Sunday, January 15, 2017

Proof Of Concept

If you remember the post from Friday, we were playing with magnets.

Today, I found a box on my front porch, containing the sensor I had ordered.  And, the kids were over for lunch, so the boys and I repaired to the garage to see what we could cobble together.

We started with a common CFDA sensor that looks like this:

Then we mounted it to a little piece of lucite, and added magnets to hang it on the back of the target.  This thing is a piezo transducer that records hits on the target.  It's normally hard-mounted to the target, but I wanted to hard-mount it to a piece of metal or something.  My very capable sons decided that a small piece of lucite would be just the key, so in a few minutes we had cut a pice and mounted the magnets to the lucite and mounted the sensor box as well.

So, there is the sensor box and two magnets, mounted on a piece of lucite.  It's not very elegant, but it is a prototype, so we walked out to our range, got a small target, and decided to see how it would work.  It mounts cleanly on the back of the target.

So, nothing else would do but to hook it to the electronics and see if it works.  In the video below, the target is hard to see from the background, and it helps if they hit the target, but I feel like we had some fun and proved that the prototype works.

Yep, once you hit the target, the sensor works and we are able to get a time.  Now, all I have to do is get some better screws and we'll be ready to make some of these things.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Friday, January 13, 2017


As you all know, I'm spending a lot of time playing with CFDA shooting, acquiring equipment, learning shortcuts, and having a lot of fun.

I want to expand my personal range, and we're making some changes at our club range, and I'm experimenting.  When we use the CFDA timing equipment (and that's about all that's available right now) it requires that you drill holes in your target to install a hit sensor on the back of the mild steel target.  It's a simple piezo switch that hooks to the back of the target.  It wiggles when the target is hit, and it trips the timer.  It looks just exactly like this:

The description on the CFDA webstore page says:
These sensors are constructed with highly dependable piezo transducers, they also have a foam box filler which nearly eliminates false hits recorded on the timer.Comes with 2-10/32 screws, with lock nuts, for secure attachment.
There may be a good reason to screw them to the target, but I don't see it.  I'm thinking that putting a faceplate on them, and affixing them to the back of the target (which is, again, mild steel) with magnets ought to work just fine.  To that end, I started looking for suitable, inexpensive magnets this week.

Talking to a tech at work, over coffee, it turns out that every hard-drive has two magnets installed inside.  And, with thousands of computers in active service at any time, there are a certain number of hard drives that go defunct (ask Lois Lerner).  So, I was able to scrounge a couple of old, defunct hard drives, with the understanding that as I salvaged the magnets, the remainder of the drive would be completely destroyed.

I did, in fact, destroy the hard drives.  And, after destruction, I mailed them to the IRS for their attention. (just kidding).  Yeah, they've been destroyed.  A half-inch drill bit run through them, then a session with a propane torch had rendered them warped, holed, and completely defunct.  But I digress.

One thing that I learned is that all hard-drive magnets are not created equal.  Some are very strong, some only marginally strong.   But, they all come with cool little mounting brackets.

So, I've ordered some spare switches to experiment with, and I have some freebie magnets to experiment with.  Hopefully, the switches will be in next week and we can begin experimenting with vigor.

The journey continues.

The Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting

Everybody has heard about it by now.  I was aware of the incident late last Friday, where a gunman opened fire near the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.  Five killed, eight wounded, and about 36 injured during the ensuing panic.

Milady mentioned to me earlier this week that she had heard that the shooter carried his gun in carry-on luggage.  That rumor is bogus.  All information seems to indicate that he checked his gun through the standard protocol that TSA follows for traveling with guns and ammo.
A county official says the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter pulled a gun out of a checked bag, loaded in a bathroom and started shooting, killing five people and wounding at least eight.
Competitivie shooters and hunters routinely carry firearms and ammunition on commercial flights.  There are procedures in place to safely accommodate the transportation of firearms and ammunition. Evidently, this knowledge is brand-new to some groups, who think that airports are gun-free zones. Joe Huffman reports on the activities of one such group.  Following Joe's link, we come to this tidbit.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Passengers should be able to count on TSA and local and state law enforcement authorities to protect them.  The principal lessons from Lockerbie, the 9/11 attacks, and the Brussels, Istanbul and now Fort Lauderdale airport massacres are that air transportation continues to be a prime target for terrorism and mass murder.
I hate to butcher Ben Franklin's quote on liberty vs safety, yet it seems as if the usual suspects are lining up to once again try to abrogate my rights.  A pox on them and their efforts.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


There are options out there for concealed carry.  I freely admit that I haven't kept up with the current state of the art, but this video shows some of what is possible.  Go ahead, full screen it.

There is no reason for the well-dressed woman to be defenseless.  The link she touts is here.

Great Meltdown Piece

I'll say one thing for him.  He knows how to craft a sentence. T wit:
 The conservatives of the heartland have lashed back against the coastal elites' condescending, classist prejudices by defiantly confirming them: that they're pathetically dumb and gullible, uncritical consumers of any disinformation that confirms their biases, easy dupes for any demagogue who promises to bring back the factories and keep the brown people down.
That's a great sentence.  Truly, it is.  Nice construction, proper punctuation, it's very well crafted.  It's also illuminating.  That is what they think of us.
Ignorance and bigotry are actually the best possible motives for having voted for Trump — they are at least honest, if not honorable. But I don't believe all Trump voters are ignorant, or bigoted; most of them are just evil 
It's a great rant, really it is.Even if he's wrong about everything.   He admits to knowing exactly two Trump voters; a Texan and a Marine.  The difference between Tim and I is that I know lots of liberals.  Good, honest, gullible liberals.  Kind-hearted liberals.  Their arguments ring hollowly against experience and practice.  We look on them as mentally challenged, or developmentally disabled.

But, they think we're evil.

The Confirmations

Like many of you, I'm trying to keep an eye o the confirmation hearings.  The predictable left is going batshit crazy over Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.  There are those on the predictable left who don't think that any white man from a Southern state is morally qualified to fill that post, and their over-the-top rhetoric is illuminating.

As Jon Gabriel so famously said, "My favorite part of the Obama era is the racial healing."

Along those same lines, we have the upcoming (today, I understand) confirmation hearing for General James Mattis.  General Mattis is Trump's pick for SecDef, and it's not hard to draw a clear line between the General and that wimp, Ash Carter, who is Obama's SecDef.  Under Carter's meddling, the Social Justice Warriors have proliferated, to the point where women can now be assigned to combat roles, and openly transgendered individuals can serve.  I have a hard time believing that General Mattis will subscribe to either of those theories.

Let me say, for the record, that I served wtih some outstanding female soldiers over the years.  Mainly in the Military Police, which has a combat support role.  They did the job just fine and I have no complaints.  I did NOT serve with female soldiers in the combat arms (Infantry, Armor, or Cavalry) that I was assigned to at differing points of my career.  Women did just fine, in my experience, in a combat support role (and in today's modern battlefield, it's sometimes difficult to know wheterh you're in a support role, or whether you're in active combat).  It depends, I guess on which way the tracers are flying.

Whatever my beliefs on the role of women and gays in the military, I'm fairly certain that the hearings of General Mattis are going to stir the pot thoroughly.  If McConnell can get Sessions and Mattix confirmed quickly, the SJW/Race-hustlers/Sexually Confused will melt completely down.  What a glorious day that will be.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Eric Holder's Disgrace

Remember those guns lost in Fast and Furious?  Yeah, that was Holder's operation to track "crime guns" that he let walk across the border in the early years of the Obama administration?  We talked about it way back when.

Well, it seems that another one of those AK-pattern rifles has turned up.  In France.
One of the guns used in the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks came from Phoenix, Arizona where the Obama administration allowed criminals to buy thousands of weapons illegally in a deadly and futile “gun-walking” operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
Holder still needs to answer for this.  Preferably at the end of a long rope. There is no telling how many murders he is personally responsible for.  God, I loathe that man.

Hat tip, Wirecutter.


Bullying is a problem as old as mankind, with new twists as technology advances and people change.  And, the state requires that school personnel get training on combating bullying once a year.

That's what I'm doing today.  Bullying Awareness and Prevention.  It's a compelling subject, which is why so many people sleep thru it.  And I'm an instructor.  I feel like there's a little cord in my back.  They wind me up, pull the cord, and words come out of my mouth. I feel like a Chatty Cathy doll.

Question: Should repeated PowerPoint presentations be considered bullying, or just harassment?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Submachine Gun

One of the blogs I read every day, is They Make All Kinds.  It's over in the sidebar, easy to find, but today they highlight an archaic, historical weapon, the German MP 3008 submachine gun.

Yeah, I took the pic directly from their site.
This is one of the many submachine guns produced by the warring nations during WWII.  The Brits had the Sten, the Americans had the M3, and the Germans had the MP 40.
Another last-ditch weapon produced to arm German National Militia units. The MP 3008 submachine gun was developed and manufactured during final stages of the World War 2. It is also known as "Volks Machinenpistole" (People's submachine gun). Several German factories, as well as smaller shops, produced about 10,000 (?) of these MP 3008 submachine guns in several minor variations, with several types of buttstocks, including metallic skeletonized or tubular butts, or simple wooden butts. 
All these little guns are pretty much alike.  Simple, rugged, blowback actions.  They are all a lot of fun to shoot.  I admit no experience with any but the M3 that I was issued as a tanker, but I'm pretty sure that they are all a lot of fun, spraying bullets nilly-willy across the landscape.  They were also extremely inexpensive to produce. By inexpensive, I'm told that the US had less than $25.00 in each copy of the M3 in the original contract.

That's cheap shooting.  I'd love to have a sack full of M3s, or for that matter a sack full of MP 3008s.  I imagine that I could have a lot of fun teaching the grandkids about submachine guns.

Traffic Stop

It was several years ago, on a cool, clear night.  I don't remember exactly what the occasion, but I had been at the high school where I worked since before daylight.  Probably a sporting event, or a dance, but I had arrived at the school house before daylight and when I left that evening, it was long after dark.

I remember that as I drove home, stomach growling, that the fast-food jonts were closed.  It was probably after midnight, and it had been about 12 hours since I choked down the school lunch. at noon.  I was a bit dismayed that the burger joints had closed, but home was a scant eight miles away, and I know how to fry bacon and eggs.

I wasn't in a police car, I was piloting my F150 pickup.  But, I had my police radio on my belt, the microphone near my shoulder.  As I motored down the road toward the house, I heard the crackle of static, and a voice come over the radio.

"RP2, dispatch.  I'll be out with a white Explorer,on 28, about a mile east of Holloway."

"What the hell?", I wondered.  The Chief Deputy hisself, on a traffic stop at this hour of the night.  Still, he was the Chief, and I was just a lowly Resource Office.  If the Chief wanted to make a traffic stop, who the hell was I to wonder about it.  Besides, bacon and eggs waited just a few miles down the road.

Another mile down that two-lane highway, I happen to see blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror, so I pull over to the shoulder to let him pass, then I'm a bit amused when he pulls in behind me.

I hear his radio traffic.  "123,dispatch, I'm going to be out with a silver F150, license, WRF235, on 28 near Libuse."

I figure, what the hell, two can play this game.  So I key my mic.  "920, dispatch.  I'm going to be out with 123."  Dispatch replied "10-4"

I stepped out of the truck, into the headlights of the police cruiser.  "What the heck are you doing?"

The young deputy crawled out of his car.  "They sent me down here tonight to do traffic enforcement.  So far, I've stopped three state troopers, two city policemen, a registered nurse, and you."

"Well," I replied, "it's been 18 hours in these boots.  If we're done here, I'm going home to cook some breakfast, and lay down."  I cautioned him, "Be careful, the Chief is making traffic stops in Holloway."

He looked down the darkened highway. "Naw, not me.  I'm going back to Tioga and tell the sergeant that traffic enforcement ain't happening tonight."

He went to his cruiser, and I got back in the truck.  "920, Dispatch.  Everything is Code 4 here.  Show me out of service, please."

Just another night of traffic enforcement on the state's highways.

Monday, January 09, 2017


It seems that the University of Chicago is offering $500 to student tour guides to come up with "creative" solutions to change the perception that Chicago is dangerous.
The University of Chicago’s admissions office is offering an incentive to its student tour guides: Come up with “a creative way to dispel the negative perception'” that the city is unsafe.
Perception?  With nearly 800 homicides, and over 3600 wounded, that sounds like more than an unfounded perception

But, hey!  Good luck with that.

Two Years

I was piddling around in the shop today, working on a target for Cowboy Fast Draw.  Suddenly, I realized, it's been two years.  Two years since I started this game.  It's been a wild ride.

Small Target for CFDA shooting. This one is 17 3/16"
It was January 2015 when I was first invited to Thorn Valley to try this sport, and in February, I bought Belle her first rig for Valentine's Day, and by March, we were hooked.  Little, at that time, did I know what we were getting in to.

Since then, I've bought nine guns, at least that many holsters and belts, I've bought target electronics, made targets, constructed a home practice range, bought clothing, jewelry, hats, we've gone whole hog.

We've traveled to several shoots, planned a couple, slept in hotel rooms, traveled around,eaten strange things.  And, we've met a lot of people.  Good people, salt-of-the-earth people.  The people is the reason that we've continued on this journey.  These are folks worth knowing, worth shooting against, worth worrying about.

This is the only shooting organization I've ever been in where the competitors sincerely want everyone to have a good time.  Where they'll take a minute to coach a competitor, someone who might meet then on the line during the next round.  Where equipment is loaned freely, to help another shooter,

Two years of making friends, and laughing, and shooting, and sharing equipment, and sharing stories, and winning a few trophies, and educating young people on safe gun-handling.  I am convinced that the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the premier organizations in the US today.  For organization, gun-handling, education, and connecting with members, the organization is simply un-paralleled.

It's been quite a ride.  I hope it goes on for a long, long, time.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Crawfish Etoufee

Some folks have been asking for Belle's recipe for Crawfish Etoufee.  Etoufee is many things to many people, and recipes vary.  Some make it dark, with a roux.  Some make it red, with tomato products, some make it golden.  The difference in the recipe is something that is passed down from family to family, and based more on preference than any other criteria.

Belle's etoufee is red.  Serve it over rice.You'll notice that there are very few proportions and absolutely no measurements.  Do what you gotta do.  Make it yours.  Prep and cooking time, 2 hours.

Crawfish Etouffee

Crawfish tails, prepped and packaged.
Tony Chacherie's seasoning
Onions, chopped
Bell Pepper, chopped
One stick real butter
Small cans tomato sauce (one small can per lb crawfish)
reen oion tops, chopped.


Put your crawfish tails in a bowl, season them with Tony's seasoning.  Set aside.

Sautee onions and bell pepper.  When sautee'd, add one small can tomato sauce for each pound of crawfish.  Add stick of butter.  Simmer on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Add crawfish tails, simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add a little flour if it needs to be thicker.Add chopped onion tops.

Serve over rice.