Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Speaking of Coffee

Weetabix says in comments:
I was just in NO for a few hours, but I couldn't get near Cafe du Monde.
Sorry about that.  You went to the tourist trap.  About six block upstream, at the Convention Center, there is another one, not the tourist trap.  It's right on the River Walk, and when you walk in, you might have two or three people in line ahead of you.  Order your coffee and beignets, and go sit on the pier and watch the river traffic.

But, the coffee I drink every morning, is Community Dark Roast.  It's the official coffee of the state of Louisiana, and it's been made since 1919, and accounts for half the coffee served in the state.  I picked up a couple of pounds today on my way home from work, because our coffee canister was getting low.

It's what I've brewed every morning since I can remember.  It's funny, but when I was in the Army during the late '70s and got leave to come home, we would drive all night so the baby would sleep.  When I crossed the Mississippi river at Vidalia, just at daybreak, I could smell Community coffee and I knew that I was home.

Sensitive Starbucks

I admit I was a bit confused about the brouhaha over Starbucks.  It seems two black men went in to a store, and didn't order anything.  The manager called police, and they were arrested.

Starbucks is closed today for sensitivity training.
The two men were exactly right: The right thing to do in Starbucks is not to order anything, because the coffee is disgusting. Starbucks' response, to be sure, was incommensurate with the problem: Rather than subject their employees to the ritual farce of sensitivity training, the company should spend money on high-quality coffee beans, and roast them lightly rather than burn them into acidic volcanic ash.
As I recall, the only time I ever drank a cup of Strbucks coffee was in New Orleans.  Belle and I were trouistiing there and came out of the hotel one morning to find a Starbucks.  I ordered a cup of black coffee, and they looked at me like I had lost my mind.  When I got my coffee, I was pretty sure it was the worst coffee I had ever tried to drink.  I poured it into a nearby pot plant and we walked three blocks to Cafe du Monde, where I got a proper cup of coffee.

It's fine if Starbucks wants to virtue-signal by giving all of it's employees training on how to deal with the people who walk in off the street.  But, they'd be better served by learning to brew a proper cup of coffee. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bore Diameter, Obsolete Cartridges, Etc

The 1860 Colt Army was a cap-and-ball revolver used during the Civil War.  Colt produced some 200,000 of them.  It was called a .44 caliber, but used a ball of 0.454 diameter.  (Nomially, a .45 cal ball), or a conical of the same diameter.

In 1866, William Mason went to work for Colt at the Hartford plant.  He patented a conversion to the 1860 Army that used a bored-through cylinder that would accept the newfangled brass cartridges coming into fashion.  The first of these revolvers used a straight-through boring of the cylinder that employed a cartridge with a heeled bullet.  The inside of the cartridge case was 0.430 in diameter and the forward part of the bullet was .45 cal to properly fit the bullet to the bore/groove diameters of the 1860 Army.  These new-fangled cartridges were called the .44 Colt.    This conversion revolver is now known as the Richards-Mason conversion.

Mason worked on a new pistol, the Open Top, but the Army rejected it, requesting a stronger frame and more powerful cartridge.   Mason re-designed the revolver with a top strap (like the Remington) and the first prototype was chambered in .44 Henry.    But, about that time, the Union Metallic Cartridge Company, in partnership with Colt, came out with a new, internally lubricated bullet and called it the .45 Colt.  Colt submitted this new revolver to the Army and they accepted it, along with the newer cartridge, in 1872.

Cartridges that use heeled bullets still exist, of course.  The most popular is probably the most sold cartridge in the world, the ubiquitous .22 Long Rifle.  But, I find it interesting that the .44 caliber 1860 Army and the 1873 Single action Army share the same bore diameter, regardless of what the cartridge might have been called. 

Nowadays, our popular .44 caliber revolver cartridges use a 0.429 diameter bullet.  This smaller bullet fits inside the 0.430 diameter cartridge case that we use for the 44 Special and .44 magnum. 

Monday, April 16, 2018


After a long day, when the gun belt is digging into your hip bones
And all you want to do is go home,
The sun setting on an old brick building.
Every brick comes alive and the architecture  is stunning.
It's okay, this will be over soon.

Missile Defense?

According to Zero Hedge, the Army is outfitting all the M1A2 tanks in Europe with a new, active missile defense package.
Back in March, we detailed how the United States Army M1 Abrams tank, an American third-generation main battle tank, was in the process of being upgraded with an invisible missile shield that will destroy all chemical energy anti-tank threats and other threats before reaching the vehicle. We even said, “that Washington is preparing their main battle tank for the next evolution of hybrid wars.
As an old tanker, I'd be interested to see how this works.  Anti-tank missiles have gotten more lethal over the years, and every tanker knows that any infantryman can hit you with a missile, from the Sagger to the RPG, and that while may not destroy the tank, it sure has the possibility of ruining your  whole day.  Back in the '70s and '80s we practiced missile defense, mainly though movement and tactics designed to break up the missile gunner's aim.  An active defense system would take one worry off the tank commander.

The paragraph above talks about "chemical energy" warheads, which is mil-speak for high explosive rounds.  These things use chemicals (high explosives) in a shaped charge to breach armor.  I doubt that it would have any effect on kinetic-energy (SABOT) projectiles, but if you're finding SABOT ammo on the battlefield, you're in a tank battle.

Way To Go,, Jimno

That lizard Jim Comey is launching a book tour and he began it with the talking heads on Sunday morning.  He said that President Trump is morally unfit to be president.
Former FBI Director James Comey called Donald Trump unfit to lead the nation, saying in an interview that aired Sunday that the president is “someone for whom truth is not a high value” and who treats women “like they’re pieces of meat.”
 Well, Jimno, let me tell you.  I watched you on national TV, outline a staggering case against a presidential candidate, making every point, every element of the offense,  You made a complete presentation of a crime, then wrapped it up my saying that the offender would not be prosecuted.

At that point, you unwittingly made the case that we have a bifurcated criminal justice system in the US.  One for the politically connected, and one for the rest of us.  This all came about at a time where the same DOH you work for was prosecuting a sailor for taking a selfie to show his parents where he worked. 

Jim Comey is a lizard.  He is a disgrace to cops everywhere.  He's morally unfit to have an opinion .  If I ever get the opportunity, I'm going to spit on his shoes.

Getting Bolder

Seen on the Book of Face, it seems that the opposition is getting bolder.  They're  telling us exactly what they want, and the agenda is open for all to see.  Like this little lady in the picture below.

No, sweetie, you're not.  The British tried it in the 18th century, and we made the point.  We'll still make the point.  No one is coming to take away my guns, and from what I see in the picture, the attempt will be short, brutal, and bloody. 

I suspect that she is talkin' trash, but talking trash around here might get you hurt.  Some of us believe that words still have meaning, and a threat is a threat.  I'm glad that they're finally comming out in the open with it, though.

I"m the NRA, and I"m freeom's safest place.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

R. Lee Ermey

I just learned on FaceBook that R. Lee Ermey (The Gunny) had passed away from complications from pneumonia.

He was an icon of the Vietnam era, and supported the troops everywhere.  His wiki page has already been updated to reflect  his passing.

You'll be missed, Gunny!  We all loved you.

Income Taxes

The annual angst for the American working class.    Belle and I are comfortable, both drawing a small retirement from previous pensions, and still working stiff's punching the time clock every day.  We are comfortable.  But, doing the annual tax drill is quite an eye-opener. 

The amount of taxes I pay each year is more than my AGI for many years of my working life.  I recall one year in my early military career, where I made under $10K.  It was okay, we ate well, lived in government quarters, and had use of all the base facilities.

Today, the taxes I pay is enough to support a family of four somewhere.  I suspect that our numbers are not out of line with many semi-retired couples all over the country.    It's a damned shame.  We're supporting someone who does not work at all.

I did learn, just minutes ago, that Retired Military Pay is not taxable as income under the State of Louisiana's income tax scheme.  Yee-haw!  This is good news.  That single fact put me from the red column over into the green on the Turbo Tax review.  I'm getting refunds from both the Feds and from the State.  (Yeah, I know, it's nor really a refund, it's a tax-free loan).  But, still, we're getting a modest little refund that will help with a renovation we want to undertake soon.

The taxes are done, and that is another thing checked off my list.

American Business

Chick-fil-A is an American phenomenon, a Christian run business that sells yummy chicken sandwiches.  Simple, good food that America has embraced.  And yeah, they're closed on Sunday.

However, not everyone is pleased when a Chick-fil-A store opens in their neighborhood.  Like the New Yorker magazine.

If I were the manager of that tore, I'd send the editorial office a sack full of sandwiches on Monday, with a nice note thanking them for the free advertising.

Sunday Weather

Yesterday I was walking around in a tee-shirt.  Belle started off the morning with the heater on, then during the afternoon, she clicked it over to AC.  Just about dark, a cold front blew through and she clicked it back over to the heat.  That little cold front also brought rain, so the yard is a soggy mess again.  Just about the time I think its dry enough to mow, we're back in the water.  The back yard is in dire need of a trim, and the front yard is looking pretty shaggy, too.

This morning, it's 43F our there and we've broken the jackets out of the closets.  It's sunny, and breezy, and makes he think of winter more than mid-April. 

I'm not complaining, though.  It will be summer soon enough.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Saturday Shooting

The Peacemakers moved to the new, 17-3/16th inch targets at 15 feet.  That is the format we'll be shooting at the US Nationals at the end of May, and I thought that it might be prudent to practive on them for a month or so.

According to the CFDA, it is exactly the same to shoot a 17-3/16 inch target at 15 feet as it is to shoot a 24 inch target at 21 feet.  I suppose that someone has done the math.  But, bullet flight time is less because we're closer to the target.  I managed to hit a 0/613 and Zach hit a 0.420. 

What amazed me, more than anything else, was how much more space we had in the range with the shooters 6 feet closer to the targets.  Belle is already postulating that we might have to move the scoring table closer and change the spectator seating area.

After Louisiana State, the shooters hit me hard today.  My stocks of wax and primers are almost depleted.  It's time to make another order.

The Banquet

At most major CFDA tournaments, we have a banquet.  It gives the ladies a chance to sparkle, and the men-folk a good meal.  We try to incorporate history, and music, and have a good time.

At Louisiana State, we rented the Libuse Czech Hall, an historic building that is still the center of the Czech community locally.  It's a fine old building, that seats about 120, and it was perfect for our gathering.  Oh, and the ladies sparkled.

We had a band, a group of musicians from the college up th road.  We asked them to play Dixieland jazz, so the band was horn-heavy.  The students did a great job.  One of the dances we do here in Louisiana is the second-line.  It's a Mardi Gras thing, where everyone cuts loose and dances their own interpretation.

And, of course, we ate.  We hired a local caterer, who provided an excellent repast.  We know that not everyone can eat seafood, so we tried to mix the menu a bit, to accommodate everyone.

The Banquet Menu
Cajun Roast Beef au jus
Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
Green Bean casserole
Bread Pudding with white chocolate sauce.

All in all, it was a wonderful night that gave the shooters a chance to mix and mingle in a lovely old community hall.  We danced, we laughed, we ate.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Not Ignoring Y'all

I thought I was busy during the run-up to Louisiana State, but that was a different kind of busy.  I'm trying to put this match to bed, and I'm dealing  with a flurry of emails concerning record-keeping.

I know that it's part of the deal, but the questions are starting to appear trivial and inconsequential.  But,I'm trying to maintain my sense of humor and give the functionary whatever it takes to make them happy, and possibly quiet.  It's aggravating as hell.

I understand the yearning of those folks to get their questions answered, but I am utterly convinced that in October, when the competition season is over, the answers to the questions I am dealing with will make not one whit of difference.

It's aggravating.   I'll answer his question one more time, and hopefully we can put the issue aside.  But, I intend to in October and see what effect my answer had on the final standings.  If, as I suspect, the question and answer was truly inconsequential, I'll remind him that he should learn to discriminate between what is important and what is not.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Louisiana State

The match is in the history books.  It was a good shoot, although we were plagued by weather and Louisiana mud.  Except for the weather, everything went perfectly.  I couldn't have asked for a better match, and the shooters understood that we couldn't control the weather.  The Louisiana State Championship was a huge, smashing success.

Two photos from the match.

That's my Belle, holstering her revolver after a bout.  I don't know many men who can say that their lady is an expert with the single-action revolver, but mine is.

The second photo is from the awards ceremony.  My grandson, Zach is a youth shooter and had done well in the Youth division, already seeded for the finals.  On Sunday morning, he wasn't slated to shoot until noon, but asked to shoot in with the men in the Resurrection match.  We do these matches on Sunday morning, as a fun match, normally as additional money for a charity.  Zach is 15-years-old and wanted to shoot the Resurrection match as a warm-up for the finals. and everyone agreed, although he was out of his division.  It's a fun match, after all.

In about two hours, Zach had put several really good shooters out of the match.  The current Texas State Champion fell to him, as well as the current Southern Territorials Champion.  He was on fire, and wielding his New Vaquero with deadly speed and accuracy.  When it was all over, he was left alone, standing at the line.  He had beaten every man who stood against him, and took the trophy for hat particular match.

I had the honor, and privilege, as Match Director, to present him the trophy, and I was as proud as any grandad could be that he had won it.

Louisiana State is in the history books.  If you want to see lots of pictures, go to Facebook and look up the Cross Branded Peacemakers.  Hundreds of photos there.

A Nation Divided

An interesting thought experiment over at Hot Air.  Are we a nation divided, with irreconcilable differences?  Jazz Shaw examines that premise at the link above.  And, it's an interesting mental exercise.

"Divorce is hard, but it’s easier than cutting the brake lines on your wife’s car."  Heh!  Well, I don't think we are to that point yet.  But, he does provide a map as a starter point.

The People's Republic of Soyland (PRC - North) and the Federalist States of America (FSA - South).  I suppose those names are a starting place too.  And, we're not talking armed conflict, just trying to reason how this thing might work out.  Go read the whole thing.

That Mueller Investigation

How long is this thing going to last?  Evidently, he doesn't have a boss who is concerned about a budget or lost man-hours, or much of anything else.

I've been an investigator, and my investigations had time-lines.  Sure, I wanted to be thorough, but if I spent a year, full-time on an investigation, my boss would be screaming.    I would have other investigations "stacking" on my desk, and the boss would be hollering for me to either find something or let it go cold.

What started out as an investigation into Russian collusion, has since turned into a general investigation of the Trump administration.    It highlights the double-standard of Washington politics.  N o one has yet investigated Hillary's extreme carelessness in handling classified information, nor her dealings with the Russians when she sold them uranium, nor that $1.7 billion in cash that Obama paid to Iran for God-knows-what.

It appears to me that Mueller is abusing his commission, and is in dire need of adult leadership.  It's been nearly a year since he began in May, with very little to show for it.  President Trump can't fire him without political backlash   That's the danger with special prosecutors.  They turn into loose cannons. 

It's time to wind this thing up.  Either he has something, or he doesn't.