Thursday, November 27, 2014


Thanksgiving is a holiday that's much misunderstood, so it's helpful to reflect on what actually happened during what we consider to be the first Thanksgiving.  Ben Shapiro offers a quick-and-dirty history of that event, one that you might not have heard.  Turkey might or might not have been on that first feast table, but regardless, it's a staple of our tradition now.

PawPaw and Milady are hosting our family celebration this year, and in observance of the proper traditions, turkey will be on the menu, along with ham, dressing, yams, and all the other goodies.  We're cooking the turkey on the smoker this year.  Heretofore I've bought a smoked turkey from a local high school who smokes several hundred as a fund raiser.  I didn't order a turkey this year, so I'm forced to smoke my own, and on Wednesday I put that bird into my smoke box.

Nothing fancy, just let him thaw, pat dry, season with oil and Tony's seasoning.  The pecan shells in the smoke will give it lots of flavor.  He's smoked for eight hours on Wednesday and he's on the smoker now for finishing.  I'll try to get a picture before he's served.

After six hours in the smoker.

It looks like it will be just fine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Song

Today we turn to a catchy tune by Australian artist Jamie O'Neal in 2000.  It hit #1 on the Billboard charts in February 2001.

Thoughts on Ferguson

I've watched this case unfold since August, and I haven't talked about it because it's too fresh.  But, now the Grand Jury has reported and found that the police officer acted in self-defense and returned a No True Bill.  The criminal case is now over at the state level.

In my 33 years on police work, I've watched a bunch of cases work themselves through the system, and that's what we have, a system that generally tends to sort out the truth from the fiction.  It's imperfect as most systems are, but it's the one we have and we try to constantly improve it.  Some folks are unhappy (disappointed..outraged) at the decision of the Grand Jury, but I remind everyone that the grand jury is a cornerstone of our system of justice.  

It's been said that a zealous prosecutor can go to a Grand Jury and indict a ham sandwich, but I have found that generally, when given all the information in a case, a Grand Jury will generally reach the right conclusion.  Some folks will be relieved and some folks will be disappointed, but that's the system we have, and it's generally a good system.

What I don't understand is rioting after a decision. It serves no purpose except to enrich the news cycle, and the newsies love to cover riots.  Even President Obama says that he has no sympathy for those who would destroy their own community.  Property destruction is counter-productive and makes no sense.  In the case of locally owned businesses, it makes no sense to destroy your neighbors livelihood.  In the case of national chains, it makes no sense to loot and burn because those businesses will not come back.  A friend of mine who lives in California and is familiar with the area says this:
50 years after Watts, and 25 since Watts II, and you still can't find a supermarket anywhere in the 'hood, just little overpriced mom-and-pop Asian-owned Stop-N-Robs.
Burning down your ow neighborhood is idiotic.  It destroys the value of the area, it costs jobs for people who work in the area, and it engenders a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.  It destroys people's lives who had nothing to do with the initial event.

I'm just one small voice, trying to make sense of the nonsensical, but burning Ferguson made no sense, whether it was the national chain auto parts store, or the small, locally owned bakery who's owner lives around the corner.  Those people trying to excuse the behavior of that small group of arsonists don't make any sense either.  Both the arsonists and their apologists deserve nothing but scorn.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Song

Released in October 1988, this song stayed on the US and Canada country charts for 14 weeks.  It got to number one on both charts.  Not coincidentally, it's great slow-dance music and if I'm in a redneck bar and it comes up on the playlist, you can be sure the dance floor will be full.

Earl Thomas Conley's What I'd Say.

More Axes

In the previous post, Old NFO says in comments:
That little skinning axe is neat! I need to find one of those... I've got a hatchet and a full sized axe, but that's it.
You may have a hatchet, old hand, and if you do, hang on to it, save it, because it's a rare bird indeed.  A true hatchet is an archaic tool, used around the farm, and often confused with the hand axe.  A hatchet has an axe blade on one end, and a true hammer head on the back side.  Like this
: You don't see many of these any more, because they are difficult to make properly.  The hammer head has to be hardened and the axe blade has to be a little bit softer.  It's hard to make a true hatchet, so manufacturers have pretty much dropped them for the more ubiquitous hand axe, which looks just like a short axe.

Hand axes are generally about 18" long and have a 1.5 to 1.75 pound head.  The example above is made by Collins and is available for under $20.00.

Of course, every culture has a hand axe, as they are very versatile tools.  One in particular comes up from time to time, the broadaxe, which is often though to be a tool of war, but was really designed for hewing logs, making joints, and making staves.  Most broadaxes are normally forged with a flat side and a beveled side, so that the artisan could control the way the axe cut wood.  Below is an example of a broadaxe.

That's a very nice example of an old broadaxe.  It looks like it has a new handle, which is fairly common on using axes.  My old grandad had an axe that he claimed was original, but it had been through four handles and two heads. Yet, he claimed it was the same axe.  I think he was pulling my leg.

Of course, when we're talking about hand axes, we can also talk about the ancient stone axes found all over the world, the tomahawks, the asian axes, indeed, there are thousands of variations.

Like I said earlier, I'm no expert on axes, but I have a working knowledge, and they're a fascinating study.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Everyone, at one time or another, needs a good axe, and while I'm no expert, I have a certain working knowledge of axes, sledges, and mauls.  Last month I was looking for my axe and was embarrassed to realize that it had gotten away from me.  Couldn't find it anywhere, so on my next trip to Lowe's I picked up a True Temper felling axe, a standard 3.5 lb axe with a 36"fiberglass handle.

This morning, I was browsing through the local hardware store and saw another axe that caught my eye.  Back in the day, we called it a half-axe.  Nowadays they're called a boy's axe, but it's the same tool.  Lighter at 2.25 lbs, it has a 28 inch handle, and is very handy for chores that don't require a full axe.  Of course, I walked into the store looking for a ball of string and came out with an axe.  A good hardware store is like that.  This particular example is made by Collins.

While setting up for this picture, I remembered my skinning axe that lives under the seat of the pickup truck, so I added it to the mix.  Mine is marked as Norwark, but lots of companies make them.  It's really more of a large skinning blade on a synthetic handle, that little axe isn't much good for camp chores, but it is dandy for skinning whitetail deer or larger animals.  That long, curved edge works wonders when you hold the tool just below the head and roll your wrist as you separate the skin from the animal.

I don't live in the woods any more, but it helps to have an axe around the homestead.  Like spoons, one is never enough, and to have a couple in varying sizes is handy indeed.

Monday Song

An old favorite, from 2009.

People are crazy.

Victim Shoots Robber

We begin Monday morning with this bit of pleasing news.  It seems that one goblin in New Orleans was robbing people on the street and got more than he asked for.
According to NOPD, the alleged armed robber, 22-year-old Samuel Sims, approached his intended victim on the 3000 block of Bruxelles Street at 5:49 p.m. and demanded his belongings. Police say the victim gave Sims his cell phone, but the alleged robber wanted more. 
Sims got his cell phone, but that wasn't enough.  So he demanded more.
 The victim then pulled out a gun and shot Sims in the chest leading to his arrest. 
Sims wanted more.  How about a bullet in your chest?  Sims is in the hospital by all accounts and the victim is cooperating with the investigation. That should be a fairly short police report.  Hopefully in the next few months, Sims will recover enough to help with the planting season at our state penitentiary.  There, he'll learn a useful trade, picking peas for the warden.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Morning Dawg

Taken yesterday afternoon, this picture perfectly encapsulates my desires on a Sunday afternoon.

Sleeping it off.  Every dog deserves a good nap on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Project

Installing a daffodil bed at our family's nursing home, Regency House.

We started building the bed this morning about 9:00.  Triple-tilled the ground, raked out all the St.Augustine grass, found some old bricks, then aded 500 l bs of Scott's Black Mulch.Planted 100 daffodil bulbs, then topped it with another 500 lbs of that same black mulch.

That grassy area between the patio and the daffodil bed will become another sidewalk that connects two walkways, so that the residents can have a walking path for exercise and recreation.

The daffodils are now bedded in for the winter and will be beautiful in the spring.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spilt Milk

Courtesy of Day by Day cartoons.

I'm working on it.


Checking email today, I come upon something that looks like spam, from The Depravity Standard.  The sentence that gave me the giggles is below:
We wanted you to be the first to know that the critical next phase of the Depravity Standard project is now online at, and we are writing to ask you to please sign up, and to once again have your say in shaping the final Depravity Standard.
Heh!  They want me to participate in a study on depravity.  I guess I'll click over and see what that is all about. Who knows what depravity I might uncover.

Naah, I've had a couple of drinks, and I  think I'll pass.