Thursday, July 28, 2005

Long Weekend

Due to the uncertain nature of Milady's profession, we haven't had much time to ourselves. I just got a call from her, and she is off for three days starting tomorrow.

We are outta here! She said Vicksburg, and it is my job to find a hotel, some attractions, and (most importantly) antique shops. Milady loves antique shopping and sometimes we spend entire days wandering through shops, looking for that one absolutely perfect item. I have a small collection of decanters that I am trying to augment, and I am always on the lookout for antique police badges. They are few and far between, but I keep looking.

So, if you don't see any new posting this weekend, that is because PawPaw and Milady are out of town.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Child Poverty Grows in Louisiana

Interesting article in the Times Picayune today. It seems that child poverty is growing in this gret stet. One of nine children live below the poverty level.
Louisiana's child poverty rate, perennially among the worst in the nation, soared by a staggering 11 percent between 2000 and 2003, according to a major national study. As many as half the state's youngsters live in households with incomes below the poverty level and 30 percent of them are trapped in outright destitution, the study found.
Why is this? I'm glad you asked. The answer is further down the page.
In Louisiana, about one child in 10 lives in a home in which neither parent holds down a formal full-time job.
So the the question that logically follows is; Why aren't the parents working? Again, the author gives us this answer.
Four employment barriers that experts consider the most difficult to overcome conspire against these poor families, the Casey Foundation said: substance abuse, domestic violence, depression and a history of incarceration.
Okay, got it.

The article also cites other factors, such as extremely young parents, absent parents, and having marketable skills.

Funny, I seem to recall those same things influencing me when I was in school and preparing to enter the adult workforce. I knew that if I did drugs, battered women, stayed in jail, I wouldn't be able to get a good job. Therefore, I avoided those things. The study also cites a deep cultural bias, and I guess I am guilty of that too. I'm generally biased against people who don't work, batter women, do drugs, and are a drain on society. Go Figure.

We've long known that if you want the children to be happy, healthy and well adjusted, they have to be in a strong, loving home where the parents are happy, healthy and well-adjusted.

This ain't rocket science, folks. Hat tip to YRHT for the link.


Evidently, in this post, I accused the Oyster of something that is not introduced into evidence. I accused him of supporting a ban on assault rifles. What I said was this:
I read over at YRHT that a liberal mayoral candidate wants to ban assault rifles. The Oyster supports the idea and when I asked him in comments why anyone would want to ban assault rifles, he replied "Other than being used to kill people on a near-daily basis, I think they've been rather trouble-free."

He takes me to task in comments, and upon a further review of the posting, I believe that I may be in error. For that I apologize. I don't know that the Oyster has ever come down on one side or the other of the assault rifle question. My assumption that he supports a ban may be incorrect. For that I apologize.

For the record, I do not want to unjustly label any reader or fellow blogger. My editing skills were suffering from a lack of in-depth fact-checking. For that I apologize.

We don't know where the Oyster stands on the assault weapons question and any supposition on my part is clearly an error. For that supposition, I am wrong.


Last year, after stubbornly refusing to spend good money on a semi-automatic pistol, I was standing at a gun counter and a 1911 sounded the siren call. My current agency lets us carry a 1911 if we prove we are safe with them, so with the blessings of my department, I bought my first semiauto.

For years I had carried a revolver. It was a constant companion and I never felt undergunned with it. For some reason, the 1911 sang to me, and I brought it home and qualified with it.

Those of us who know law enforcement know that it isn't much of a stretch to qualify with a particular pistol. The course of fire is designed to weed out the incompetent, not challenge the hobbyists. Yeah, I was qualified with the pistol, but there was a lot about it I didn't like, like the sights. They were fixed and didn't sight where the gun was shooting. I had to fix that, so recently I went over to Brownells and bought a Novak adjustable rear sight to fit my pistol. Then I started playing with loads.

I tried a couple of different loads, trying to find one that woul shoot to the same point of aim that my duty ammo shoots. I wasn't happy with either of them, until today. I was looking in the material that came with the loading dies, and there was load data supplied by Lee Precision, and a little dipper. The load data said that if I would put one dipper of Bullseye powder under a 230 grain lead bullet, I would have a load that approximated my duty load. I loaded a couple of boxes and headed to the range.

Eureka. The pistol finally shoots where it looks.

This target at seven yards. That is fourteen rounds of ammo.

Then, I got out a qualification target and started playing around at various ranges. From 7 to 50 yards, I am able to make head shots. That target, for the record, is 2 shots at seven yards, two shots at 25 yards, and one shot at 50 yards.

The good thing about that load is that it shoots into the front sight. For those who don't understand that terminology, the front sight on my pistol mikes out at 0.125", and when I look at it from a normal shooting position, it is 32" from my eye. A little common geometry and we learn that the sight subtends 3.51 inches at 25 yards and 7.02 inches at 50 yards. The gun shoots into the width of the front sight, which is as close as a marksman can hold.

I've got that load recorded, and I'm through toying with loads for the 1911. It shoots. That load is easy to put together, it is inexpensive, and it feels right when I fire it. It uses the Lee TL452-230-2R bullet made of of throwaway wheelweight metal. I can get the components for this load anywhere in the civilized world.

While I carry factory ammo for duty purposes, it is nice to have a reliable reload I can use to save money. And, in a pinch, I bet that a 230 grain lead bullet traveling at something over 900 fps would give a goblin a headache.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Jihad Jane

The Grouchy Old Cripple sends us to this link. It seems Jane Fonda is coming out against our involvement in Iraq.

And she is going to be riding some type of alternate fuel bus. HAHAHAHA! I can't make this stuff up.

The best hope is that she breaks down somewhere unfortunate. Very unfortunate. Is there a statute of limitations on Treason? Why hasn't someone prosecuted her yet?

I'll forgive that bitch when Israel forgives Hitler.

Murder in New Orleans

I read over at YRHT that a liberal mayoral candidate wants to ban assault rifles. The Oyster supports the idea and when I asked him in comments why anyone would want to ban assault rifles, he replied "Other than being used to kill people on a near-daily basis, I think they've been rather trouble-free."

I don't think Oyster knows what he is talking about. I don't think the Oyster knows what is involved in defining an assault rifle. I don't think the Oyster knows that true assault rifles were banned in the United States in 1934, and that the look-alike ban that was enacted under Clinton had nothing to do with assault rifles.

The liberals just want to ban something. Anything, it doesn't matter. No matter that murder is already against the law. No matter that it is already against the law to fire a gun in a city, no matter that using a firearm illegaly will get you locked up. It isn't about the criminality, it is about the hardware.

The guy's platform says that he wants to ban pit bulldogs. Aw, Jeez. Same logic here as before. He doesn't know what the hell he is talking about. I guess he wants to ban American Pit Bulldogs, like Petey, here.

Or maybe, just any bulldog will do, like Willie, shown here:

Or maybe they'll want to ban rottweillers or Catahoula Curs or any other kind of look alike dogs. Lets just ban something.

Typically liberal. I thought they were the party of freedom. I guess not.

Whazzup with Henry Earl?

You gotta love this guy. He is a perennial drunk who lives in Lexington, KY, and spends a lot of time in jail. A lot of time. Like 128 days this year, for a grand total of 28 arrests so far in 2005.

When I was a jailer, we had guys like this in the jails I worked. Guys who just for the life of them couldn't seem to stay out of jail. A couple of them were homeless and used jail as a place to be when food was hard to find, or when the weather threatened to be unpleasant.

Each jurisdiction does it differently, but basically serial misdemeanants like Henry Earl are a drag on the criminal justice system. We operate a bed and breakfast at the county level that a bunch of those guys frequent. Inside, they get basic medical care, a clean cot and three hots. Regular showers are a part of the bargain.

The management is a pissy bunch, yet there are certain rules for extended stay guests and as long as you play by those rules you can stay in jail on the cheap. Given the uncertainty of the Judges, however, you might find yourself evicted without notice.

Here's the way it works. Suppose it's getting winter and you don't want to be sleeping under the downtown bridge during the cold weather. So you do a little planning. In a month the weather will be really bad, so you have to get inside before the temps drop into the life-threatening zone. So you commit a crime. A tiny little crime, like threatening to throw a brick through a window. You commit this crime at the local convenience store at three in the morning with two police cruisers parked in the lot. While being arrested, take a swing at one of the cops. That's good for thirty days. If you actually throw the brick through the back window of the cruiser, that's good for six months.

So the police put you in the cruiser and take you down to the jailhouse. You are processed and assigned a cell. The next morning a Judge stops by and interviews all the newly arrested. The Judge sets bonds and insures that we are doing our job as jailers.

So, there you sit, in jail, with a trial date in a month. Life is good. You are in a warm place. You are being fed regularly. There is a shower and clean sheets and you are in jail with other like-minded individuals. There are dominos and TV for your waking hours. Your trial is set for November, and with a little luck you can plead guilty and get a six month sentence and with good behavior, will get released late in March, when the lillys start to bloom. Life is good.

So, the holiday season rocks along and you are inside, warm and well-fed. Along comes the Judge and notices you there. The jail is full and the Judge needs to make some room so that other, more serious criminals can be maintained. The judge looks at your file and sees that you have been in jail for sixty days on a Disturbing the Peace charge. The brick didn't actually damage the window because you were too drunk and missed the cruiser. The cops know that you didn't mean any real harm. The judge orders your release: Time Served.

The Jailer, who knows you, does the outprocessing and takes you to the main door of the jail. He opens it to show you a blinding blizzard with wind chills in the low single-digit range. The jovial jailer puts his hand on your back, wishes you a good life, and eases you through the door. The door slams shut behind you. You've been released.

The Jailer chuckles and walks back to his coffee pot. He makes a bet with another jailer who thinks that you'll be back before dark. In the meantime there are other inmates to process and you are now just a memory.

You, on the other hand, freshly rehabilitated, are standing in a blizzard dressed in summer clothing. You gotta find a cop fast.

Monday, July 25, 2005


6:51 p.m. and it is still 92 degrees F in the shade on my back porch. Not a breath of wind. There hasn't been a breeze all day. The humidity is so high that I see a rainbow to the east.

We're in for a blow.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Shot the wrong guy, huh?

I hate it when that happens. Rob and others are reporting that the police shot the wrong guy.

Frankly, when I first heard that the Bobbys had shot someone, I was intrigued, because I didn't think they went heeled.

Lets review:

1) The guy knew English.
2) He was wearing a bulky overcoat in the Summer.
3) He was accosted by police and ran into the underground tube.
4) Police have recently had a rash of bombings in the underground tube.
5) The "pucker factor" of the police was probably high.
6) It doesn't take long for a suicide bomber to detonate himself and others.

There is a lesson here. If you are in a town that is having a rash of bombings and the police tell you to stop, then stop, dammit. You might live to see the day.

The cops have apologized, and sure as shit, someone is going to get sued. Momma will get a nice settlement, and maybe she should have taught her kids not to run inside.

Not in the plans

Kim duToit asks a good question about every man's plans for retirement. It deserves an answer, although I might not be able to give it the eloquence it deserves. Go read the question. I'll wait right here.

Done? Good. I raised four kids and I have four grandchildren, and thankfully I haven't yet found myself in the position to provide full time care to the grandchildren. This blog is called Pawpaw's house, incidentally, and that should provide some insight to my feelings for my grandchildren.

My wife and I discussed our feelings about raising grandchildren and as much as we love the little buggers, we also want our own space. We sum it up in the phrase "Love to see them; love to see them go."

However, Milady and I both know that the uncertain nature of life is capable of throwning you a curve and that if, God Forbid, one of my children is killed, then the care of the grandchildren might devolve to us. They would have a place to live and a caring, loving home. Adjustments would be made and sacrifices entailed to provide a secure environment for my family.

Grandkids are family, after all, and you do what you have to do for family. My children know this. They have been taught this since diapers and they know that family is the strongest bond a group of people can have. Family first. Therefore, they also know that as long as they draw breath and have the ability to care for their offspring, all other considerations are second. Career, lifestyle, upward mobility, all things come second to family. I have raised my children and expect them to raise theirs, whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice.

Now, the grocer in Kims tale feels like he has been screwed, and rightfully so. This kid has two able parents and they are unwilling to assume the responsibilty of raising a child. Momma doesn't want the kid and wishes to pursue her life and career without the burden of raising a child she brought into this world. Tough shit. I'd hire a lawyer expressly for the purpose of making her life a living hell. She would pay child support in ever increasing amounts for twenty-five years. The kid has to go to college, after all, and has to get through grad school.

The son, who wants to do the honorable thing would get a "mother-in-law" house in the backyard. Or an apartment down the street. He would be responsible for raising his child. Son would have to work, because raising kids cost money. PawPaw would be happy to watch over the child after daycare and after school when that time comes. Grandchild would know that Pawpaw is across the backyard. PawPaw would be available for babysitting one evening a month, so Son could take a little downtime.

This is the deal we have made with our own children, by the way. We watch grandkids when necessary for work purposes, but they are almost always gone from our house by bedtime. If an adult child has to work late, or is called out of town on business, I'll watch the kids overnight, but it better damn well be limited to once month. After school, they are welcome over here every day. I'll pick up kids at daycare every day if necessary. No problem, but they only sleep over once a month.

I don't want to hear about working nights on a regular basis. You had this child and kids, unfortunately, aren't nocturnal. They operate on a daylight schedule. Get over it, and get a job in construction. There are plenty of construction jobs in Florida, or Texas.

That's the way we handle extended care. The grandchildren are always welcome, but the parents know that PawPaw can be a grouchy sonofabitch when they abuse the privilege.

The grocer guy needs to set a few rules in his household. After talking with his wife. There is plenty of time to play golf in the mornings when the kid is at daycare, and plenty of time to be a PawPaw late in the afternoon.

Gimme your comments. I've lived this one.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More from Gitmo

It seems that Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) went to Gitmo on a junket and took some time to talk to constituents there. That is a smart move politically, as the pictures get posted in the local papers and when Momma sees the young-un shaking hands with the Senator, all is right with the world.

Unfortunately, the good Senators didn't get quite what they bargained for.

Instapundit (like he needs the link) reports
"They got stiff reactions from those home-state soldiers," one official told us. "The troops down there expressed their disdain for that kind of commentary, especially comparisons to the gulag."
Austin Bay summarizes the Democrats that he knows in uniform:
I know some troops who are very liberal socially and are the kind of lightning the Democratic Party needs– but they don’t have any truck with Sen. Durbin’s “Gitmo gulag” comments and Pelosi-Kennedy-Boxer-Dean defeatism. They are centrists, like Joe Lieberman. Harry Truman would be proud of them. So would Jack Kennedy.
Austin Bay goes further, to quote an article by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough.
Both senators made no mention of the incident in press statements after the visit. Mr. Kennedy, in his statement, said that he is “impressed with the courtesies and professionalism of the men and women in our armed forces.”
So, Senator Kennedy is impressed with the courtesy and professionalism of our armed forces.

Hmmm. Sounds like the rotund Senator learned that one can be polite and still disagree. Can be professional and still disagree. Sounds also like his own constituents read him the riot act. That's gotta add to his heartburn quotient.

Just wrong

This is just wrong. My darlin daughter was babysitting the grandsons and painting her toenails getting ready for the weekend. The youngest grandson said he wanted his toes painted, so she got out some polish and took care of that little detail.

This is so wrong. My daughter should be ashamed. That three-year-old will get over it, I'm sure, but his Momma is liable to blow a gasket.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shoot to Stop

I was surfing over at Say Uncle and found this post, which talks about the use of lethal force. All of my training and experience over 24 years has taught me a few things about lethal force. First of all, you never want to use it. You may have to use lethal force, but you never want to use it. Trust me on this one.

If you find yourself in a lethal force situation, there are certain things you must do to stay legal. Most importantly, make sure that the situation requires lethal force. If it doesn't, then you don't want to be the one to bring lethal force into the mix.

Next, convince yourself that you are going to continue the fight until it is over. Mental preparation is 95% of the battle.

Also important, train yourself that you will only shoot someone to compel him to stop doing a certain action. In short, you want to Shoot to Stop. We don't shoot to kill, nor shoot to wound, but shoot to stop.

Let me give you an example.

You get out of your car and go into a convenience store. You notice a goblin holding a gun on the cashier. You draw your gun and tell the goblin to drop his gun. He drops the gun. You tell him to lay flat on the floor. He does so, and is taken into custody without incident. That is a good use of force. The goblin stopped doing what he was doing and was taken into custody. No one was hurt.

Now, lets change the scenario just a bit. You get out of your car and enter the convenience store. The goblin is there holding a gun on the cashier. You draw your gun and tell him to drop his, but this time, he turns and points the gun at you. You shoot him twice in the chest, he falls and drops the gun. You give him medical assistance, he is taken into custody. This is still a good shooting. You told the guy to stop, and when he didn't you shot him.

More importantly, later, when you are on the witness stand (you will be on a witness stand, trust me), you can say with all sincerity and conviction that you did not intend to kill or wound the goblin, you only wanted to stop him from committing a crime. He continued the crime and you were forced to use lethal force to make him stop.

Shoot to stop takes all the intent to kill or wound out of the equation. It is legally defensible. It is based on the actions of the goblin.

Shooting center mass is part of the Shoot to Stop philosophy. In such a situation, you are going to be under unbelievable stress and your fine motor skills are going to suffer. You will fall back on training and muscle memory, and you will need to aim at the largest possible target. Shooting center mass doesn't mean aim at his heart or lungs, just shoot whatever is most visible. Mostly, his heart and lungs fall into the center mass of his body, but all you are trying to do is get him to stop.

If you put two rounds into his center mass and the rounds aren't taking effect, then you have to try something else to get the goblin to stop. The next largest visible target that is commonly avaiable is the head, where the central nervous system is controlled. Another large target is the hip, which controls mobility. A hip shot goblin may still be in the fight, but he isn't going to run off. His mobility will be severely limited.

Of course, all this is academic, because the vast majority of us will never be in a Shoot to Stop situation, and we can thank God for that.

More on Judge Roberts

I found this article, dated yesterday, and it has some memorable quotes.

Some of the quotes just beg for a fisking. Let's begin with Chuck Schumer.
"It's a tabula rasa. It's a whole new ballgame. The Supreme Court is far different than the court of appeals. The Supreme Court makes law." —Sen. Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York
I remember the civics class I took in high school, and I remember Coach Anastasio taught it. He was fairly succint on the division of power in this country and he taught me that the legislatures and Congress make the laws and the Courts interpret the laws. I guess that Coach Anastasio was wrong. According to Chucky Schumer, the Court makes the law, which makes me wonder what in the hell we are paying our Senators for? I thought all this time, that they made the law. So, if the Court makes the law, then maybe all the Senators should just go home. Or if Schumer is wrong, maybe he should just shut the hell up. I doubt that is going to happen, though.

Then we have this guy. Never heard of him before, but US News thought he was important enough to quote:
"We're deeply disappointed that the president didn't seize the opportunity to heal the division in the nation." —Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Well, Wade, what can I say? Most of us don't know who the hell you are and don't really care what you think on the issue. Personally, I thought that the President was nominating a Justice, not healing divisions. This nomination process should be a simple administrative chore, but guys like you take everything out of context anyway. Tell the truth, Wade, if President Bush came out of the closet, perfomed an abortion on live TV, and shot Karl Rove during a major address, the Dems still wouldn't like him. Right? There is nothing the man can do to please you, so why even pretend that he should try to heal a division.

But wait, dear reader. Finally, a rational Democrat (yeah, I know, that is almost an oxymoron) says that he is willing to do his homework:
"I expect to be spending much of August up at my farm in Vermont where I can sit in my jeans and a T-shirt, but I'll be reading all his opinions and everything that he's written." —Sen. Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee
I've gotta admit that I don't know much about Senator Leahy, and he may be the biggest barking moonbat in the whole damned Senate, but what he said there was rational and intelligent. Senator Leahy intends to do his homework. I think that's great.

Go read the whole thing.

The Devil's Foyer

Good writing. Good stuff.

This guy is living a life of adventure, and frankly, I am envious. I have done stuff that most people think is unique, dangerous, knight-in-shining-armor type of stuff. Now I'm too old and fat to play and our nation is embroiled in the best action war of the last 30 years. Hell, the colonels now look like kids I trained twenty years ago, and some of them might be.

Anyway, Michael Yon is doing great writing from Iraq, in the grand tradition of Ernie Pyle

Go read it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Burning Brush

I just finished burning a brush pile. While I live in the suburbs, we are still allowed to burn, and the nature of nature in Louisiana, things grow. Sometimes, things grow that you don't want on your place, so you cut them down, pile them up and when they dry sufficiently, you set fire to them.

In that pile I had an unwanted sycamore tree, a dead elm tree, some scraps from the fence project and assorted other limbs, boards and twigs that I have gathered over the past couple of months.

Burning a brush pile is art, because if you stack it properly and wait for it to dry sufficiently, you can burn the pile with one match and all you have to do is watch it. When you are done, take a rake and scatter the ashes and the lawn benefits from the fire. Except of course where you actually lit the fire. Fire is tough on grass and you don't want to set a burn pile where Milady might get offended. Mine is in the empty lot near the lake, in a spot where there isn't much grass anyway. Milady approved the placement of the burn pile.

I went to see my Dad today. Milady wants a deck and we've set aside some money for that, and I have drawn the plans. I wasn't sure if I was planning enough foundation support for the deck, so I took the plans over to my Dad for review. He approved the plans as drawn and gave me a list of options and considerations for when I begin building. Construction starts Monday on that project, and hopefully that will be the last project for the summer. I hope that I can finish the deck before school starts. I've got three weeks.

If I can at least get it decked in and the railing on it before school starts, I'll feel okay. I can build furniture at my leisure in the garage and haul it out to the deck as it gets completed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Judge Roberts get the nod

I'm not sure if the nod is what he is actually going to get. He doesn't have a vagina, that's for damned sure, and a lot of people expected our President to recommend someone that had one, or was a minority, or had some other distinguishing feature.

This guy is a white male, Harvard grad, and sits on the D.C. circuit. What a hoot this is gonna be.

We learn this about him from CNN:
During the dispute over the 2000 presidential election, Roberts was part of a team of Republican lawyers and former Supreme Court law clerks who assisted the Bush-Cheney campaign.
I'm sure that will come back to bite him in the butt.

CNN also says:
A spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Democratic leader, said Roberts has "suitable legal credentials."

But the spokesman, Jim Manley, added, "Now he needs to demonstrate to the Senate that he has a commitment to core American values of freedom, equality and fairness."
However, Fox News reports that:
But Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who last week laid out a list of questions that a Supreme Court nominee should answer, said that Roberts has an obligation to answer those questions.

"The burden is on a nominee to the Supreme Court to prove that he is worthy, not on the Senate to prove that he is unworthy. I voted against Judge Roberts for the D.C. Court of Appeals because he didn't answer questions fully and openly when he appeared before the committee," Schumer said.

I didn't realize it was incumbent on the Judge to demonstrate anything. I thought that the burden was on the Senate to "advise and consent". Personally, I think Senator Schumer is full of shit.

I smell a fight coming, and the Gang of 14 did us no service last month.

Hog Lard

We notice that Chris, over at Anarchangel, has had a fatwa placed against him, and he is dealing with it in a curiously American way; by laughing about it. In one post, he revealed that he has dipped all his bullets in pig fat, and that if he has to use one, the pig byproduct will make sure the target doesn't go to heaven.

Back in the day, the best lubricant for bullets was sperm oil and beeswax, mixed in approximately equal proportions. I have a Sharps rifle, and I cast my own bullets for it, and wanted to use a traditional lube, but I noticed a distinct lack of sperm oil hereabouts. Sperm oil seems to have gone the way of the bone corset.

So, my podna started looking around for a suitable replacement, and found hog lard. There are plenty of hogs in Louisiana, and finding hog lard isn't much of a stretch for an active imagination. There are bees, too, and beeswax is fairly easy to obtain. So, he mixed hog lard and beeswax and came up with a suitable base for cast bullet shooting. Add a little Alox and we call it Junior Lube.

So, pre-9/11/2001, Junior and I were using the pre-eminent anti-jihadi bullet lube, one made of pig fat. We are ahead of the bell curve on this process and have offered our lube to the shooting public without expectation of remuneration.

For your edification, below is a picture of my bullets, dipped in Junior Lube, resized, and ready to seat in the cartridge. You will note that the bullet is a 500 grain, pure lead slug that is propelled by Hodgdon 777, a black powder substitute.

For those who believe I can't shoot it, a sample target is below. I have since regulated the sights to fire exactly two inches high at 100 yards, which gives me the ability to hit a man-sized target out to about 225 yards. That is a long, long shot in forested Louisiana.

I use this lube on all my cast bullets, and it has served me well with the addition of Alox for the faster bullets. Both of my arms-reach pistols are currently holding cast bullets with this lube on them. All jihadi folks are pre-warned. I use hog-based lube.

San Bernardino All-Stars again

Here in the suburbs, being on the All-Star team is a big deal, regardless of what level of play you might find yourself.

As such, a number of us have started using the term in a less than complimentary way.

For example, if you are talking about an incident where someone screwed up royally, the expression might be "Yeah, he All-Starred on that one."

Matter of fact, the three conditions of being totally screwed up might have just gotten a lesser derivation. Those four conditions could now be


Anyway, we go to this article, where we learn that the San Bernardino County School District is going to incorporate Ebonics into the curriculum.

(Waits for sounds of laughter to die down.)

No, really. The lead paragraph says:
Incorporating Ebonics into a new school policy that targets black students, the lowest-achieving group in the San Bernardino City Unified School District, may provide students a more well-rounded curriculum, said a local sociologist.
They claim that
"Ebonics is a different language, it's not slang as many believe,' Texeira said. "For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language.'
Oh, Jeez! Laughing like that hurts.

But then again, maybe dem ho's should stop spendin so much time on dey weaves, and put up dem damn cellphones, and concentrate on dey maff and englitch homework. Maybe dem playas should quit hangin out on de corner and not worry so much about de's rappin, and then maybe they wouldn't:
go to college the least and have the most dropouts and suspensions.
Why not just do well in English, Math, History, Science, and Social Studies? Never mind. I just remembered that I am talking about California.

I stand corrected. This isn't an All-Star move, this is TARFU.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I remember

I remember sitting on my front porch, drinking beer with my father-in-law and brother-in-law. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and we were sharing a twelve-pack and watching the traffic go by while we discussed hunting and dogs and other country topics.

My dog, a big Catahoula Cur, walked up on the porch, plopped down, and started licking himself on his genitalia. The conversation came to a screeching halt while we watched the dog.

My brother-in-law, a dedicated bachelor, broke the silence. "Ya know, I've always wished I could do that."

My father-in-law cleared his throat. "Well, son, you can if you like, but I believe that dog might bite."

It's a MAD world

Remember MAD (not the magazine, you dummy)? Mutually Assured Destruction. Wherein we let the Soviets know that if they launched a nuclear attack, we would heave so many nukes at them, the very soil of Mother Russia would still be glowing in a thousand years? Yeah, that MAD.

It worked, didn't it? No madman was daft enough to launch an attack when he knew that by doing so, his homeland would be destroyed... unliveable... toast.

Well, a Colorado Congressman, The Honorable Tom Tancredo has his butt in hot water over saying those very same things. That if the Muslim Madmen launch a nuclear attack against the US, we could respond by melting Mecca.

Hell, I like it. Those who would do us harm would be wise to remember that we still lead the way in stockpiling nukes. They should also remember that the United States is the only country ever to use nuclear weapons as a war-shot.

It is one thing to come out and fight. It is something else entirely to slink around with a bomb. We should seriously consider using nukes as retaliation for using nukes. Makes sense to me.

House Wine

Dolly Parton said in Steel Magnolias that: "Iced tea is the house wine of the South." She is so right.

Rob wants to post the definitive iced tea recipe, and I think that whatever he posts is gonna be wrong. It'll probably be a good recipe, but iced tea, like gumbo, or cornbread is a regional folk food and has as many legitimate variations as people who are making it.

Most folk foods are simple recipes that are designed to feed a lot of people cheaply and quickly. Your Momma (or Grandma) saw a wagon coming around the bend in the road and told you to kill a chicken. She knew she was going to have to feed people quickly and could make chicken and dumplings with a little flour, salt, and the broth that comes from boiling that chicken.

Or, your PawPaw saw people coming down the bayou and decided the thing to feed a bunch of people quickly was a gumbo. Kill a chicken (we wuz tough on the chicken population), cut up some sausage, pull some onions and okra out of the garden and in about an hour we have a gumbo.

Iced tea was a staple, and still is around my house. Tea, water, sunshine. You got tea. With or without sugar, add ice and you have a drink that satisfies and has certain health values that are only recently coming to light.

Some folks make great tea. Others don't. Iced tea has to be cold, strong, flavorful. If you can taste water, you didn't let it steep long enough, or you have bad water. Sugar it or not, I don't care.

It's like cornbread. Everyone makes it differently. It's a folk food, and we should savor the regional variations. As regards cornbread, though, I have to say that if you believe you should put sugar in your recipe, click here.

And to Rob, I say: Put up that recipe, old hand. It'll probably be wrong.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

MSM screws up again

There is just so much wrong with this article that you've just gotta wonder if any journalists ever served in the military.

Rather than link it, I've included the whole thing, below.
During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was filmed by the insurgents.

Tschiderer, with E Troop, 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy’s position.

After tracking down the now-wounded sniper with a team from B Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, Tschiderer secured the terrorist with a pair of handcuffs and gave medical aid to the terrorist who’d tried to kill him just minutes before.
There is video of it, and thankfully, the kid is okay. The body armor works. The jihadi swine is captured, and all is okay that ends okay.

The offending paragraph is the one that boils my blood.
Tschiderer, with E Troop, 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy’s position.
These guys can't get it right. They just refuse to try.

Anyone who has ever served around the Army knows that the 101st is a proud unit who has served in a variety of configuations. Above all, and foremost to their mission, they are an Airborne division, and the only division in the Army labeled as Air Assault.

Secondly, the unit that the kid is assigned to, 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry, 256th Brigade, is a proud unit from the Louisiana National Guard.

I retired from 1/156, 256th Infantry Brigade, the only armor unit in the brigade. The 256th is heavy infantry, with two mech infantry battalions, one armor battalion and a support battalion. They directly descend from the Lee's Tigers, a unit that served honorably with the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee.

As a matter of heritage and point of tradition, the Brigade Commander's call sign today is Tiger 6.

This young soldier is a Louisiana soldier, in a Louisiana unit, serving again overseas in defense of his nation. To PFC Tschiderer, I say Well Done. Tigers!


This guy says that a Fatwah has been issued against him and that he has been in contact with the FBI. This post is especially bad, although I have had Arabic speakers tell me that Arabic doesn't translate easily into English, or vice-versa. I would think that we should be getting better at translating Arabic into English, what with all the contact lately. But then again, maybe there is some cultural difference that makes translation impossible.

Maybe so. I don't have enough information to really know, one way or the other.

I just know that they don't want to go starting that shit around here. There are some things that are easily translated from one language to another, like the sound of heavy weapons fire.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Carnival of Cordite

Carnival of Cordite #22 is up over at Baboon Pirates, and yours truly has a link there. Go read the whole thing. Regular readers have already seen my totally inadequate post.

Kids are raising hell and someone is at the door. Gotta run.

Weekend Posting

Life intrudes on my internet activities starting in just a few minutes. We have to travel to Baton Rouge to celebrate an octogenarian birthday, and we are bringing grandkids, so posting will be non-existent.

Know that Pawpaw will be being a PawPaw all weekend, and I'll check back in when the festivities are over and the grandchildren are gone.

Y'all have a good one.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ten Grand? Not hardly.

What a dumbass! Someone please tell me this is a joke.

Squirrel Dogs

I was surfing over at My Front Porch and came upon this post. In the comments, GUYK talks about squirrel dogs.

Roy Burns always kept a few squirrel dogs and he taught me how to hunt over them. Basically, you turn a good squirrel dog out and follow him through the woods till he trees one. Then you search the limbs above the dog for the squirrel. It's a lot of fun.

When I was a young deputy, there was an older hand who had a good squirrel dog. We'll call him Harrison. Harrison was bragging about his dog one day and I told him that if he would show up at my house about daylight on Saturday, my wife would have coffee and biscuits ready and we would eat, then go out to give that squirrel dog a chase.

Harrison showed up just before daylight on a cold, clear December morning. His dog was tied in the back of his truck. We went inside to eat, and when we were finished, I gathered my shotgun and hunting vest and we prepared to leave. As we walked to the truck, I had to go around to the passenger side, and Harrison jumped in behind the wheel. I noticed something on the side of the truck and when I got in, I mentioned to Harrison that his dog might not want to hunt today.

He looked at me. "What are you talking about? That dog is going to do just fine."

"I don't think so," I replied. "Looks to me like he hung himself about an hour ago trying to jump out of the truck. He's already stiff."

Harrison jumped out of the truck and ran around the bed, then stopped dead in his tracks.

I hate it when that happens. We didn't kill any squirrels that day.

Theiving and Trespassing

I was over at Robs place and saw this post. It got me to thinking about times gone by and how times have changed.

The pertinent part is here:
I also picked a raw ear of corn out of a farmer's field and ate it right there, amid the acres of stalks sometimes. I raided a neighbor's pear tree when I knew she wasn't home. I trespassed on private property to pick berries. I knew every Japanese plum tree within five miles of where I lived and I used to go pick them, too.

I never considered that to be "stealing." I looked at it more as "foraging," or "living off the fat of the land." I NEVER walked into a store and stole a peach or a good-looking apple. THAT would be wrong. But hopping a fence and grabbing something growing in a field always seemed different to me.
I worked the same way as a young'un. Things growing out of the ground were free for the taking, and if the lady next door got upset, well, then she just wasn't free-thinking enough.

Things in a store were decidedly off-limits, unless you had the money in your pocket.

As recently as five years ago, when I had my place in the country, it was the same way. I had pear trees and peach trees and apple trees, along with pecans and berries. I don't know how many times I came outside to see some kid munching a pear or and apple. No problem. Hell, if he (or she) was really hungry, we'd make something else to eat.

I had a pond on my place and stocked it with bass and bream so I could have a place to fish. If a kid wanted to try his luck, I'd even show him the best place on the property to dig worms. One day while I was at work, one young scoundrel caught a six pound bass out of that pond. I wish I would have been there to see it, because I bet that bass put up a hell of a fight. I did take his picture with it, because he was dragging it through the fence when I came home from work. I made him stop, and I took a picture with my police-issued Polaroid camera. I knew his family was going to eat that fish, and he needed something to remember the day. The little thief was about ten years old, and he held that big ole bass up proud when I took out the camera.

The rules changed when the kid got old enough to drive. That pond was for me and all the young'uns in the neighborhood. When you got your Drivers License, you could damn sure go fishing somewhere else. Some young men moaned and groaned about it, but saw the logic of saving the best fishing pond within ten miles for the kids that had to walk to fish.

It was a different world back then.

Pavers - Done

I finished installing the pavers late yesterday afternoon, and backfilled just as the sun was going down.

When I took this picture I was standing on the patio that was here when we bought the house. At the top of the picture you can see the fence I installed and the gate hardware on the back of the gate. The pavers are those red things, and I backfilled with extra sand. Grass will soon grow through the sand and the project will look complete. It's a small patio, but I don't have to mow there anymore. Those 24 pavers were something over 20 pounds each, for an estimated total of 480 lbs and the weight of the sand was written on the sack. I used 1400 lbs of sand, carried one sack at a time to the hole.

My entire body is pleasantly sore this morning, from carrying almost a ton of building materials to that little hole and handling each item twice. Pawpaw was "give out" when the sun went down yesterday. I had the littlest grandson present to help me with the final touches on the project, and you know a 3 year old was a big help. You Betcha!

Milady saw it when she came home from work, and she is pleased. That was the mission after all, as pleasing her is a big part of the bargain. When Milady is happy, everyone is happy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Home Depot

This morning, Milady and I were drinking coffee and I allowed as how I was enroute to Lowe's to pick up the pavers for the ongoing project. She asked if I had price-checked at Home Depot, and I admitted I had not. She accompanied me on this Voyage of Discovery and we arrived safely in the parking lot of the store. We looked at pavers and saw that we could save some money. Home Depot undercut Lowes by about 70 cents per paver, and because I am frugal if nothing else, we decided to complete the purchase at Home Depot.

I took out my list while she shopped and I quickly found sand (700 lbs of it), plastic paver edging, landscape cloth, and spikes to install the edging. I knew that I needed 26 pavers and they wouldn't fit on the cart, so I headed for the checkout in Lawn and Garden and checked out. When I approached the register, I told the associate that I would need assistance with 26 pavers and gave her a description of the style I wanted. She called for assistance, and we proceeded to check out and I wrote a fairly healthy check to cover my purchase. She gave me a receipt with a time stamp on it, saying 11:09 a.m. She told me that it would be just a minute and someone would be out with my pavers. Five minutes later I was approached by a young man who said that the pavers I wanted were on a top shelf and he needed to find a forklift operator.

Ten minutes later he told me it would be a few more minutes and that the only licensed forklift operator in the store was busy. Ten minutes after that he told me that they were having trouble finding a forklift. Ten minutes later I talked with the associate working the cash register and asked if she needed to call a manager, or did I need to call a manager.

WHOOEE, things started happening then. Some guy showed up with a forklift and got the pavers down and five minutes later my building materials were loaded and I was on my way. I fired the truck off at approximately 11:49 a.m. Forty minutes after the register gave me my receipt.

I never did talk to a manager, and that is a good thing, as he would have experienced a good old Deep South curmudgeon ass-chewing. I wouldn't have used profanity, but I would have talked his ear off about piss-poor customer service while he personally loaded my truck. I can't believe it took them 30 minutes to find a forklift on a Wednesday morning.

While I am on this rant, I remember lumberyards when I was a kid. Just for the asking you could get a yardstick from the service desk. That ain't happening these days. Just for asking, you would be directed to a coffee pot over by the contractor desk while someone loaded your truck. If you mentioned you needed a nail apron, the counterman would throw a couple in a sack. The name of the lumberyard was, of course, prominently stenciled on the yardstick and the nail apron.

Today, you have to buy nail aprons and yardsticks at Home Depot and Lowe's


I was reading the article I alluded to earlier, over at Total Information Awareness and saw a figure that caused me to do a little digging. The offending figure is here: Boldface type by me:
President Bush made frequent, and in my opinion (publius too) non-sequitur, references to 9/11 last night in the context of our operations in Iraq, but consider this: America, tragically, lost almost 3,000 people on 9/11. Iraq has lost well over 100,000. Is it fair to impose this kind of disproportional carnage on another nation - especially one unconnected to the events of 9/11 in the first place? Are Iraqi lives worth less, and this from the crowd that "respects" the Iraqi people?
I thought that figure looked a little high, and went over to the respected Iraq Body Count, who puts the figure somewhere between 22,000 and 26,000. I then went over to the BBC, who puts the figure somewhere between 14,000 and 37,000.

Then we go to Al-Jazeera, who puts the count at something over 37,000. A quick view of the Washington Post shows us that no really accurate count of Iraqi civilian deaths exists and estimates vary wildly, but most realistic estimates put the civilian toll at something under 37,000.

The 100,000 figure seems to have come from a study published in Lancet, a medical journal from the UK.

No one knows, okay? But most respected authorities put the figure about a third less than the Lancet article. While each death is a tragedy, there is no real reason to inflate the death toll.

Iraq, London, Madrid, 9/11

We are engaged in a war against terror, and insofar as terror is a state of mind, not a nation, we are bound to experience difficulty in the nuts and bolts of coming to grips with an enemy that exists across national borders and across nations that are friendly, antagonistic, and indifferent to the interests of the United States. These difficulties don't mean that we shouldn't prosecute the war.

My friend on the Left, and I are closer to each other than we understand. They think that many of us on the right are not concerned with civilian casualties in Iraq, or in Britian, or Madrid, that might come from our prosecution of that war. They are mistaken. Many of us on the Right are concerned about the death and injury of the innocent. Moreso, we are also concerned about the death and injury of those who are not necessarily innocent, but who may have been straddling the fence, waiting to see which side will prevail. Each and every battlefield death is a tragedy of a personal proportion.

Over at TIA, they ask:
Is it within our right as a nation to designate Country X as an acceptable staging ground for such a conflict - regardless of the enormous toll in human lives such a prolonged engagement will take on the indigenous population? Does this willingness somehow display a profound respect for the denizens of Country X?
That is a very good question. The devil is in the details, and in the logical extension to that question.

The logical extension to that question would be where? Which country would be an acceptable staging ground for a war on terror? Which indigenous population would be more acceptable? Let's set a few definitions:

War is armed conflict. The use of bombs, small arms, artillery and tracked weapons are included, along with Air Forces and Naval elements. As an old soldier, I know what War is. It is a dirty, nasty, despicable activity that causes casualties of the most horrific type. I abhor war, as all soldiers do, but realize that sometimes we must settle confict by force of arms.

A Country is a geographical element. It is generally defined by borders and has a population of varying density characterised by a central government.

We must admit that in any war, the civilian population that lives on the geography will suffer. From loss of civil liberties to loss of life, the people in a war zone suffer. It is lamentable, but inevitable. What happens after the war; the consolidation and rebuilding phase, is for the civil governments.

SO, given that we are embroiled in a war on terror, which country should be designated to recieve civilian casualties? It's inevitable when you put divisions in the field. We try to limit the civilian casualties, but we can't eliminate them.

Where would you prosecute the war?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Losing it

Hillary is losing it. I just found this little chuckle article, and I had to look to see if it was satire. Evidently it's not.

Some say she wants to run for President in 2008. I can't wait. If you thought John Kerry was a target-rich candidate, Hillary is going to be a veritable shooting gallery.

Note to Senator Clinton: Don't worry about ideas, keep up the personal attacks. They've proven to work in the past.


I welcome comments, by the way, which is why comments are open.

A lot of the ideas I put here are half-baked, and I welcome you helping me get my thoughts straight. Trolls, of course, can go surf elsewhere.


Slow news day and not much to blog about. Last night, my daughter's car failed to start when she got off work. She called Daddy, and I got her going and followed her home. This morning I fixed the car, a simple job of changing a starter, which took all morning, because it wasn't acting like a bad starter. At one point I had the starter on a test rack at the parts house and it tested good. I took the offending starter back home and went through the troubleshooting protocol again, and my reasoning came up that the starter was bad. I took it back to the parts house and put it on the rack again. It tested bad the second time. To keep the parts tech honest, we put the new starter on the test rack and he had to convince me the new one was good.

While we were in repair mode, the car got a new battery, new battery cables, and we checked the glove box to make sure she had spare fuses. The car should be good for another year or so now, as long as I pester her about getting the oil changed and take a look at her tires occasionally.

After that job was finished, the littlest grandson came over while his Momma went to work. He left about dark.

Tomorrow, I start the great paver learning experience. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 11, 2005


My honey-do list got longer over the weekend. Milady has been lobbying for a deck to go with the new fence and yesterday afternoon we stopped by the lumber yard to look at pavers. There is one spot in the yard, with the new fence, that is inconvenient to attack with a lawnmower. It is a little spot 6' X 8' between the patio and the main entrance gate to the yard. I decided the thing to do was to put pavers in, so we went to pick out pavers and she picked one that matches the bricks on the house. Anyway, while we were there, we stopped at the book rack and picked out a book on decks. She drew a deck this morning while I was doing prep work for the pavers.

It'll still be three or four days before I am finished with the little paving job, but the excavation is complete and tomorrow morning I'll complete the foundation, then start laying the pavers.

The lady has her deck drawn in concept and it looks fairly simple, 12' X 16', to cover a low spot in the yard. Her drawing has some detail, but I told her I needed to know exactly what she wants, because when I start digging holes and pouring concrete for the foundations it will be too late to change the plans.

After she went to work this afternoon, I noticed that the temps were in the high 90's, so I decided to take a nap. After the nap I went out to the lake and threw the boat in the water. The lake that adjoins our property has baffled me, because I know there are fish in there, but I couldn't find them. This afternoon I worked the edges of the grassy areas with an H&H spinner bait and a Beetle Spin spinnerbait, with no luck. I have always had good luck fishing with a spinnerbait and it is my standby when fishing is slow. This little lake is re-educating me about fishing.

I noticed that there were two small islands joined by a shallow area that had a weedy bottom, and since I was dredging with the spinnerbaits, I decided to try a topwater. I looked in my box and found a Rapala jointed, and I tied it on the line.

Oh, yeah. I no sooner threw it out, than a smallish bass hit it. I was using light tackle and he gave me a good fight. When I landed him, I admired him a minute, then slipped him back in the water. I moved down fifty feet and cast again. Wham! Another strike. This bass a little larger, about a pound and a half. Again, I landed and released. I caught three more before the sun went down, all on that Rapala.

Tomorrow, when I go to Wally-World, I am going to get a few more topwater baits for the tackle box. Then, when the Lady wants to go fishing, I'll take her out to the grass beds and let her whoop it up catching small bass. Her rod and reel is lighter than mine and those little bass ought to give it a workout.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Trigger Time

I went out to the range this morning, to play with my chronograph, and to try out a new reload, and to get the .22 ready for squirrel season.

I started with the .22 and got the scope regulated for point of aim at 25 yards. Here is the target with Remington Subsonic HP ammo.

I think it is ready for the season. The rifle has a tendency to vertical stringing during rapid fire, as the barrel heats up. When I take a minute or so between shots, it stays in a half-inch group in the middle of the bullseye. The vertical stringing you see her is an example of barrel heating. I was getting okay velocity out of the ammo, averaging 952 fps out of my rifle. And, it is found inexpensively at Wal-Mart.

The next target was with the Winchester 94 in .30-30. That rifle has iron sights and I was trying out a reload of 30 grains of IMR 3031 under the Speer 130 grain FP bullet. I am disappointed with this bullet as it doesn't group as well as I want a rifle to group. Groups at 25 yards were disappointing, and groups at 50 yards were despicable.

The target, for your viewing pleasure:

That load, for those interested in the stats, gave me an average velocity of 2135 fps, with an Es of 169.2 and a Standard Deviation of 51.34.

I'm about out of those bullets and it is a good thing. I'm making an order from MidSouth next week, and I'll probably order some Remington 170 grain SP bullets. That rifle has shot those well in the past and the 170 grain bullet is pretty standard for the .30-30. When you are shooting a rifle like the .30-30, tradition is a good thing. I guess there is a reason why so many experienced shooters like the 170 grain bullet. My rifle shoots them well in the factory ammo, and I need to find a reload recipe that works.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Brisket Blogging

Oyster wants to try my brisket, and as happy as I am to entertain, I doubt anyone would want to wait till I get down South again, so I'll just post the recipe here.

Brisket is easy, if you start with just a little knowledge about it. Brisket is a tough cut of meat; not one of the prime cuts, so you have to handle it a little differently. A brisket is actually two muscles and these have to be sliced separately.

Go to the grocery store and find a brisket. 12 to 14 pounds is about right. You want one with the fat on it. Not a trimmed brisket. Then go over to the aisles and find an inexpensive foil roasting pan. You will also need a cheap bottle of italian dressing. The store brand is fine actually, the cheaper the better. Get the small bottle. You aren't going to use it all.

You are also going to need:
Red pepper, crushed or ground
Beer, 6 ounces
Garlic powder
Black pepper, crushed
Worchestershire sauce
Heavy duty aluminum foil.

When you are ready to cook, plan for 12 hours. Lets say you want to eat at lunchtime tomorrow. Start tonite about 10:00.

Turn the oven on to 250 degrees F. Get out your brisket. Look at it carefully. There will be a cap of fat along one side. That is the top. The fat cap goes on top. Put the brisket in the aluminum roaster, fat side up. If the meat doesn't fit in the pan, fold the skinny end under.

Now, the brisket is in the roasting pan. Over the top of the brisket, pour half the bottle of italian dressing. Sprinkle on one tablespoon each of garlic powder, red pepper, black pepper and worchestershire sauce. Pour across this, the six ounces of beer. If you are like me, you'll just have to drink the rest of the can.

Cover it all in aluminum foil, and go to bed. You are done for tonite. The brisket will cook all night in a low oven, and that cap of fat will melt down through the meat, tenderizing it.

When you wake up tomorrow morning, make coffee, then go outside at about 8:00 and fire up your pit. Put the fire on one end so that you have a cool end to the pit.

Go back inside and take the brisket out of the oven. That roaster is full of liquid fat, and you are getting ready to make a damned mess in the kitchen. Sorry about that. Dispose of the fat. I pour mine down the sink, and get out a cutting board. Slice the brisket into serving size pieces, trimming fat as you go. You are going to lose a big part of the weight of the meat, but we needed that fat to tenderize the meat. As you slice the brisket, pay attention to that line of fat in the middle that separates the two muscles. Cut that out and slice those muscles separately. Slice across the grain of the meat. Put the slices in a smaller roasting pan. When the meat is sliced take it outside and put it on the cooler end of the pit, roasting pan and all. Close the lid of the pit and adjust the airflow to give you good smoke.

What we are doing now is letting the smoke interact with the meat. Leave the brisket in there for about two hours, then take it out when the guests arrive. Serve with beans, salad, and bread. Choice of cold beverages. Accept all accolades.

Now, a lot of you might ask why I use the stove inside when I blogged yesterday about using charcoal. Well, I am consistent. I used the stove inside, and the meat finishes on the pit. You can cook a brisket entirely on a charcoal or wood pit, but you have to stand over the pit for all ten hours, tending a fire. With the stove inside, you don't have to tend anything. You can sleep thru most of the drudgery. The secret of brisket is 250 degrees, ten hours.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I'm with these fellows. For me, grilling outside means charcoal or stove-wood, split fine and allowed to burn into hardwood coals. There is a place for propane, if you are frying fish or making moonshine, but you don't need propane for that, either. A gas burner is just damned convenient. Now, Char-broil is coming out with an infrared grill, and I think that smacks of heresy. Have they no shame?

For the pure flavor of barbeque, you need real fire and real smoke, and you can't get that with propane, or with infrared. There is art and science to outdoor cooking.

If you want real down-home ribs, or chicken, or pork, or beef cooked as barbeque, you gotta get out the wood, or just be a poser. If you don't have the time to do it yourself, hells bells, guys, there is a rib joint just down the street.

My sisters will put my slow grilled chicken against any in the world, and my brisket is locally famous. I haven't had a failed brisket in the last ten years.

Hell, if you want to use propane, or gas or anything else, why not just go inside and crank up the stove?

Done properly, you can cook just about anything on a fire, including bread. I'm talking about starting with flour and using a dutch oven, and in a couple of hours having fresh bread. I've cooked entire meals on flame, and my charcoal grill outside is just a convenient extension of a campfire. It keeps me from bending over to cook. There is nothing better than a big Dutch oven filled with biscuits, with bacon and eggs cooked over a wood fire, washed down with boiled coffee, but I digress.

Barbeque on anything but charcoal or hardwood is just heresy. It smacks of domestic beer. It's like kissing thru a screen door. It's like taking your cousin to the prom. There are some things you just shouldn't do.

Fire Ants

Over at YRHT, the Oyster is blogging about Hurricane Dennis, and the inundation that might strike New Orleans. He has some cool equipment, and he's worried about fire ants.

One of the critters we have in the South is the Fire Ant. A dastardly little biting insect that leaves a pus-filled blister at the site of the bite. Additionally, fire ants are never alone. There is always a zillion of them, so you never get bit once, but dozens or hundreds of times. Charming.

To increase the charm of this ungodly vermin, in a flood, the survival mode kicks in for the colony and they band together in a ball, floating atop the water. I have personally seen this in the floods in Natchitoches Parish in 1984, 1987, and 1991. Those balls of fire ants float merrily along until they come to dry land, wherein they decamp from the water and find a place to conduct land operations. You can often mark the high water mark of a flood by the fire ant colonies that take up residence at the waters edge.

If you happen to touch one of the floating colonies, they decamp merrily upon you! It ain't pleasant.

Arguing about a hurricane landfall is an ancient and honored custom in the Bayou State, and wherever Dennis lands, I wish the residents there all the best. Hurricanes suck, even the small ones. Personally, I think Dennis is gonna leave New Orleans alone. I might be wrong. I have been before, but I think that Dennis wants to spend some time on the Florida coast. New Orleans is simply too humid this time of year.

Note to Oyster: If he comes in around Houma, head to high ground.

Dateline London

LONDON - It looks like someone coordinated some bomb attacks in London this morning. The BMEWS and the Associated Press are on it. It seems that six bombs went off in London early this morning, some on subways and at least one bus was destroyed above-ground.

My thoughts and worries and prayers to the victims. It'll be interesting to see who takes credit for the bombing.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Slow news day

It's a slow news day, and the President is overseas and there ain't much going on over here. I have the smallest grandson with me right now, awaiting his mother getting off from work.

Then I get an email from Junior. He is taking a blues trip to Clarksville, MS, and found the perfect motel for an overnight stay. The Shack Up Inn.

I look forward to the trip report.

But right now, I gotta tend to Li'l-Bit.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


There is something about a sandwich that directly appeals to the male psyche. It is easy food. You hold it, you eat it, you might use a napkin, but you definitely don't need a plate. Whether a burger hot off the grill or a cold concoction right out of the refrigerator, a sandwich satifies like few other foods.

Today after the lady left for work, I was feeling a little peckish, so I walked over to the fridge to see what was available. I spotted a hamburger bun left over from yesterday. Yeah, buddy! In just a minute, I had mustard, mayo, cheese, onion, balogna, and a big slice of a fresh tomato. Five minutes later, I burped contentedly, tossed away the napkin, and wandered to the living room with a glass of iced tea to surf on the computer.

No mess, no fuss, no bother. I'm gonna need a nap before long.

War Story

I was reading the posting at YHRT about the folks who recently set eating records in the Crescent City, and I was reminded of a story told to me by a good friend. I'll tell it to you in his words. My friend is from Bayou duLarge, in deep south Louisiana, near Houma. About a quarter mile south of the house where he grew up there is a big pile of oyster shells in the road, blocking it from further traffic. South of that is marsh, or gulf. In Charlie's words:

"I was just eighteen, in the Air Force, and hadn't been much farther than Houma, and I was assigned to a Prime Beef squadron, and we went to Viet Nam. After I had been there a while, they loaded us on a plane, along with a bulldozer and we took off, flying west. We landed in the jungle, hard on the coast of the South China Sea, on a little dirt strip. They told us to start expanding the runway and the plane would be back in four hours with more equipment and men. The plane took off, left us there, and I didn't know where in the hell I was.

"Well, four hours came and went. No plane. It was starting to get dark, and I was hungry, and tired, and dirty, and I wandered out to the beach dragging my kit bag with me. I sat on the shore of that sea and started thinking about home, and I got real damn homesick.

"The water was crystal clear, and the tide was going out, and as I sat there looking at the water, I realized that the beach was gravel, and that I could see in the water a pretty good distance. And I saw oysters. Big ole oysters. Oysters by the thousand, by the hundred thousand.

"So, I dug around in my kit bag for my knife and a bottle of Tabasco that I took everywhere, and I walked into the water and started pulling oysters off the bottom. I'd shuck it, eat it, and throw the shell back, then pull another one out.

"My boss came down to the water. 'Charlie, what in the hell are you doing?' I didn't even answer him, just slurped another oyster. He hollered at the guys and they came down to the water, and I had to show the guys how to shuck oysters. We slept on the beach that night and the plane came the next day with the other equipment.

"I ate oysters off that beach for six months, before they loaded us up and sent us somewhere else."

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4th

I wasn't going to post today, but Kim is depressed over the state of the union, and he started me thinking. With all that is wrong with the US today, we are the last great hope of the world. More importantly, we are bringing hope today to millions of people.

This country is based on the idea that if enough people see something wrong, we can correct the way we live. This country is based on individual freedom and today I am going to give thanks that I live in a country that we can make and remake on a daily basis. That honored banner has waved over heros and cowards, towering virtue and cowering criminality. It continues to wave because we argue and shout and make mistakes and get it right.

I was told once by a Russian general that the reason Americans are so successful in battle is that war is chaos, and Americans practice chaos on a daily basis. Our government is based on chaos, from the Congress to the local School Board, we argue and squabble and rise and fall but in the end of the day we normally get it right.

Politically we are unpredictable, argumentative, and volatile. We're a noisy bunch. But yet, in the end, we belive in individual freedom. For that, I give thanks.

I think that we are weathering dangerous times in this country, for many of the reasons Kim cites in his post above. I also believe that the tide is turning, that we are recognizing the problems and are damned tired of them. I think that we need to focus some of our energy on the internal problems of the United States, while we continue the tempo of battle against our enemies.

These are indeed times that try mens souls.

This morning I am going to hang out with my lady till she goes in to work later today. She is a Registered Nurse, and people need her help regardless of the day of the week, or whatever holiday we are currently celebrating. I am a cop, and for years worked the same way. I give thanks for her, because she understands that bleeding and tragedy don't stop so that we can spend time together.

After she leaves for work, I am going to fire up the barbeque pit and cook for my grandsons. There was a time when they lived far away, and now they live in single digit miles from me. For being a presence in my grandson's lives, I give thanks.

After dark, I am going to light up the sky in a personal show. We live in a country where a man on his own land can expend ordinance. With each firework expended I will give thanks that I live where I do. Then, after the grandsons are gone home and the barbeque is eaten and the fireworks are gone, I will fill a highball glass with ice cubes and bourbon and go out among the stars, where I will remember absent friends and give thanks that they lived so that I might enjoy this country.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Fencing finis

The fence project is off the list. It is a done deal, complete, finished.

My elder son (age 28) and my stepson (age 31) came over Saturday and helped me finish it. With two clutch drivers working steadily, the boys were able to keep the old man hopping, just bringing them picket boards. We started at 9:00 a.m., took hourly hydration breaks and a lunch break, and finished the last corner at 1:30 p.m.

My honey-do list was just reduced by one task. Walking the perimeter, and looking at the blank slate, my lady discussed a number of options for the next portion of the backyard remodel. I can't friggin wait.

The rest of the weekend has been dedicated to rest and relaxation. Today is a general straighten up and tidy up day. Tomorrow afternoon, the boys are bringing the grandsons. Pawpaw is cooking burgers and sausage on the pit, then about dusk we will ignite chinese gunpowder in the empty lot next door.

Happy 4th, everyone.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Fencing - still

We made dramatic progress in the fencing project yesterday and today. All the 2X4 boards are up that will hold the cedar pickets.

This picture shows the bones of the fence along my east boundary and the where the south wall will be. The pile of pickets near the corner will be installed tomorrow. I have a son and a step-son coming tomorrow to get the pickets up. Milady has agreed to do her part by cooking lunch, a carnivores casserole that both boys like. They ain't getting paid, but Momma is cooking, so the only problem I'll have is getting them back to work after lunch.

Supreme Court Vacancy

From over at Kims site, I learn that Sandra Day O'Conner has resigned. Good riddance.

We need a strict constructionist, but the uber-liberals in Congress will whine and cry and pitch a running fit. We shoulda exercised the nuclear option when we had a chance and got them used to the idea of majority rule.

I would like to see a Supreme Court Justice that believes:
  • In limited government
  • In enumerated powers
  • In private property rights
  • In the Bill of Rights

That oughta do for the time being. Enough of activist judges. It's time to return to the common reading of the Constitution, where phrases like "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." means what the framers intended.

Oh! A judge who belived in the Tenth Amendment would be a good start.