Saturday, December 21, 2019

A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd

While most of us are familiar with the 1983 film directed by Bob Clark and starring Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley, I also recommend the stories upon which the film is based. Author Jean Shepherd’s 1966 novel, In God We Trust, all Others Pay Cash, was the primary source material.  Not every chapter in the novel relates to the subsequent film, but shown here is the Broadway Books edition which compiles the five essential stories. Shepherd was both the co-screenwriter on the film and the narrator. His stories are delightful to read and are quite short. The film is widely regarded as a classic and is shown constantly on television along with It’s a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart. I am a fan of the film, and people seem to either love it...or don’t get it. I can’t help those of you that don’t get it, and I won’t bother trying. I have two Red Ryder BB rifles propped against the bookcase in my den. The Red Ryder BB rifle originally went into production in 1940, inspired by the Red Ryder comic book and film character. The Red Ryder BB rifle was designed to resemble the Winchester rifles commonly seen in Western films. There was also a Buck Jones model with a configuration that matched the model found in Shepherd’s story. Buck Jones and Red Ryder are both historical references the average viewer knows little about. Google it. The film’s charm lies in its simplicity; such Holiday experiences were once commonplace in the America experience. The film evokes memories of childhood, a past that has vanished, kept alive by such films as A Christmas Story. The leg lamp represents every idiosyncratic gift various family members coveted, and I can recall when comic books advertised BB guns on the back cover. Daisy air rifles were a popular and coveted item. The International BB Gun Championship was a prestigious event in the 1960s, as were most State Sponsored riflemen clubs. Incidentally, Daisy has just released the Eightieth anniversary edition. Melinda Dillon represents the traditional mother and wife, wise beyond her years, patient and loving. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Ruger Wrangler

Released this past spring, Ruger’s new Wrangler .22 LR comes in three Cerakote finishes (black, silver or bronze) with standard checkered grips, this six-shot single action revolver is sure to please the cowboy in your family. As you might expect from Ruger, the quality is high. A hot and lightweight six-shooter that packs a punch, the Wrangler is the perfect plinking target pistol, but with an Old West feel. I couldn’t ask for a better .22 handgun. Handling the gun is typical of a six shooter, but since this is a Ruger be mindful of the differences between a Ruger and a Colt. You can safely load six because of Ruger’s transfer bar and firing pin design, as opposed to the traditional Colt and its hammer-spur design. Anyone reading this that doesn’t understand those differences is advised to seek a qualified firearm instructor for lessons. I had zero problems or issues firing this gun. The Wrangler handles fine and is only a tad lighter than Ruger’s famed Vaquero model. The Wrangler is economically priced at approximately $200.00, and mine was actually $189.00. Prices will obviously vary by geographic region and state gun and tax laws. My wife bought mine as a 35th wedding anniversary gift, and that also makes it special. A great gun. Highly recommended! As always, please follow the basic rules of safe firearm handling. When firearms are used in a safe and responsible manner, they provide much pleasure, satisfaction and protection, and represent a fundamental part of our personal liberty. Be smart, stay cool, and Buy American whenever possible.
The Ruger Wrangler (center) with two .45 Ruger Vaquero models 
for size comparison.