or went to the convenience store.  Forty jobs are alot to recall, after 35 years.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.
It was established after the Civil War in remembrance of all Americans, North and South, who perished in battle.  After WWI, it was expanded to remember all Americans who have died in all wars.
Initially it was called Decoration Day.
People visited cemeteries and decorated graves of servicemen and women, and other loved ones who have passed.
It was a solemn occasion.
As with many other things, we forget our history.
Now, we hear newscasters signing-off for the long weekend with a hearty, “Happy Memorial Day!”
Many who were not raised with the custom of solemnity, think of it as the Summer bookend, with Labor Day at the other end.
Picnics, family get-togethers, barbecues, parties.
While you’re munching your grilled cheeseburger, please take a moment to remember.
God Bless The United States of America, and all who have died for her.

Blogger protocol and error – Apology

During the past week, or so, some interesting problems have developed.
First, the Blogger software wasn’t working properly  (that appears to have been fixed).
Then, the Followers function seems to appear and disappear.  Sometimes, I reload it,
sometimes it comes back.  Sometimes not.  Blogger is aware of THIS problem, who knows
when it will be repaired?
Finally, I was advised acknowledging a post was considered polite.  I just operated on the premise
that Hell, it was my blog, so the comments section was for the reader!  I’d already written, so I didn’t want to clutter up the comments section.
I stand corrected, and will certainly respond if I am able.
Of course, now Blogger isn’t allowing me to post any comments.  They say it’s being fixed…
My apologies to anyone who felt slighted by my not commenting on their comment, either through
software error or protocol. – Guffaw

Kitchen Table Gunsmithing

Kitchen Table gunsmithing is a term sometimes used by those who tinker with their firearms, butter knife and Dremel Tool in hand, because they’re either too cheap to go to a trained person, or they, based on their years of experience, think they know better.
In my years as a shooter, gun owner and trainer, I’ve encountered a few of these folks, and their accomplishments, to wit:
The guy who decided to install his own ambidextrous safety on a 1911, because he’d taken another one apart and saw how (he thought) it was done.
Fortunately, he was bright enough to test-fire his work.  It doubled and tripled.  While I’m pretty sure, that fire control may have it’s advantage in a sidearm, I’m sure the BATFE would disapprove without the proper form.  (He did have a professional correct his work to semi-auto.)
Another guy-a reserve deputy sheriff-purchased a S&W model 64, .38 Special for duty use.  A fine weapon.  His kitchen table gunsmith (aka his barber!) drilled out the cylinder to accept .357 cartridges.
I actually observed him firing this thing at night, and between the too-wide flash gap and the magnum cartridges, it was quite a show.  I’m guessing the .38 pressure-rated frame stretched a bit due to the hot loads.  He always referred to this gun as ‘my Magnum’.  (I think he had other issues.)  I lost touch with him, hopefully he didn’t lose a hand or an eye.
I had a slight touch of this disease, myself.  I attempted to remove some pistol stock screws with a standard flat-bladed screwdriver.  Chewed the crap out of the screw heads.  I now have a set of proper gunsmithing screwdrivers!
As Inspector Callahan said, “Man’s got to know his limitations.”

ILSA (Sunday, Puppy Sunday–shamelessly stolen from Phlegmfatale!)

ILSA
A while ago, I tried to blog specifically about ILSA, but, was unable to properly crop a photo I’d scanned into the computer, correctly.
As I’ve now located a proper cropping tool, here goes.  (Please note – she’s in the laundry basket, because it’s warm, and looks frightened, as I’m pointing a camera!)
We already had one dog, a Spitz mix named Nessie.  (Warning – never name your dog anything monstrous.)  (Just kidding.)  And, she needed a playmate.  So we went to the pound and picked up Ilsa.
Ilsa was knee-height, lean, but not skinny.  A short-haired brown mutt, with a tail in a single curl, with big brown eyes and pointed ears.  She was also neurotic – a perfect fit for our household!  If you looked at her wrong, or pointed a camera in her direction, she’d cower and actually shake.  Not exactly the guard dog I thought I was getting.
But, she was a great dog.  Loyal, friendly, great with the other animals, and with our daughter.  She quickly became Molly’s dog.  In the Second Grade, Molly even took her to school for Pet Day.  The dogs and their owners ran a race (leashed, of course).  And there’s Molly running for all she’s worth with Ilsa in tow, right behind, getting kicked by Molly’s heels in the chops with every pace.  And Ilsa’s loving it!
There was an occasion when I was anxious to leave for work, trying to hurry Molly up to drop her at school, and I thought she was dawdling.  And I began to raise my voice.
Just then, I felt a slight nip on my heel.  Ilsa was crouched, bearing her canine teeth, and quietly growling.  I had to quickly change my tune and praise the dog for being such a good protector!  And, everyone got to school and work on time.
Not very long after the accident, Ilsa seemed to age quickly, and soon passed on.  I’m certain she missed her Molly.
She was a good dog.

Harry K. and Old Phoenix

The Luhr’s Building

I loved old, downtown Phoenix.  There was something real about the taverns, department stores, old hotels and pawn shops that went away when they built the new venues for professional basketball and baseball.
I particularly remember the Luhr’s Buildings, opened in 1924, consisting of the Luhr’s Building, Tower, Annex and Hotel.  Marble staircases, transom windows and art deco abounded.
Just East of the Superior Court building, these buildings housed defense lawyers, bail-bondsmen, investigators, court reporters and process servers.
The Hitchcock film Psycho begins with a long camera shot into a room at the Luhr’s Hotel.
I lusted to have my P.I. office down there, but, could only afford to work out of my home.  So, I chose the next best thing.
I had my business P.O. Box in the Luhr’s Annex, so checking my mail brought me down into that neighborhood for the cost of mailbox rent and city parking.  It was then easy access to the Superior Court records, County Assessor and Recorder.  The State Motor Vehicle Building was just a few blocks West, by the Capitol.  And the Corporation Commission was across the street from that.
In the pre-Internet world, this was information central.
And, this was the place to be, for anyone who was anyone, in the para-legal world.
Directly around the corner from my Post Office Box, in the Luhr’s Building, was Harry K.
Harry was long-time private investigator.  He was a tall, imperial-looking, black gentleman.  He had a small office, just off Central Avenue.  I don’t even remember what name he had on the door.  Whatever it was, it was unremarkable.  When I knew him, most of his work was missing persons, gleaned from a daily ad in the Wall Street Journal.
Because, Harry K. was remarkable.  Why?
Harry knew everybody.  I don’t say this lightly, or with hyperbole.
Every so often, unannounced, I’d pop in to see Harry, after checking my P.O. Box. or checking some county records.  He was rarely alone.  His visitors were always interesting:  the Mayor, the Sheriff, former or current State Attorneys General, civic leaders, businessmen. 
Harry always made certain to introduce me.  And I was always the lowest on the totem pole in the room.  But, I did notice they all called Harry by his first name, and he spoke to them the same way.
One time Harry and I were discussing a mob-related car bombing that had occurred in a nearby city.
He mentioned a name – I’d no clue of whom he was speaking.  He laughed, and told me that he’d forgotten, the name in the papers had been the victim’s alias, Harry had known the guy from his mob ties in Chicago, by his given name!
His Rolodex must have been golden.
Harry knew everybody, and it served him well.

BATFE’s back-door rifle registration attempt! AGAIN!

Days of Our Trailers blog has a post, today, regarding the BATFE again attempting de-facto registration of multiple long gun sales.
Of course, the emergency is the alleged smuggling of semiautomatic long guns into Mexico (now shown to have been permitted by BATFE’s own agents, to boost their stats) !
Please go to the blog, and quickly fill out the email form, and click to send to the BATFE, expressing your opposition to this power grab attempt. 
You may even add your own text, if you wish!

(GEEZ! – we can’t take our eyes off these guys for a minute!)

here is the linkDays of Our Trailers




Arizona DMV Does Something Right!

If you’ve been following the nonsense I spew here, you know I’ve had a myriad of recent auto difficulties.
Well, the car got repaired, and emission tested – passing, and I submitted the funds, via Internet, to complete the registration, on Tuesday, this week.
My previous experiences with the notarious State DMV are legendary, or at least, annoying.  In past years, I always fought tooth-and-nail not to pay registration fees, because I was mostly broke, and (as a libertarian) I deeply resented giving the government money.  (I still do.)  It’s always been the last thing on my list.
And, historically, I paid the price for my political protests, usually in the form of ‘not current registration’ citations.
In recent years, however, I’ve made an effort to be more responsible, and paid on time, gritting my teeth all the way.  Sometimes, mailing in the form the last day of the correct month, then sweating when the tags would arrive to show my vehicle current.
My tags arrived in the mail, yesterday (Thursday)!

I sent the funds by computer Wednesday!  ONE DAY TURNAROUND!
Government efficiency!?  I’m shocked and impressed.
And now currrent with my car registration.

Process Service

In 1979, while working as a security guard manager and private investigator, it was suggested I acquire a process server’s license.
As if I didn’t have anything else to do.
In Arizona, they are issued by the Superior Court.  One must take an exam regarding how to properly serve and file papers.
At that time, you had to obtain passport photos, yourself, and the court laminated it onto a largely-typewritten card with your bonifides.  The only official part of the ID were the words Officer of the Superior Court.
So, after studying and passing the exam, and obtaining said photos, I was issued the official ID. 
Shortly thereafter, the security company for whom I worked decided both my boss and me didn’t suit them, and we parted company.
So, the boss and I went to work ourselves doing PI work and serving papers.
One of my first services was for a PI friend of my new/old boss.  Because the court kept hard copies of the affidavits-of-service (in addition to microfilm) anything written on them would also be saved.  The client wanted the recipient of the paper to sign the back of the original, which was then returned for filing. (Recipients were given copies.)
If the guy later contested the service, all we had to do was produce the original, with his signature on the back!  This was not required by law or the court, or the service rules, but it was a pretty neat gimmick.
I found this guy having lunch with his friends in a ritzy bar in North Scottsdale.  Frankly, if I hadn’t been wearing a white shirt and tie, I don’t think they’d have let me in.
So, I ask him if I could speak with him privately-discretion being the better part of valor, and all-and I get, “Anything you want to say to me, you can say in front of my friends, kid!” (I was 27 at the time, but looked 26…)
So, I served him the summons and complaint in front of his friends.  You never saw a guy rush to get away from his friends as quickly at this guy did! 
And, he signed the back of the paper, willingly, in the bar hallway!
A few years later, while working for yet another process service and investigation company, I was called upon to serve papers on a young lady in what could be colloquially called ‘the bad part of town’.
The Presiding Judge of the Superior Court took a dim view of his process servers being armed.
On this, he and I disagreed.  Process servers have been threatened and attacked, just for delivering papers.  Being unarmed seemed, pardon the pun, injudicious.
So, here I am, late afternoon, in the aforementioned ‘bad part of town’, trying to get a lady to answer the door.
Suddenly, I notice two things:  1.  It’s getting dark, and 2.  I’m no longer alone outside the door.
Two young punks, thugs, misguided youths, who obviously spent their time pumping iron, when they weren’t intimidating officers-of-the court, had taken notice of my failed attempt to get Miss Lawsuit to answer her door.
I played the “I’m a Court Officer, you’d better not mess with me!” card on them.  I don’t think they were impressed, and I may not have used the word mess.  I’m certain the one thing that saved me from being beaten to a pulp was the fact I was armed.
So, I backpedalled back to my car (all the time praying it wasn’t sitting on blocks in my absence) and make my escape exit.
I don’t remember who eventually got the papers delivered, but I recounted the adventure to a cop I knew and he said, “You were where?  When?, ALONE?  Hell, Guffaw, we send cops down there in pairs, with backups!”
I’m certain what the Presiding Judge didn’t know didn’t hurt him.

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

Penn Jillette

“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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I'm currently on disability, unable to work, and receive marginal benefits. I've been advised by SSDI I may receive some additional income. Based on their statements, I'm adding a bleg to this blog. Effective 03/06/2012. Thank you for your kindness.

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