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Selling dreams!

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

One great thing about my job is that I get to meet people who are very successful. I’ve been interested in successful people all my life — reading books about them, trying to understand why they’re different than the rest of us. Several years ago, I discovered the reason. Successful people have visions that exceed what the rest of us can see. We see what exists today, but they see into next year and have the ability to see the steps needed to get from here to there.

After reading about them for 40 years, this writing job brought me into close proximity with such people and I got to hear what they think firsthand. That was when I saw their incredible ability to envision.

One of the people I read about was Zig Ziglar, who’s been called one of the world’s greatest salesmen. In fact he was so successful at selling that he wrote motivational books about it and became a well-recognized motivational speaker.

Allow me to share just one story that Ziglar tells in one of his books because it illustrates today’s topic so well. In the middle of the last century, he was selling cookware in the south, when door-to-door salesmen were more common than they are today. His company also had a line of fine china dinnerware, but he didn’t push it because his sales area consisted of lower-income families who needed the necessities of life much more than the luxuries. If you can imagine knocking on door after door, trying to get some time to make a sales pitch to families who watched every penny they had, you can imagine how very challenging this job was.

One day he arrived at a house where he was certain he would make a sale. The woman of the house let him in and he immediately saw she was cooking with pots and pans that were completely worn out. He showed her his line of cookware, feeling certain she would recognize how much she needed some of it. But, although she was patient enough to listen to his best pitch, she refused to make a purchase.

However, when she followed him out to his car as he was putting his pots and pans away, her eyes fell on a piece of the china he carried. When she saw it, her eyes lit up and she asked to see more. It turned out that she had always wanted fine china. She made a large purchase of china from Ziglar that day, and he learned a very important lesson. People buy what they want, not always what they need. So, selling what people want can be easier than trying to sell them what you think they need.

That lesson benefitted him for the remainder of his life, and he used it in much of his material. It’s fundamental to the sales of anything, as the top salesmen will all tell you.

Edith is aware of this story because I told her about it when I first read it years ago. Then, when we were both talking to Wulf Pflaumer, one of the owners of Umarex — the company that owns Walther, among others — several years later, something he said really hit home. “I don’t sell airguns. I sell DREAMS!”

Indeed, he does. All it takes is to hold one of Umarex’s realistic air pistols to realize that they do, indeed, sell dreams. The size, weight and finish of these replica airguns is so close to the firearms they copy that it sometimes takes close examination to tell the difference. People who cannot acquire firearms for various reasons, and those who don’t necessarily want them around can have almost the same experience with an airgun that satisfies their need in nearly every way.

Umarex didn’t start out selling airguns. Years earlier they were selling blank-firing guns in European countries where firearms ownership is prohibited, but noisemaking is okay. They gave the same kind of thrill as airsoft guns; except, instead of hitting a distant target, they sounded and sometimes even operated semiautomatically like firearms. For some people, that’s all that mattered.

When they started making realistic air pistols, they captured the action air pistol market in the United States. These guns were and still are so realistic that they gave us a new outlook on pellet pistols. They not only looked the part, they were accurate, too! I remember my M1911A1 from Umarex was capable of putting 5 rounds into 1-1/8″ at 25 feet — something I hadn’t seen from a repeating pellet pistol before.

So, dreams are what they sell. Because dreams are what their customers want. Not lies — but dreams. Not the promise of high velocities without reasonable accuracy, but guns with the right weight, the right size and shape, and, best of all, the right FEEL. A dream should not turn out to be a nightmare. It should satisfy the desires of those who dream.

Is this lesson lost on the other airgun manufacturers? Not on all of them, thank goodness. I’m not going to run the roster of the good companies and bad ones right now because that isn’t the thrust of today’s report. What we’re trying to do today is understand what motivates people to buy things they don’t need. And that’s done quite easily — by appealing to their desires, then delivering on the promise. But it isn’t a business formula. It’s a frame of mind; and unless you have the right mindset, you’ll never be able to do it.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

61 thoughts on “Selling dreams!”

  1. Salesmanship.

    I like these blogs.

    I’m a salesman. Dirty connotations but I’m proud of my vocation. Without salesmen the shelves would be bare and ships, railcars, trucks, etc. would be sitting idle.

    In my realm Zig Ziglar was an icon. When he passed last year we flew our flags at half mast. I was honored to be at a panel that included Art Linkletter, Zig Ziglar, Tom Hompkins and others at DU about 25 years ago. Ziggy was dynamic. My favorite quote of his was “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”


  2. People will have the desire to have something.Maybe because of a memory you have about something you once had or wish you had.Or you just could no way make the circumstances work out at the time.And when for some reason that memory or desire is able to be obtained you tend not to let the opportunity slip past.If it is convenient and easy to make happen people will go for it.No matter what market you are in if you make it available for the people regardless of what somebody says or thinks about it. Is if they want it.They will get it.Even regardless of the cost.And here I go again.Give me a .25 cal. or bigger springer and I will by it.Other people might not want one.But I would love to try one out if it was made.Couldn’t you imagine punching a half inch hole from a .50 cal.pellet in plastic milk bottle at 30 yards or so.Everybody wants something different. Personality I believe its called.

  3. B.B. there was something I was going to ask before(has been a busy last weekend and week)and it just goes over my head every time I make a comment so forgive me but;Does Mac keep up to date on the daily blogs?And how is he?

    • Mike,

      I sure do! I wrote a feature article about it for Shotgun News a couple years ago.

      It works as advertised. Bely-fed, reasonably reliable and pretty powerful but not accurate. 10-inch groups at 20 feet. But you can write your name with it after a fashion. Run it on CO2, as high-pressure air is nothing but problems.

      A fun toy. Not practical, but if you like full-auto, it’s one of the best ones around that is also somewhat affordable.


      • Thanks BB! Full Auto is fun but without accuracy it’s a waist of time. Better to spend the money on accuracy. I have shot enough full auto over the years to see what it’s like.


  4. In college, we watched a series of Zig Ziglar videos and read some of his books. I’ve done some retail sales and managed accounts for various companies. The times have changed, but the basics still remains the same.

  5. Howdy Mr. BB, Ms. Edith & the Gang! First off, Ms. Edith, thanx for keepin’ the train rollin’ while BB’s, w/Mac Daddy in his time of need, Thoughts, prayers & blessings to Mac & to BB for a safe return. Cool, how the more time I spend here, the more commonality I find amongst us all, outside of the things that go bang or poof. I have Zig’s “Flea Training Certificate” hangin’ on my office wall & a couple of his “Round Tuit’s” on my desk. A limited edition print of a painting Tom Hopkins comissioned for his T.H. International Headquarters that he gave me at one of his Boot Camps. Also voiced his phone line message on hold at his headquarters for a few years. As a programmer & jock in radio for 35+ years, I took “little puffs of air” & created an image for it that people wanted to own. Now I have my own business as a long haired, greasy biker, Investment Advisor. Interesting combination, huh? I teach my clients how money works. I’ve found that when the message is from your heart to theirs, looks do not matter. My favorite Ziggy: If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want. Yup, I’m a salesman. B.t.w., will have the handicapped (southpaw) version of the TX & scope BB’s holdin’ on the PA home page within 30 days. You’ll know when It gets here, you’ll hear me screamin’ like a little girl!?! Thanx ya’ll. Have a great weekend. Shoot/ride safe.

  6. Was there ever a 50 cal.springer or pump gun made and was not outrageously priced?Even if the gun could only manage to make 500fps with a 150 or so grn.pellet that would be up in the 80ft/lbs. of energy.That would make for a nice gun for the snipe game you talked about before that you and probably all of us played(plinking).See maybe that gun could be made and marketed for a new type of plinking competition :).

    • Considering a .22 Condor only makes ~60ft-lbs with 32gr Eun Jin at a power setting of ~8 (on my one test — 930fps), you may not be able to find a “low cost” option…

      And at 500fps muzzle velocity, you are going to have a significant arc in the trajectory — not conducive to field use without a good ranging capability and a trajectory table for adjusting hold.

  7. B.B.,

    Within your closing remarks, you made a point that I was trying to make recently. People will buy what they want, and if they want it bad enough, they will find a way. Of course that doesn’t apply to everyone, because a lot of people are conditioned themselves to simply not want. But “want” is a good thing, if it translates into dreams. Dreams feel good. Dreams are a real place that simply need to be connected with reality.

    Many of us have experienced delving into a problem while in our sleep, or when we don’t realize that we’re subconsciously working on it. I’ve solved many a tough problem when I didn’t even plan on it.

    I’m also one who thinks long term. I am patient enough to allow myself as long as it takes. I use to be called a “solution looking for a problem”, because I would delve into certain mathematical approaches to things for which there was no immediate need. I don’t know why, but I’ve always allowed my mind to wonder, and it always felt good.

    Having taught, I’ve also learned the importance of being a good student. You also learn that there are certain patterns to learning, so a teacher must, at a minimum, be patient. Even better, a teacher should learn to anticipate the kinds of things that will trip up certain students.

    It’s all about being able to keep an open mind.


  8. Oh, by the way, I have done door-to-door sales.

    A boss that I had when I was 12 years old had started an office supply business, but was failing because he was a turn-off to potential customers. He was pushy and narrow-minded. Although his business was within a fairly large business park, customers would rather drive, when they could have just walked to buy something.

    I covered many cities, on foot, door-to-door. It was rough, but I was young and very easy going. The company completely turned around and became very profitable, including the businesses in our park. But then the boss got another brilliant idea and decided to get into computers. This was 1982, so computers were not nearly as accessible as they are today, and it wasn’t obvious who one should go with, in terms of brands. The boss thought purely in terms of dollar signs, so he chose a couple brands simply because they had the highest markup. Price wasn’t so much the issue. The big issue was that at that time there weren’t enough potential customers who understood computers. The ones that did didn’t trust the brands. Remember, at that time there were a lot of start-ups.

    The upshot for me was that this where I started my programming career, again, back in 1982.


      • ajvenom,

        We sold those to, but because our target market was businesses, the only people who ever knew that we had those were the ones that actually walked into our store.

        We did sell one computer that I thought should have been a winner, the Otrona Attache. It was a portable computer that run under the CP/M operating system. The company was started by an ex-HP engineer, and ultimately failed, like so many start-ups of that time. THAT was the risk that customers took. That was the first computer that I did programming on.

        I liked the Otrona Attache much more than the Osborne. It was smaller, and yet had a larger display. The story behind why the Osborne failed is indicative of how things have changed for the better, in terms of the link between manufacturing and sales.


        • I have an Otrona Attache in the computer museum in my attic somewhere, and it still works. At least it did when I put it away. My first airgun, a Daisy 880, is about the same age. After replacing seals, that one still works also.

          • oh wow that’s the future, it has Floppy Disk Drives……I think I have an IBM 8080 somewhere that might give it a run for the money….lol. I still have a 8086 turbo that tuns at a whopping 12 mhz and the upgraded 640k memory. I used in college along with an Atari 1200XL. I burned up an over-clocked 486dx2 in 2000 and not too long ago a pentium II-350. I still may have a Pent-II-433i Etower floating around somewhere.
            Now I use a Pentium IV two point something ghz which i added sata drives. All the computers I own are ones that I got for free and fixed up. I did finally bought a laptop from 200 bucks…..It was a Thanksgiving special and I got it half off just for standing in a lne for a couple of hours.
            I still have my programming books and predicted JAVA would take over the world………..if I only would have stuck with it.

            • I should add: I recall paying $20 for the evaluation kit, as part of my digital electronics class at college.

              Today you can spend about $30 for an assembled Arduino controller system (though you do need a full-up system to develop the code for the system… I don’t think they have instructions that would let one create a “monitor” program and thereby load code one byte at a time via a small keypad or toggle switches.

              For a bit more, one can get a Raspberry-PI. Hook the video output to a TV, a keyboard, and plug in a flash memory with a pre-built OS and you can now run LINUX on a board the size of a large wallet.

              • Thanks again you guys, wow talk about memory lane. I pulled out an old computer one day and realized…..progress is good. People sometimes forget the amount of power hold in their hands and the long road it took us to get where we are today.

            • Good call…been a while since I seen it. It’s has a 8088 chip in an IMB PC model 5150. Trying to remember the order of chips……I was off by a couple. TMS 1000 (TI), 4004, 4040, 8008, 8080,8085,8086 and then 8088. Later 80188 and 80186 etc…..

              If that were the case a pre 8086 is probably a blue box punch card machine or used in a calculator. I think our teacher was able to use tape drive on his blue box.

              • Once past the 8085 (which never really made it into many computers — the Zilog Z-80 tended to supplant the 8080, but the Z-8000 lost to the 8086/8088. The -88 was an 8-bit data bus version of the -86).

                The TI-99/4 was actually the first 16-bit processor based home computer (1979) BUT TI encumbered it with: 8-bit external bus (so only the 256B internal workspace registers and the boot ROM were 16-bit) needing two memory cycles to load; and even its BASIC wasn’t native to the chip… Instead the BASIC interpreter itself was interpreted by another lower level language.

                IBM DID have a computer out in the late 70s, but it cost a minor fortune and was targeted as a science/math workstation.

  9. Selling dreams is how our capitalist society keeps going. If there is no demand for a product, you can, with some clever advertising, create the demand. I remember an expression my Dad used when describing a certain type of salesman. “He could sell a freezer to an Eskimo”. Although we all know what the term implies, the truth is Eskimo’s, or correctly, Inuit, do need and buy freezers.
    When I was living in Northern Queensland, Australia in 1988-89, I was surprised to see quite a few houses with fireplaces. With the temperature rarely dropping below 75 deg Fahrenheit in the winter, I was intrigued. When we would visit someone, usually at night, they would inevitably have a fire going. It was too warm to make any difference heat wise, but when there was a lull in conversation, we would all end up gazing into the hypnotic flames. I think this goes back to the time our ancestors used fire not only to cook and heat, but to keep from being eaten. In Queensland, there were no wild animals to keep at bay, nor was it needed for cooking, or heating. It gave everyone a warm feeling, and at the same time, there were no uncomfortable silences.
    What I’m getting at, is someone knew of the effect fire has on humans, and saw a market for selling fireplaces in the most unlikely of places. And to a lesser degree, it is the same with selling freezers in the Yukon, Alaska, and all the cold climates where people have chosen to live.
    Just as with music, mathematics, and becoming a brain surgeon, the art of selling is a true art form. You need to look at a lot of variables, and see a trend. Some, like Zig Ziglar, just have, or had a natural talent or knack. I may be able to play a Bach Fugue on the guitar, but never would I have thought of selling fireplaces on the equator.
    Caio Titus
    ps. Matt61. Have you read many diaries of soldiers or civilians who lived during war times, like WW1 or 2, etc. I have found this an excellent way of getting a handle on what times were like in certain places and time periods. My favorite is the Diary of Samuel Pepys. ( pronounced Peeps). His description of London during the Black Plague really paints a picture with a man on the street face. My Daughter has been keeping a semi regular journal since reading Pepys’ diary in junior high school. She is just graduating her first 4 years of university. She says it has kept life in perspective for her.

    • I’ve read a number, and I still recommend The Forgotten Soldier as the ultimate example of the genre. What that guy went through and everyone else in that conflict beggars the imagination. I haven’t read the diary of Samuel Pepys, but I thought it was mostly famous for his account of a great fire in London. I didn’t know about the Black Plague but I imagine that was pretty memorable too. I believe I remember hearing that his sign off line was: “And so to bed.” One other diary you might be interested in is a diary of an American Puritan entitled, The Secret Diary of William Byrd Which He Never Meant to Be Read on Any Account, and you can quickly see why. As an Internet sage has said, “You gonna find people doing things they got no business doing.” Actually, I believe that Edith experienced something like what you describe in diaries although she has never fully divulged.


  10. BB & Edith,

    I have a request, well 2 actually. I believe I recall reading that you would do a review of the Condor SS when it was available. If so, could you give some info on the pros & cons of the optional (high pressure) tanks that will work with the gun. And also if it’s possible to change calibers on a given Condor SS gun frame. If changing calibers is possible what will you need other than the barrel?

    I addressed this to both of you because I know BB has a lot on his mind these days. Send my best to Mac and know we are all thinking of him.

    Best reguards, David H

  11. Umerex black firing guns. when we were kids we used to play Starsky and Hutch with replica blank firing guns, firing them off at each other on the outside stair cases of department stores on the weekends after school. You could have a giggle and no one really batted an eyelid, maybe the odd tut tut from some one. Try that now i don’t think, the day i got my ‘Dirty Harry’ magnum replica was a dream come true back then. Sweet memories, bless them.


    Best Wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

      • … Or the cap firing hand grenades. Two styles: One with flip-off handle (handle held striker to one side, when released, striker flips off handle and hits the cap — a bit unrealistic as there was no delay fuse), other with a heavy head (place cap inside head, toss… head would hit ground first, and compress the cap to set it off — you lost the flipping handle, but gained the fire near target realism).

  12. I believe that no matter how far along you get in the years of life.Somewhere down inside you still have the childhood excitements and dreams of what interested you as you where younger.It is something that takes you to that happy,relaxing place.And if you market something and really want something to succeed you have to figure out how to become the people you are trying to sale to.Sometimes its different than you thought once you get to the other side of the tracks if you know what I mean.Something that I thought I saw one way was way different when I actually lived it.As far as I’m concerned.Is if you ain’t dreaming you ain’t living.

  13. I can agree with this. I’ve bought many a nice looking air pistol because I do like firearms but really don’t want to invest in a real pistol I can’t use in my apartment. But a bb pistol is perfect for my purposes. I can shoot all day if it pleases me and not have cops at my door wondering who was just murdered. But there is nothing worse than getting that air pistol and having it feel and function like a plastic toy. When I pull that rrigger I want to feel the gun recoil. When I pick it up I want to feel a gun in my hand, not a child’s toy. I like real metal, real wood if I can get it and above all real functioning action.

    One thing I’m finding discouraging is I check every day for new and interesting air rifles at pyramyd air and most of what I see is AIRSOFT. Is airsoft that popular that they need to put out 100 plastic airsoft guns to every 2 real air rifles?

    • John,

      The lack of new airguns is 100% my fault! I’m in the middle of doing the next catalogs (airgun and airsoft catalogs) and don’t have the time to write up the new airguns. Take my word for it that there’s a very big backlog of airguns that are waiting for my attention.

      Save up your money…cause you’re gonna be bowled over by the number of new airguns and airgun accys coming very soon!


      • I’m waiting for a few specifics from Crosman. Specificallt the MK-177 and their new pcp pump. Everything else is going to be a pleasant surprise. I’m hoping whatever comes out will be within my price range. I really want the new Condor SS but at $700 and having shrouds and baffles I have to find an FFL dealer willing to get it for me after I save up for the beast. Until then My condor with it’s 24″ custom shrouded barrel will have to do. It’s a fine gun, but i always like that new gun smell.

  14. B.B.,

    After reading Part 2 of your report on the Benjamin Trail NP Air Pistol, I re-read your Part 1. Your comment about how this, if it’s accurate of course, would make a cool rifle, prompted me to look at the Hatsan Model 25 SuperTact on the Pyramyd air site.

    The Hatsan is very cool looking, although twice the price of this pistol, not a gas spring, and, even though the advertized power puts it in the same general ballpark as this Trail NP pistol, whoa, 58 pounds of cocking effort! That’s in the cocking effort neighborhood of the Gamo 1450/SOCOM Extreme/Extreme Hunter! If I’m going to expend that much energy in cocking an airgun, it had better produce power around 20-25 foot pounds.

    Back to the Trail NP pistol, there must be some way to carbine-ize it, either with a telescoping add-on buttstock to a modified grip (is the grip hollow?) or with a specially made wood stock to replace the whole synthetic furniture that the pistol comes with.

    I envision a lighter-cocking, lower-powered, smoother-shooting Beeman C-1 that can be shot in the cold and left cocked for hours. That would be very cool.

    Man, I want this pistol to be accurate!


  15. I’m working on my Benjamin discovery that I just traded from my friend Dan again. He originally begged me to sell it to him until I finally did. Now that I got the gun back I’m seriously regretting having sold it to him since it came back to me in critical condition. Apparently Dan decided to have this old biker guy he knows mod it. The guy didn’t know what he was doing. I now need to replace the air guage that no longer works, the trigger that has been all chopped up, and had to replace every seal in the gun, also put all the upper end together correctly. It took me about 5 hours now to finally get it working again and I’m not entirely sure it will ever seal properly again. Looks like I have to replace the air valve inside it too. It looks like this old guy was grinding on that as well with a bench grinder. I’m just glad the wood stock wasn’t destroyed like the rest of the gun was. If you want to see somebody extremely angry, that is me at the moment. Luckily I have an old 2240 here that I can scavenge a few parts off of like the trigger. It looks like my 2240 is going to need some serious repairs after sacraficing it to fix the Discovery.

    Sorry. Had to vent a bit.

  16. Blessings and best wishes to Mac for, among other things, taking care of our favorite blogger over the years.

    That’s a fascinating observation about people getting what they want rather than what they need. Consumerism all the way. I suspect that also explains Edith’s observation that other things being equal, people will pay for something more expensive and like it too. Stands to reason that if what they are buying is dreams, they want the very best. Indeed without dreams, my little 5 yard range full of cardboard box silencers would collapse from sheer absurdity.

    But salesmen have got to be tough. My grandfather used to slam his door in the face of Jehovah’s Witnesses because they wouldn’t salute the American flag. I suspect that is a pretty common experience for other kinds of salespeople, when they aren’t greeted by something even worse at the door. My brother was investigating a job selling insurance and when he found out that they would often make a sale only one time out of a hundred, he asked them what kept them going. They said, it was all a matter of perspective; they look at a given 99 failures as just additional chances they had to get things right. They would also sing themselves a little song that went:

    Got the juice
    Got the fire.

    Got the juice got the fire
    Got the burning desire!

    And repeat.

    Speaking of successful people, I’ve read that one thing that distinguishes the super-successful is that they have a history of more failures than other people. 🙂

    They got the Boston bombers. Note well that you should never take my predictions seriously since I was as wrong about this as one could possibly be. I thought I was on the safest possible ground in supposing that the bombing was either domestic or foreign. Turns out it was neither or possibly both. I also said that given a choice, I suspected that it was domestic. Turns out that it was more foreign than domestic. No stock speculation by me.

    Anyway, now that the one guy is in custody, we can repeat one of the final lines from Othello:

    “To you remains the censure of this hellish villain.
    The time, the place, the torture, O enforce it.”

    By the way, did you see how geared up those policemen were? It’s a long way from the old Hollywood movies where the New York City beat cop would take out his .38 special revolver and fire shots at an invading dinosaur.

    But a larger point about these two bombers is how they belong to a very mysterious class of people. In 1945, Americans were astonished at Japanese diving their airplanes into ships on purpose. The idea before is that you would risk your life for your country, but you wouldn’t go out with the intention of losing it. The same is true of the fanatical Muslim suicide bombers. It’s crazy to us, but there is at least a cause and a logic, however twisted. But now you’ve got people committing massacres and then shooting themselves or ruining their lives for no reason at all. In some cases, like the shooter of Gabby Giffords, the person is certifiably insane and unable to control themselves from one moment to the next. But the majority seem to be more disturbed and dislocated than crazy. The Boston bombers may be among the weirdest since they both had looks, smarts, and athletic ability, and in the one case, a wife and child, and here they throw it all away by attacking the very country which rescued them from the toilet that they came from. Crazy.

    I’ve been going native with my adopted elephants in Kenya. The villains behind the poaching have been discovered. We have found a name for our pain and it is the neighboring Wakambe tribe which is attacking elephants with poison arrows, and in some cases AK47s all for the sake of quick money from organized crime. Think of your feelings when you raise elephants by hand with bottle feeding, then release them back into the wild only to have them come back filled with poisoned arrows and bullets. I would think the tension would begin to grow. The videos coming out of Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s Wildlife Trust are full of sweetness and light and elephant bonding but obviously she has an eye to the ways of the wicked world. She has her own private army or rangers equipped with AK47s and coordinating with air power, or at least aerial observation. I would think that the urge for a preemptive hit would get almost overwhelming.

    I also had a look at a bit of intrigue among elephants themselves. Some footage caught an act of kidnapping which apparently is not uncommon among elephants. A mother’s very young calf was stolen away by another herd. It was jailed in effect between the legs of an elephant while the matriarch ran off the mother. They weren’t necessarily going to spirit away the calf but were trying to assert their authority. Well lo and behold when the mother returns with own gang of big females who are obviously primed with a plan. They go plowing into the rival herd and one look at those huge posteriors shows you that they will not be denied. Sure enough, the calf was rescued.

    I even have, after much searching of video, managed to gaze directly into the eye of an adult elephant. I had actually looked at the eyes of elephant calves while bottle-feeding, and they are about as you would expect–dark and lustrous and expressive with long eyelashes. The adult I observed was the female elephant Tarra now at a sanctuary in Tennessee. She is the only elephant known to master rollerskating which I thought would be a basis for commonality. The skating was not any Olympic speed skating, but at least she knew enough not to fall down. I guess I was expecting deep pools of wisdom but what I saw instead looked hard, glazed, and slightly insane. Still, she’s very friendly in behavior.


  17. I remember those cap grenades.They were cool.Do you remember the pistol revolvers that you loaded with the I believe they were orange plastic cup shaped caps onto the six shooters revolver.If I remember right from the pistols I have shot through out time they loaded the same and the action was pretty much the same as the real guns being made.I was young though so don’t remember real good how realistic they were. They came after the paper caps on a roll.I remember we used to tare off and save the miss fires of the paper caps and put them in or pocket then come back later and use a small hammer or rock and pop them.Wow did we actually do dangerous things back then and didn’t even know it?

    • Howdy Gunny, out here in the wild, wild west those platic caps were red & attached to a ring, kind of a moon clip/speed loader. Yup, poundin’ paper caps on the side walk with dad’s best finishin’ hammer. Wuz kinda tough ta hide the evidence when ya got busted. Just one more reason he was pretty sure I was adopted & my family moved alot when I wuz a kid…but I always found ’em. ‘Course I always wore a helmet when doin’ stupid stuff, can’t get hurt with a helmet on!?! Shoot/ride safe.

      • Beaz,

        Well, it looks like we have another thing in common.

        When I was a kid living in Elizabeth, NJ, in the 1950s, one way I occupied my time during those long long summer months was to unroll a coil of red caps on the sidewalk and pound each one with a stone to make it pop. I also remember coils of blue caps, but I’m guessing they were either more expensive or more powerful because we always got the red ones. The joys of my misspent youth 🙂


        • Edith,

          Oh, I remember all of that, plus playing Kick The Can, Red-Light-Green_Light, Hide-And-Seek, Jacks, Marbles, among other things. back then (for me in the 60’s), there was no time for TV. We were outside playing most of the time. I also did a lot of fishing, and catching crawdads with the smaller fishes that we caught. I swear, by the time I was 8 years old, I could live in the wild all by myself, it seemed. I could catch spiders, bees, birds, rats, and pretty much anything that moved.


    • Red plastic in my memory. Available in either rings or strips (the rings were direct fit for the pistol, the strips had to be inserted one at a time and torn loose).

      And yes, they did have full functioning double/single-action trigger/hammer system. I think the last time I saw one it had gone to plastic body, just pot-metal for the cylinder, and had a red X plug in the muzzle.

      • The rings were for revolvers and the strips were for rifles! I lusted about one of those lever action rifles for 2 straight summers, I’d go to the store and look and fondle that rifle almost daily but never got one.

        I still have the cap guns that work with the rolls that went like ajvenom said click-click-bang-click-bang-bang-click. When I was sneaking on the enemy I’d place the strip by hand and cocked the hammer manually to be sure I wouldn’t miss him.

        And what are you guys talking about hitting the unxeploded ones with a hammer? You could make them flash with you finger nail, we all had a burnt thumb nail LOL and if you were a true badass you scratched them close to your mouth so the smoke would go in your mouth (without inhalling it of course) and you would blow the smoke out.
        You could also put a complete roll on your or someone else BMX (we all had BMX bikes and watched the BMX bandits with a young Nicole Kidman) and when the chain would squeeze it, it would make a much bigger bang 😀 and usually make the chain fall off 🙁 and you had to get your hands full of grease to put it back on 🙁 🙁 but it was all worth it.


  18. Edith.Cant wait for the guns to show their faces.Even if I don’t get one(or maybe I will).Its always exciting to see new things.Makes me feel like a kid in a candy store—again 🙂

  19. Man the fun I had back then.We would tie a fishing pole to one side of our mini bikes (don’t know why they called them that)and our air rifles to the other side.Ride up to the gas station right down the middle of the road and put I think about around a half gallon(maybe it was a quart I don’t remember) of gas in for about .25 cents.Ride back to the woods and fish and shoot all day long.As long as my grades were good and the things that needed to be done around the house got done I could pretty well be gone from morning to night.And crazy thing about it you didn’t even have cell phone back then.You discussed a time you would be home then that better happen cause if you didn’t you were probably out of luck for a few days.I didn’t like when that happened(again usually my fault).But you know whats crazy now days is if I forget my cell phone at home on the way to work or somewhere I feel lost.And just think what would happen if you had a gun strapped to the side of your motorcycle or something today.SWAT and every other agency would be ready for world war 3.Times were different then and I’m sure glad I grew up back then.

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