Wednesday, November 30, 2005

93 Mustang

If blogging is light, one reason is because I have been busy as hell at work, and the oter is that my daughter's car needs a clutch. She drives a 93 Mustang, the little body style, with a four-banger engine. The car is a rag, but it is paid for. All my boys learned to drive (and more importantly, to work on cars) driving ragged-out vehicles.

This, however, is my daughters car, and I am busy as hell at work. So, the mechanic work has to wait till after work. The clutch died yesterday. My stepson and I pulled the transmission today, installed the new clutch, stabbed the transmission and got the bell housing bolts installed, and ran out of daylight.

Tomorrow afternoon we will reassemble the little car. We need to re-attach the exhaust system, install the starter, install the cross-brace, attach the electronics and the speedometer, install the gear shift lever, trim the inside, install the clutch cable, adjust it for proper engagement, and get the car down off the blocks. We should be finished tomorrow afternoon, as long as things go reasonably well.

Mechanic work is physically rewarding, in that the two of us worked together today for a common cause, and the work went reasonably well. We used muscles that don't get used every day. I'm sure I will feel it tomorrow.

The hard part is done, that being stabbing the transmission. Any shadetree mechanic knows that is the hard part. The rest is reassembly. Still, Pawpaw is tired. Dogged out. Ragged.

I am, in fact, blogging in my pajamas. I intend to go watch TV in the bedroom, through my feet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Abramoff is a bipartsian donator.

Oh, please! Captain Ed is all over this.
New evidence is emerging that the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Jack Abramoff got political money arranged by the lobbyist back in 2002 shortly after the lawmaker took action favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients.
A lawyer for the Louisiana Coushatta Indians told The Associated Press that Abramoff instructed the tribe to send $5,000 to Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record)'s political group just three weeks after the North Dakota Democrat urged fellow senators to fund a tribal school program Abramoff's clients wanted to use.

The check was one of about five dozen the Coushattas listed in a tribal ledger as being issued on March 6, 2002, to various lawmakers' campaigns and political causes at the instruction of Abramoff, tribal attorney Jimmy Fairchild said Monday.
Captain Ed draws the following conclusion:
However, let's quit pretending that Abramoff represents some sort of Republican "culture of corruption" and instead acknowledge that the sleaze has a much more ecumenical stench than the Democrats want to acknowledge
Indeed. This whole thing just pisses me off.

Report from Iraq

Senator Joe Leiberman (D-Connecticut) reports in todays Wall Street Journal Online (registration required) that his view of the democracy in Iraq is optimistic, as is the view of the Iraqis themselves:
Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.
When he speaks of progress, he is quite specific.
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
My conversations with persons recently back from Iraq don't square with the Gloom and Doom we have heard recently from the mainstream press. Sure, there are still bombs, and there is still fighting, but folks I talk to are optimistic about the progress made in Iraq. Senator Leiberman's article seems to support the reports I am hearing.

Acidman Returns

Ole Rob, our host over at Gut Rumbles has returned from rehab. What changes might be wrought to his blog are yet to be seen, but I suspect that his particular brand of blogging will survive and his views will be more focused than before.

What Rob did took a lot of courage. His mission now is to have enough strength to follow through. I have no doubt he will excel at that task.

Go give him some love.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday evening

The grandchildren just went home. We have a Sunday afternoon tradition that everyone comes to our house for the evening meal on Sunday. Tonite my oldest son wanted to cook steaks on the grill, and I wanted to try a dirty rice recipe. We had both, with garlic toast and bratwurst. Just because we wanted it.

After supper, I conned my daughter into cutting my hair. Cutting my hair is easy, as she puts a #4 guard on the clippers and runs wildly across my head, cutting anything in the way. There is not much art, nor craft, in my haircut. I am shorn now, for another month.

Tomorrow, back to the grind. The uniform has the accouterments on it, and the leather is freshly polished. I've been off all week, and my sleep pattern reflects my sloth. Five a.m. is going to come awfully early, so in another hour or so, it's off to bed for Pawpaw.

Earlier today I loaded some .45-70, with the incomparable Lee 459-500-3R bullet. All the bulets are lubed with Junior Lube. My hasic load is 3.4 cc's of H777, with a grease cookie. Slight crimp, as it will be fired in the Sharps rifle. This load gives me almost MOA accuracy and I have settled on it as the standard load for that rifle. That load gives me 1128 fps. The recoil is interesesting without being punishing. It closely approximates the load that was used in the 1870's to eradicate the buffalo herds on our Great Plains. I have no doubt it would be just as effective today.

I haven't picked up a newspaper in over a week. I'm sure something is happening beyond the range of my scopes, but I am ignorant of it. Tomorrow morning will be soon enough to find out if we have won the war yet. Good night, all.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


It is raining tonite, and I made the last of my Thanksgiving visits, to Momma's house down the road. My four sisters will leave tomorrow morning. It was good to see them. They are scattered across Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana. We get together three or four times a year.

I came home in the rain, to a quiet house, and opened a bottle of brandy I have been saving for just such an evening. Tonite is for contemplation. For the silence of the soul, and I think that the rain has something to do with that. The sound of rain is probably the oldest sound upon the porches of man's ears. It is a universal sound, the same where ever it is heard. Whether the jungles of Southeast Asia, or the mountains of Tennessee, a gentle rain sounds like history.

I'm sure that there are genetic memories in the ancient stimuli. A touch, a sound, a taste, all with knowledge that our forefathers knew instinctively. Even in the short span of my life, the sound of rain brings back many memories. Of terror in a darkened alley, of ecstasy in a candlelit bedroom.

The brandy helps against the chill of the evening. To toast an absent friend and to recall a night of unreserved passion. Listening to the rain on a darkened porch with a snifter of brandy is a time ponder what has been and what might be.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey Gumbo

If your menu lately has been like mine, you've eaten enough turkey. I personally think that if I have to look at that carcass in the fridge much longer I am going to go crazy. We've eaten two turkeys this week. One carcass has already been deboned. The second one sits in the refrigerator, awaiting my tender mercies. It shan't have long to wait. Today I get my fridge space back, by the simple tradition of making Turkey Gumbo.

Your basic recipe be found here. The roux is very important, and instead of using a quarter cup of flour and oil, I am going to use a half cup of each. This is going to be big gumbo. Unlike Junior, I am going to cook mine in the kitchen.

Once the roux is made, I am going to sautee some onions, bellpepper, and celery, then fry some smoked sausage. The left over turkey will be deboned and go in the pot along with a cup of okra. Add the aforementioned veggies, the sausage, the roux, and some water. Salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for an hour or so.

The kids and visitors are ready for something different. Turkey gumbo always gets the nod for the friday after Thanksgiving. Served over rice this evening, it will feed a bunch of people and use leftovers as something new and different. Give it a try on your stove. I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On Thanksgiving

Instapundit (yeah, he needs the hits) links to two pieces that talk about Thanksgiving. The first thanks the faceless folks that support the troops in the field. The second talks about the historical revision of Thanksgiving, and all holidays, based on the need for white men to hold power.
Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.
Gimme a break. I have g-g-g-grandparents who were Native American. Yeah, the whites acted rudely, but peoples everywhere act rudely. It is not a solely American trait.

I'm giving thanks this week, not for revisionist history, but for my own history.

My last name is German in origin, based on the fact that my paternal great-great-great grandfather migrated here with five brothers to escape a famine. It could just have easily been Scot, Irish, French, British, or Native American, depending on who decided to marry who in the late 19th century. I am 1/32nd Native American, based on a Mississippi Choctaw woman who decided to marry a Scot-Irish farmer in the country outside Jackson, MS. My namesake German grandfather hit the shores about the same time. I carry as much German blood in my veins as I carry Native American. I carry about an eighth French, based on my maternal g-g-grandparent who came to Louisiana following the British rudeness in Acadia.

I am a blend of about six different national origins, all who decided that the United States was the best place to raise a family. They integrated, assimilated, and took the best of every culture to make something unique. Me. The fact that my last name is Germanic is solely an accident of patrimony.

This week, I give thanks for that Native woman who decided to marry a Scot-Irish farmer as part of the American experiment. I give thanks for those German immigrants with the unwieldy last name. I give thanks for the French who were driven from their homes and came to wet, humid Louisiana. I give thanks for all who came before.

So, this week, with grandkids streaming in and out the doors of this modest home, I give thanks that we are here, in the great hope of the world. Part of the great American experiment, part of the greatest democracy this world has ever known. I give thanks that we are sheltered, and fed, and loved, and that my grandchildren have an even chance of being better than I am.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Processing wheelweights

After writing the turkey post, below, I went outside to my shed to do some straightening. I found a quarter bucket of wheelweights out there and decided to process them, so I set up the turkey cooker and got out my lead pots so that I could melt the raw wheelweights into something useful.

Once you melt lead in a pot, it can never be used again for food. Mark it, or segregate it so that no one will mistake it for a food implement. Lead is a poison when ingested orally. It isn't healthy to have it shot through you, either, but that is another story.

Anyway, I processed the remaining wheelweights and now I have clean ingots ready for the bullet pot. I use two basic ingot molds when I am cleaning raw lead, so I can remember what is wheelweight and what is pure lead. The wheelweights go into an old cornbread stick pan. The pure lead goes into a Lee ingot mold. Were I concerned with having ingots of a particular alloy, I would get a third mold to cast those ingots, so that the varying ingots could be instantly identified.

Cornstick lead is wheelweights, Lee ingots are pure lead. If I was needed to keep ingots of Lyman #2, or linotype, I would simply get anther ingot mold. Maybe a starburst mold, or a Lyman mold. Something distinctive.

Simple, no?

Frying a turkey

Frying turkeys is a big deal here in Louisiana, where we are apt to fry anything that walks, flies, swims or crawls. Out in my shed, I have my turkey frying gear set up, ready to go.

You need a little specialized equipment, like this:

You can get this equipment anywhere. A simple Google search shows that Target has them.

Turkey frying is best done outdoors, because you are going to make a damned mess. I guarantee it. Any fool who fries a turkey indoors runs a very real risk of burning down the house. Be forewarned.

It isn't hard to fry a turkey if you follow a few reasonable steps. First off, find a safe place, where an oil spill can be ignored or cleaned easily. Then, weigh your turkey. It is crucial that you know exactly the weight of the bird, because that will determine the frying time. Lets say you have a 12.5 pound turkey. You are going to fry it for three minutes per pound. 12.5 X 3 = 37.5. You are going to fry that bird for 37.5 minutes.

Thawing a turkey is an exercise in itself. Follow the label directions on the bird. Follow them exactly. Salmonella isn't anything to trifle with. It is now Tuesday morning. If I wanted to fry a turkey for the noon meal on Thursday, I would begin thawing the turkey this afternoon.

The turkey must be thawed, and some seasoning helps. I like to thaw my turkey, then place it in a garbage bag, pour in some italian dressing, some beer, some cayenne pepper, then seal the bag and let the turkey marinate in that mixture for six or eight hours. Some folks like to inject the bird with marinade. Whatever floats your boat.

When your turkey is thawed, marinated, and you have the equiment set up in a safe spot outdoors, the following steps are crucial.

1. With everything off, everything cold, put the turkey into the pot. Fill the pot with oil until the turkey is covered in oil. Remove the turkey. The amount of oil in the pot is the proper amount. Some people fill the pot with oil, get it hot, then add the turkey. They are considerably surprised when the turkey displaces oil, and the oil runs down the side of the pot, starting a fire and making a hell of a mess. Do it my way, and have a big enough pot. When the cold turkey goes in the hot oil, there will be a certain amount of sizzling and bubbling and you need enough pot to contain the bubbling.

2. With the turkey out of the oil, light your fire, and start heating your oil. It will take a few minutes to bring the oil to the 360 degrees F that is necessary for frying. A good frying themometer is essential. Once the oil is up to temerature, add the turkey carefully.

3. Start your timing. Monitor your temperature. Adjust the fire to keep 360-375 oil temperature. When the time is over, carefully remove your bird from the oil and enjoy. The outer skin will be crisp and totally brown. The flesh of the bird will be flavorful and juicy.

4. Bon Apetit. While you are eating, and enjoying the adulation of your guests, let everything cool. You can clean the mess outside later.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sex Offender Update

I retired from the Louisiana Division of Probation and Parole in 2000. They, along with the various Sheriffs and the Louisiana State Police, are required by law to track the residence of known sex offenders and keep the public informed.

During the Katrina/Rita festivities, I happened to speak to a member of the Alexandria office and he told me frankly that there were a bunch (read hundreds) of sex offenders that left New Orleans in the evacuation, and he thought that there were a significant number that left Southwest Louisiana during Rita.

I don't doubt it.

The agents of the Division of Probation and Parole are some of the finest cops you will find anywhere. Regardless of their own safety they track known violent offenders and monitor compliance with court order and orders from the various Boards that release prisoners.

A street cop deals with 99% law abiding citizens. A Parole officer deals with 90% known felons. My last ten years with that agency I arrested hundreds of offenders, and never made a misdemeanor arrest. They were all felony busts. During the last 12 years I carried three parole officers to their graves. Two had been murdered.

Tracking sex offenders is a pain in the ass. A high stress job with no hope of success. The work is never done, and when a local agency calls at 3:00 a.m., you put on your pants, stap on a gun, and go. Kiss your wife before you leave the house, and look in on the kids. You may never see them again.

Anyway, the Division has made available a list of known registered sex offenders that they cannot account for. The list is here. Go view it. All the links are clickable and give you a picture and quick background on the offender.

If you happen to see any of these offenders, contact your local police department and lead them to these links. These folks are dangerous to your community. They may be armed. Do not try to apprehend them yourself. Call the police.

These people are convicted sex offenders. Warrants have been requested because they are not in compliance with Louisiana Law. They have not registered their address and they might be living in your community. If you see one of these offenders, call the police.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

White Box Ammo

I was late getting to Wal-Mart today and went directly to the ammo counter. I got the attention of the woman behind the counter.

"I'd like to see what you have in your Winchester Value Packs." I asked.

"Okay. I'm out of .38 Special, .357 magnum, and .40 S&W. I've got some .45 Auto 230 grain and .22 Long Rifle."

I grinned. "My favorite. Can I have one of each?"

"Okay," she asked. "What's going on? Guys have been coming in here today asking for Winchester white box. I there something special about that ammo?"

"No, ma'am. Just a bunch of us internet guys are going to Wal-Mart stores today, trying to buy ammo. Trying to make a statement. Trying to show that we count as customers. We call it National Ammo Day."

She worked the register. "Well, I have a lot of Remington and a lot of Federal, but you guys are coming in asking for Winchester white box. I figured something was up. I'm glad we have a truck coming in Tuesday, because I am about out of value packs."

I picked up my bag. "Thanks a lot."

So, on my bench right now, I have another hundred rounds of .45 ACP and 500 rounds of .22LR. And to all the guys who came before me at that particular store, and all the folks everywhere who bought ammo today, thanks a lot. Maybe we made a statement.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Jena Choctaw

Can you say conflict of interest? Good.

Now read this article from AP and the Alexandria Daily Town Talk and tell me if a conflict of interest doesn't exist. A teaser:
WASHINGTON -- Nearly three dozen members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, pressed the government to reject a Louisiana Indian casino while they collected large donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.
It isn't just one party, Republicans and Democrats shared in the booty. Abramoff is an equal opportunity lobbyist.

The donations look like a Who's Who.

Denny Hastert (R-IL) $21,500 (over $100,000 total for four years)
Harry Reid (D-NV) $66,000
Jim McCrery (R-LA) $36,000
David Vitter (R-LA) $6,000, but he returned it
Tom DeLay (R-TX) $57,000

The dead tree edition lists Abramoff donations to Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), but those donations aren't covered in the online edition. And the list goes on and on. 33 different lawmakers took donations before writing letters to Secretary Gail Norton.

The Advocate has more, here:
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was locked in a bitter Senate race in 2002, and is listed by The Associated Press as receiving $32,000 in contributions from tribes or the lobbyists.
U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, received $36,250 through Abramoff-connected donations, The Associated Press reported. McCrery could not be reached for comment Thursday. A call placed to his office was not returned.

Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., received $27,500 in contributions related to Abramoff. Breaux wrote Norton on March 1, 2002. Five days later, the Coushattas contributed $1,000 to his campaign and $10,000 to his library fund, according to The Associated Press analysis.
Charming. Just simply friggin charming.

I'm disgusted with the whole damned bunch of them. I would love to see another casino in Central Louisiana. Preferably the Jena Choctaw, in Creola, LA. The genie is out of the bottle and the camel has his nose under the tent, as far as gambling in Louisiana is concerned. It 's time to open it up to valid competition. Give the consumer a choice. More importantly, it is time for our lawmakers to quit playing favorites.

Well said, Lieutenant!

In the article linked above, an Army lieutenant tells about her experience attending Harvard Law School. It is an interesting piece, and reflects much of what is wrong with the civilian political left. A partial quote is here:
I found that many people who claimed to value diversity and respect difference could not reconcile my presence at Harvard.
Diversity. Right. Wanna see true diversity? Join the Army.

It might surprise many people that a bunch of Army officers are Democrats and many of them are left-wing types. I worked with a bunch of them, and while no one wore insignia identifying political orientation, you know someone best who you spend a lot of time with. I. myself was a lot more liberal in the earlier years of my duty. My conservative bent came later, as I aged and matured.

Military service has nothing to do with political orientation. Military service is about performance. Pure performance. If you perform, then you are promoted to greater positions of responsibility and authority. If you don't perform, you find yourself unemployed.

Regulations proscribe certain political activities because whoever gets elected, the officers and enlisted are duty bound to follow that President. We call him the Commander-in-Chief and our willingess to follow whoever is elected is the one good guarantee that the military will always be under civil control.

I served with the rich and the poor, the Repubs and Dems and Independents. I served with liberals and conservatives. Educated and uneducated. Straight and gay. All races, citizen and non-citizen. All that mattered was performance. I didn't give a simple damn who served to my left or my right, who brought me my bullets or my beans, who treated my wounds or processed my paycheck. It just didnt' matter what their political persuasion was. Didn't matter at all. We were all brothers and we were all family. Only performance counted.

Would that Harvard Law School should experience such diversity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday Rambling

Wednesday night, and I find myself without much going on, nor much motivation to get in to anything.

Today was a quiet shift at work, and we all know that a quiet shift is a good shift.

Last night, the garage door opener died, for some strange reason. I came home fully expecting to spend most of the evening troubleshooting it. I read the instruction manual, got an idea of the wiring problems, then went out, unplugged it and disconnected the wiring. I did a voltage check and some continuity checks, then started plugging things back up to do the serious trouble-shooting. It came to life when I plugged in the main cord and it is working fine. I either inadvertantly fixed the problem while disconnecting and reconnecting the wiring, or it had an internal reset circuit that activated when I killed power to the unit. Anyway, it rebooted just fine and is working happily now.

Milady is working this evening, and that is the reason I am at loose ends. Were she home, I'd be sitting on the couch harassing her. As it is, I am without adult supervision.

Turkish mausers are a really good deal if someone is in the market for a beater rifle. They are mainly chambered for the 8mm Mauser round, which launches a 200 grain bullet at 2500 fps. That ought to be sufficient for just about anything on the North American continent. Those rifles are running in the hundred dollar range, and it looks like one could be made into a fine beater rifle for a hundred more. Something to think about for the after-Christmas, deep winter blues. Working on a rifle is a good thing.

I'm confused about the effort it will require to rebuild South Louisiana, and it seems as if some of the efforts will be working against each other. For example, some folks want levees so that New Orleans will be safe from a storm surge. They can't insurance unless there is some guarantee that the area won't flood again, so they need levees to geet insurance to rebuild.

However, levees channelize water. The big levee system along the Mississippi did just fine during the latest storm, yet those same levees that hold the river, also prevent the water from entering the marsh. That fresh water entering the marsh, with its rich load of silt, is what makes the marsh in the first place.

A big portion of South Louisiana has been channelized for oil exploration and flood control. I was taught that those levees contributed to marshland loss and the best thing we could do for the marshes would be to bulldoze the levees and let the silt rebuild the marshes. When we bulldoze the levees, we lose flood protection.

So, how do we intend to rebuild marshes while we build levees? It is a quandry, and minds better than mine surely have the answer. Feel free to educate me in comments.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Place names

Reading the Daily Wipe today, I found this article, with this picture:

And, the caption:
Pollock Mayor Jerome Scott (left) meets Katrina, a kitten that the Rimkus family found in a wall of their destroyed house in Alluvial City in St. Bernard Parish. The Rimkus family includes parents John (from left) and Brenda, and their children, Sabrina and John III, all of whom have decided to make Pollock their home.
Pollock, LA is just up the road from my house, and the Mayor, the Right Honorable, Most Distinguished Jerome Scott, is a close personal friend of mine. That photo is small town politics at its best.

Jerome hates cats.

I was struck by the name of their last home. Alluvial, LA. Why doesn't it come as any surprise that a town named Alluvial might have a problem with water, or flooding?

I'm glad they're here in Central Lousiana. I'm sorry for their loss, but jeez, people, the town was named Alluvial. How predictive is that? If you read the whole article, you learn that their house was run over by a yacht.
Their house, which John Rimkus Jr. said was more than 100 years old, was struck by a yacht.

"If the doggone yacht hadn't hit it, it'd still be standing," John Rimkus Jr. said.

There is just too damned much irony here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bush Comeback

Reading the Town Talk, I found this article out of the Associated Press, talking about thelong road our President is on to recover his numbers. They give a lot of analysis, but I think the President's troubles are much more easily solved.

He needs to start acting like a Republican.

The recent gubernatioral elections don't really show any trend. Two Democratic governors were replaced by two Democratic governors.

George W. Bush has pissed off the people who put him in office, simply because he doesn't do the things we want him to do. His domestic mandate was to control immigration, reduce spending and push forward the conservative agenda. Smaller government, less intrusive bureaucracy, cut spending programs. He has failed in those tasks.

Hell, he can't even get a Rebublican congress to vote with him. The north Louisiana Congressman, Jim McCrery, voted against him last week.

President Bush needs to start acting like a Republican, a small government Republican. His base will follow.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Memory Lane

Surfing over at the Smallest Minority, I stumbled across this article about the garage gun industry in Pakistan. The weapon pictured is the M3 submachine gun, and looking at the picture brought back memories of being a tank commander in the mid 1970's. I shamelessly stole the picture from the Smallest Minority.

That is the whole thing. About as basic as a firearm can get, and it only fires in full auto, and it fires that big ole .45 ball ammo, the same stuff that rides in your 1911. You can see the full size picture here.

The only problem I ever found with the M3 was that it got hot after a hundred rounds or so. Wearing gloves while firing it was a good idea. Wearing gloves and being sure the barrel was securely screwed to the receiver. Launching your barrel downrange was considered poor form.

The M3 was the first weapon I qualified with after I got my commission. The course was fired on a fifty-meter pistol course with half-sized popup silhouettes, and it was a frigging hoot. The targets would pop up and we would hammer them down in a burst of .45 ACP. The M3 was the damndest weapon I ever saw and I remember thinking I could replicate it in my grandfathers machine shop. I had to buy one after my knuckleheaded driver ran over it with my M60A1. After depreciation, I wrote the government a check for $3.21. An M3 was a bargain in the'70s.

The Guide Lamp division of GM made a gazillion of these things during WWII and charged the gummint about $21.00 apiece for them. Quite the frugal weapon for the discriminating tanker. I bet the guys in Iraq could use a couple of crates of them for clearing rooms. I know that the M3 would be the cats whiskers in an urban environment.

Toss a WP grenade into a room, then follow it up with a burst of M3 fire. Extremely effective, as long as prisoners weren't a criteria.

I wish I had one hanging in the closet.

Another online test

Cool, although I am a tragic character. I usually don't do these things, but liked the format of this one.

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with


Back in 1981 I moved to Bayou Derbonne, LA, a small agricultural community in Natchitoches Parish, LA. Over the years, the road, the physical blacktop road deteriorated to the point where it was gravel in some areas. The local police jury, lacking the funds to repair it, actually came in with plows and graveled a large section of that road.

Natchitoches Parish is a poor parish. Some of us who lived on that road knew that without help we would never be able to drive on a standard road, so we began writing letters and putting together a coalition and trying to get help to fix eight miles of bad road. Eight miles. Two lane road. Nothing fancy. Just some asphalt so that we could drive to work and home without potholes and gravel dings on our vehicles.

Because our road is the back door to a major federal preserve (the National Red Dirt Wilderness Area), we got a pledge of assistance from Senator Mary Landieu and actually recieved funding. We got the pledge for funds in the year 2000. Then 9/11/2001 came along. I got a letter from Senator Landrieu explaining that other priorities had been foisted upon us and that our funding for our little eight miles of bad road had been taken for more pressing issues. We understood. We still understand. And we still drive on bad road.

Our experience is not unique. Lots of small communities all over the United States share the same frustrations. In North Louisiana, for example, Morehouse Parish wants to spend $4 million for a Livestock arena. $4 million is a drop in the bucket, but the people there would like some of their tax money to support their own people. With the horrific destruction of south Louisiana, Morehouse Parish probably won't get their livestock arena. They probably understand.

After a lot of soul-searching and a lot of arguing with people I respect, I have come to the understanding that we need to rebuild South Louisiana. We should grant the resources and the money to getting those people back on their feet. It is the right thing to do, culturally, economically, and from a humanitarian prespective. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I understand it. I support the effort.

This opinion from the Alexandria Daily Town Talk represents the frustration a lot of folks in North Louisian feel when South Louisiana needs money.
Lawmakers also feel awkward as they try to ask the rest of the state to chip in to salvage New Orleans, a city that has been larded with preferential treatment forever. Already we are hearing complaints from North Louisiana legislators on things like cutting the $11 million slush fund to help plug the hole in the state budget levee.
The feeling of frustration has been building for years. New Orleans has long gotten preferential treatment from the state legislature. Sure, the lions share of taxes comes from there, and sure, a whole lot of people live there, but the perception exists that New Orleans is almost a state unto itself.

I still support the effort to rebuild South Lousiana. I agree that it is the right thing to do. During the worst of Katrina and Rita, the citizens of North Louisiana opened their doors and hearts to the citizens of south Louisiana that needed us. We worked long, hard hours in shelters and spending scarce resources so that lives could be spared and the trauma could be reduced.

We understand that the ports and the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt. We understand that levees and marshes have to be restored. And we are being asked to contribute, to put aside our own wants and needs until that restoration is complete. We are being asked to put aside our infrastructure needs until the people south of I-10 have what they need to prosper.

Can you understand the frustration and resentment? Even when we admit that the work must be done, we have heard it all before. New Orleans needs a superdome. New Orleans needs better roads. New Orleans needs to upgrade their ports. New Orleans needs a new convention center. We need the Superdome to be remodeled for the tourist industry in New Orleans.

We don't have the voter base that New Orleans has. When we need 8 miles of road fixed we have to compete against all the little tiny needs of all over the state. When New Orleans needs something, half a million voices speak.

Yeah, we're frustated. We did the best we could for New Orleans, and now we are being asked to do more. Our needs are being pushed aside so that we can make Louisiana a better place.

What would be a big help is if the New Orleans lawmakers would band together and commit to helping North Louisiana at some identified time in the future. If those lawmakers would agree that... say... from 2008 to 2012 they would not ask for a single dime from the legislature and that they would get behind all the little projects that we in Louisiana need so desparately.

It seems sometimes like north Louisiana is being asked to be part of the team, yet never gets to share in the victory.

I still need 8 miles of basic road.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

San Francisco Gun Ban

For all you right minded patriots in San Francisco, if there are any of you left, leave now. Pack up and leave. Let them have their little laws.

Actually, this law (or is it an ordinance?)was passed by a vote of the people. I think we should respect that. Let them use this as a Great American Experiment. I feel certain that within just a year or so, they'll see that it was a great mistake.

Silly bastards. I hope they enjoy lawlessness.

Willie Peter

For reasons that only the anti-war crowd will understand, someone started the rumor today that we used white phosphorus against the combatants of Fallujah. They also stated that WP was illegal. I saw an article quoted to that effect. Google it yourself.

White Phosphorus munitions are not proscribed under the various conventions dealing with land warfare. We aren't supposed to use WP against personnel, but against property targets. For example, we can shoot WP at equipment or supply dumps. The people in the supply dumps are just screwed. Can't help it. As for the veracity of the claim that we used WP munitions, I don't doubt it. WP munitions are common and are used as a military expedient against property targets, but the pictures I have seen don't tell the tale.

The articles claim that one of the tell-tale signs of WP is that the deceased are burned, but their clothing is not. Bullshit. WP catches fire and burns with a flame. Clothing catches fire. This quote from a NATO emergency medical manual.

"Many antipersonnel weapons employed in modern warfare contain white phosphorus. Fragments of this metal, which ignite upon contact with the air, may be driven into the soft tissues; however, most of the cutaneous injury resulting from phosphorus burns is due to the ignition of clothing, and is treated as conventional thermal injury."

The article also claims that the skin takes on a leathery appearance. The skin of the deceased will also take on a leathery appearance if not recovered immediately and allowed to lie out in a low humidity environment like a desert.

The referenced article is preposterous from every angle. It is the biggest piece of bullshit I have ever seen. If my anti-war friends want to debate the political ramifications of the Iraqi experience, then they should do so. This country welcomes contemporaneous, spirited, political debate.

But don't believe everything you read. This is now officially debunked.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This should please

the Oyster. From the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, dead tree edition. I couldn't find it online anywhere: My transcription:
Congress Backs Funds for Louisiana Hurricane Shield
Congress bolstered the outlook for building Louisiana's Hurricane protection system to defend against major 5 storms after a water and energy conference committee agreed on a major spending bill Monday.

The conference report includes a provision calling for the US Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an analysis and design of a new, stronger storm protection system at FULL FEDERAL EXPENSE, said Adam Sharp, a spokesman for US Senator Mary Landrieu. Sharp said the committee agreed to spend $8 million for the analysis and design project "significantly more than a study".
It went on to say that this lets us move faster to construction than just having a study done, and shortens the timeframe by several years. Sharp said it was encouraging that the same lawmakers who would be asked to approve construction funding moved quickly to authorize a multimillion dollar design phase.

Good for New Orleans. Hopefully, good for South Louisiana.

Gimme a break

With Louisiana facing the most damaging budget shortfall in recent history; with Hurricane victims all over the state and the cleanup barely begun; with the Louisiana Legislature meeting to decide how best to respond to the dual crises that affect our general welfare, we get this little blurb out of the Washington Times:
Louisiana will spend $45 million on sports and livestock facilities and other new projects in spite of a looming deficit, frustrating some officials who say the frivolity reinforces the state's history of political patronage.
"We're in Washington with our hands out asking for $2 billion plus, and rather than holding on to the money to see what the needs are, they're spending it on local projects financing goat shows and lawn-mower races," says state Sen. Robert Barham, Oak Ridge Republican.
Supporters of the $4 million Morehouse Parish Equine Center say it will give a much-needed boost to the economy.
Actually, Senator Barham, it is more like 200 billion plus.

When the Queen Bee gets rational about cutting the budget, then maybe someone, somewhere will take us seriously.

Some have noted that I am conficted about the use of Federal Money to rebuild Louisiana infrastructure in South Louisiana. I admit it. I am extremely conflicted, but with FEMA here, the money has already started to flow. I think flooding is a local problem, especially if the affected know about it in advance, and I think that should be true whether one person is affected, or 100,000. My view is decidedly in the minority, so while I am convinced in the correctness of my opinion, I have to bow to the collective view in the short run.

The help we get from Washington will be decided in Washington, and rightfully so. We shouldn't have any sports or livestock facilities in the budget at all. Blanco should cut fat with a draconian knife, and decide what is truly important for the short term survival of Louisiana. Maybe when the Fed sees that we are serious, Bush will send some of his Drunken Sailor money our way.

Which will piss me off even further.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Okay, Now I understand

I've got it. I understand the problem. When an American city floods, everyone should come to help. The Fed should build levees, everyone in the nation should drop what they are doing to be a part of the recovery effort.

Sounds reasonable to me. Until you understand that I've been flooded out three times. 1981, 1987, and 1991. A little country lane in southern Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana is prone to flooding. It is in a low area, crossed by a bayou and sloughs. About forty families live there. We know the risk.

The first time I was there was 1981 when the area experienced unseasonably heavy rains. The water supply for Natchitoches is Sibley lake and the lake was in danger of breaching the spillway, so the Mayor ordered the floodgates opened. Natchitoches was saved, but almost 100 square miles of the parish were flooded. I had to evacuate my house and we couldn't return for three days. Then we moved back in and cleaned up.

The second time was in 1987. The Fed had built I-49, which was basically a large levee across the southern part of Natchitoches Parish. We got unseasonably heavy rains again, and guess what? The interstate held the water. We were screwed again. FEMA? Ha! Flood assistance? You must be high! Oh yeah, that infrastructure was really great. It held water like a sunuvabitch.

1991, same deal. Flooded three times in twelve years, we moved back in, cleaned up, and continued our lives. The folks that wanted to live there, lived there. Those that didn't moved on. The Fed did finally come and put a couple of culverts in so the water would drain. We really appreciated that.

While I am being righteously indignant, don't get me started on the poor folks who live on Black Lake, near Campti, LA. Black Lake drains into the Red River, which is one huge infrastructure debacle. The Corps of Engineers had to raise the pool stage of the Red River so that it could be navigable. Now, anytime the Black Lake area gets unseasonably high rains, the water has no place to drain and the houses along the lake flood. But those are just country folks. They aren't worthy of assistance.

If you live on Bayou Derbonne, in southern Natchitoches Parish, you know the dangers and the risk. Property value is stagnant. You are in danger of flooding. Of course, the people who live on Bayou Derbonne aren't really people. They're country folks. Amish-type. It's just farmland and small holdings. Not really worthy of assistance. At one point I had my property on the market for eighteen months without a single bite. Not one. We lived in a floodplain.

If you live in New Orleans, that's different. Sophisticated city types that understand concepts of leverage and the time value of money. Simple country bumkins couldn't begin to understand the sophistication. So, when they flood, we should all come to their rescue. When Bayou Derbonne floods, fuck 'em. I appreciate it.

Thanks a lot.

Good Point!

I find this in comments.
j said...
Pawpaw, if we eliminate "handouts to individuals" we should also eliminate handouts to corporations. Didn't your fellow Republications just hand Exxon-Mobil several billion dollars?

Isn't it a handout when the government pays farmers not to farm? Isn't that the same as paying someone not to work?
Good point.

Fiscal responsibility cuts both ways and I won't be one to say that a handout to one person (or corporation) is okay, while another one is not. A handout is a handout, and we shouldn't be guilty of preferring one over the other.

I dont' think I have ever covered it on these pages, but I am opposed to farm subsidies, too. Farmers grow our food, true, but I think that the market would do a better job of managing commodities than the government does.

One of the reasons that many Repubs, myself included is angry with Bush and Company is because of fiscal irresponsibility. He is spending money, frankly, at a rate that would make a drunken sailor blush. I am also disenchanted with our Congress as a whole for the same reason. Those guys are all for cutting pork, unless it is Their Pork.

There has to be a place in our budget for assisting the needy. I am not opposed to helping someone who is in dire and necessitious circumstances, but I am hard-pressed to show you where in the Constitution it is allowed. Therein lies the quandry. I am also hard pressed to show you where in the Constitution we got the idea that the Government could pay for anything except defense.

I know we need roads and bridges and levees and all manner of things that contribute to our common good, yet I am stymied as to the reasoning of those that would hold that the Government should provide everything for everyone. There must be some rational way to rein in out-of-control spending, and I wish that our Republican delegation in Congress would make dramatic inroads at cutting fat whereever it is found. Is that not what the Budget Committee is for?

Commenters are welcome to help me come to some rational conclusion here.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Scope views

I decided to play with the digital camera and the scopes on the bench this morning. The views through the scopes appeared quite illuminating.

Here is a view through the Tasco 4X from my bench. You are looking up the road at a major intersection hidden behind bushes. The road sign is visible and is about 200 yards from my bench. Yes, I know that the crosshairs aren't level. The scopes are resting on my vise as I took the pictures.

Next, the same view through the Weaver 6X scope.

You can see the full size pictures if you want to look. The Tasco is here. The Weaver is here.

Remember, the Tasco is ancient and well-used. The Weaver is brand new, out of the box. I did't do anything to the scopes prior to taking the pictures, except running a lens cleaning cloth across both of them.

Whaddya think?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It just keeps getting better

You have to read this report from Atlanta.

It seems that three men were found to be in a local hotel, and were found to be in possession of drugs. Not much of a story there, until you learn that they are from New Orleans, and how they got their rooms.
When officers asked the three men how they could afford to stay at the hotel, they responded that they obtained free hotels rooms easily just by displaying a Louisiana identification. One of the men, 20-year-old Michael Joseph Sanson, stated that he had a fraudulent i.d. card, according to police. He also had $600 that he said was obtained from the Red Cross.
That's not all. They think they deserve it.
A second suspect, 23-year-old Gary Lee Leonard, told authorities he had two hotel rooms and one home in Stone Mountain. He said he supported his $20-a-day drug habit with money from FEMA and the Red Cross but that he needed the money to "start over." Leonard stated that he and others like him deserved the money because they are from New Orleans.
This is another failure of the Great Society.

They think they deserve it. I'm about to have a RCOB minute, here. They deserve nothing. Nothing at all. The very fact that they think they can get something for free, because they are from Louisiana is a disgrace to Louisiana, to New Orleans, and to their neighborhood, and to their Momma.

Yeah, their Momma. She obviously did a piss-poor job of raising them. They think they deserve something for nothing. Piss-poor parenting. They ought to take their Mommas out and whip them.

I bet they're Democrats. It sounds like Democrat talking points. Throw their asses in jail, strip them naked, and let them earn everything they get, including food. By the time they start earning three squares a day and have earned socks, underwear, and a prison jumpsuit, maybe they'll start understanding they don't deserve anything.

And you wonder why I say the Great Society was a failure?

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

The Preamble, the Supremes and the Gvernment.

I was talking informally with some students last week about current events, and they were talking about the government response to the hurricanes and their take on the whole hurricane experience. Our school district still has a goodly number of Katrina evacuees and the experience, on the whole, has been positive.

Then, of course, I read the blogpsphere and read the postings and comments that the Government should have done this, or the Governmnet should have done that. I am especially pleased with the Porkbusters initiative from the bloggers and I support those efforts.

Then of course, we have the nomination of Judge Alito, and the recent confirmation of Justice Roberts, and I am wondering what that means for the state of the Supremes.

All three of these topics are gelling in the back of my mind, and the ideas I am getting are pretty radical, so I have to go to the dictionary to look up the word PREAMBLE:
A preliminary statement, especially the introduction to a formal document that serves to explain its purpose.
My thesis is simple. What if we suddenly find that we have enough justices on the Court to make a conservative majority, and they decide to uphold the Constitution. What is the Governnment supposed to do? What, in itself is the business of Government. What should the Government provide?

So then, I go to the Preamble of the United States, which serves to explain its purpose, and certainly gives a good summation of intent. We read:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Bold words. But what to make of them? Let's fisk it, shall we?

We the People: That's us. We decide what our government can and cannot do.

In order to form a more perfect union: It isn't perfect, but we can keep trying.

establish justice,: without justice then nothing else works. We have to have Courts and the Constitution will provide for those courts.

insure domestic tranquility,: we want to live in peace and raise families, pursue business and not be bothered by nonsense. Especially government nonsense.

provide for the common defense: we have to provide for a standing Army. A good Navy helps, and in this age of airplanes, an Air Force might be handy. Of course, when this was written, the US Marine Corps already existed, they should be included in the provisioning.

promote the general welfare: These are interesting words. The general welfare. I would imagine that this subordinate clause is all about the general welfare of the people. It sure doesn't sound to me like any specific welfare, no handouts to individuals. This deals with the general good of the people. No Great Society here. Maybe we should just come out in favor of everyone working and saving and taking care of themselves. That would certainly promote the general welfare and be a whole lot more inexpensive than what we are doing now.

and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,: this clause seems to mean that we intend to remain free and to pass that freedom along to our progeny.

The Constitution goes farther, in fact, and whole libraries are printed to hold the words that try to divine the intentions of the founders. The preamble seems to me to be fairly simple and easy to understand. Would that the Supreme Court, and the Congress, would take the words in the Preamble strictly to heart.

As a matter of fact, the only things I see in this Preamble that the government is supposed to provide are the Courts and a common defense. I don't see bridges in Alaska, or walking parks in New Orleans, (or levees, for that matter). There is a whole lot of fat that we could be cutting, if we return to the words in the Constitution.


Most of my regular readers know that I eschew the use of scopes on rifles. More correctly, I prefer to use iron sights when I can, but I am not so backwards that I decry the use of telescopic devices on every rifle. The beater rifle that I use for deer has iron sights, the Sharps has iron sights, the Renegade has iron sights.

My .22 sports a scope and the Savage has a scope.

The one scope that I use most is the one that sits on my workbench in the garage. It is an old Tasco 4x that was taken from a pawn-shop rifle and placed on the shelf. As it turns out, it is convenient when I see something down the street I want to look at. A crash at the red light? I'll pick up the scope before I call it in. The neighbor lady weeding the flowers in a bikini, I'll pick up the scope. Some kids arguing in the street? I'll pick up the scope. It is also useful for birdwatching and squirrel spying. That old Tasco is a good scope. The bell is dented but it works. It is clear and fine and I can see anything I want to look at.

Nowadays we see very few fixed power scopes of any quality on the local store counters. Fixed power scopes don't sell. I think they are the best value in the market. Most folks don't really use the variable feature on a scope. They set it at some arbitrary magnification and leave it there. Consumers like those features, though, and those features sell scopes. Things like target turrets, variable magnification and huge objective lenses make a scope more salable. Many times nowadays the cost of the scope alone will be equal to or greater than the cost of the rifle. That seems extravagant in my opinion.

Not one rifleman in ten can hit a three inch target at 100 yards, from field positions. Not one in a hundred can hit a 10 inch target at 500 yards.

I'm not so curmudgeonly to say that we shouldn't buy a $1500 scope. It is your money. Spend it anyway you want to spend it. Some of the low-end variables are good values for 99% of the hunting public.

That said, I recently purchased a Weaver scope, the classic K6. It is a 6 power fixed magnification scope. I have not yet mounted it on a rifle, and I had to buy it online because not one local shop stocked it. Paid $135.00 for it. It was a purchase I made to pamper myself. I have always wanted one and I bought it just in case it becomes unavailable in the future. I might mount it, or I might just leave it on my bench.

It'll make that bikini so much more viewable. I guess I need to buy a good binocular.

4.1 Million Customers

I was sitting at work yesterday morning, doing a little surfing, when I noticed we had lost internet service. I went to find my tech guy and discovered that the problem was outside the building. I shrugged it off and devoted the rest of the day to actually doing my job. I checked on the internet a couple of times the rest of the day. Nada.

On the drive home, listening to the radio, I learned that some bozo had cut a main line with a backhoe, killing internet service to most of Rapides Parish Louisiana. The radio station did some digging and found the particular bozo and the particular backhoe and broadcast the location so that irate citizens could drive past and give the guy the finger.

When I got home, I found that I didn't have internet service at home, either, so I called my ISP (Cox Communications) and asked them about it. The customer service rep at Cox told me that the cable belonged to a telephone company and that every ISP in the area was affected, but that Cox had 4.1 Million Customers affected in three Louisiana parishes. The affected parishes were Rapides, Grant and Natchitoches.

I call bullshit. There aren't a quarter million people in those three parishes. According to the latest census data, Rapides has 128,000 residents, Natchitoches has 39,000 residents, and Grant has 19,000.

So, if everyone has two accounts, one for business and one for residential, we still can't have more than a half-million customers affected. I am assuming, for the purposes of this little exercise, that customers are people.

Geeze, Louise, you would think that Cox would know that the same internet they provide could be used to fact-check their asses. They must count customers like the Democrats count votes. I guess the dead have Cox internet service in their coffins.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Computational devices

The home computer died tonite. We'll look for another one tomorrow.

It was a 3-year-old emachine. In rapid order (6 hours), the on-off switch broke. I cobbled that back together then the keyboard wouldn't respond, so I ran to Wally-World and got a keyboard, then the system wouldn't recognize the monitor. The same monitor that has been on it for three years. I hooked up another monitor, that didn't work either.

Milady then tired of me cussing and advised me that we would shop for one tomorrow. When she finds one she likes we'll bring it home. Then I get to configure it and turn her loose on it.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Senator Vitter responds

Well, I'll be damned. David Vitter responded to my email from October 20th. That was almost two weeks ago, so he needs to raise a little hell at his staff. Two weeks is half a monthly archive in the blog game. He needs to get a grip on the speed of the web.

Not that I believe for a minute that David saw my email. Yeah, right.

However, he does respond to email, and he says he understands where the dollars originate. The whole text of the response:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to wasteful government spending. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

Like you, I take serious issue with government waste of tax dollars. The money the government spends is not the property of anyone in Washington. It belongs to the hard working citizens of our country. I am working to bring Washington's spending problem under control.

You'll be pleased to know that I helped pass a federal budget that cuts the federal deficit in half in five years while addressing many of our nation's top priorities, including strengthening our Armed Forces, improving our homeland defenses, and promoting economic opportunity with pro-growth tax policies.

I will continue to work to root out wasteful government spending and trim big government, and you can count on me to be a watchdog to protect against these things. Please rest assured that I will remain fiscally responsible when making decisions about government spending.

Once again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.


Compare and Contrast

I've been putting off writing this post, but there seems to be a weird dichotomy working in Louisiana right now. There are the citizens of the state who believe that we can complete any task we set our minds to, and the set of citizens who believe that someone else should be held responsible for everything.

The difference between the two is never more apparent than in the two blogs Mostly Cajun, and Your Right Hand Thief. Both appear on my blogroll.

Your Right Hand Thief is a blog centered in New Orleans, and moderated by a guy who calls himself Oyster. I have no problem with anonymous blogs, and I am semi-anonymous myself. Anyone with even a modicum of Googling ability can figure out who I am. YHRT, and the Oyster, by default, is a blog by a fellow with Democratic leanings.

Mostly Cajun, on the other hand, is a blog centered around Lake Charles, LA. The moderator of Mostly Cajun is a self-professed native who leans more toward self-sufficiency. The Do-It-Yourself attitude rings through the writing there.

Both of these fellows lost everything during the twin disasters that were Rita and Katrina. They both lost everything within a month of one another.

I'm a frequent commenter over at YRHT and I commented on this post, where the Oyster decries the lavish spending of Texan contractors who were down in New Orleans working. In comments, I asked the questions:
The question becomes, why is it necessary for the Texans to be there? If New Orleans had business handled, the locals could squeeze out the transients. The followup question becomes, who is doing the rebuilding, and why aren't New Orleans residents taking care of it themselves? Home Depot doesn't much give a damn who it sells sheetrock or shingles to. If you're not willing to do it yourself, why are you bitching? New Orleans has to be rebuilt and the guys with the hammers are doing the rebuilding.
Oyster responds that Texans shouldn't be there, that " I believe the guys I was drinking with were feeding off limited or no bid fed contracts."

Then he tells me that:
There's almost no rebuilding going on. It's quaint that you think we should just buy some nails and wood and raise the roofbeams Amish-style, but some of us don't wish to take a crippling insurance loss on our homes. We're waiting on inspecters and adjustors, (Flood, household, SBA...) and checks. Most of the affected have evacuated and are in dire financial straits. But I'll pass along your tip about Home Depot. That should help out a lot of folks.
Well, yeah, I actually thought it might.

I have always believed that the proper education of a well-raised boy should include framing a house, putting on a roof, stringing electric wire and completing a basic circuit. He should also be able to float drywall and pour a slab. Then, there is shooting and processing meat, growing a vegetable garden and cleaning fish. He should also be able to solve a quadratic equation and write a sonnet. Some might include piloting a small aircraft. There is no sense paying someone to do something you can do for yourself.

More importantly, and perhaps my barely passable writing skills need some work, I was asking where are the contractors that are based in New Orleans? If Texas contractors are there doing the work, then have the Lousiana contractors abandoned the field? I doubt it. They probably have more work than they can do for the next two years.

My son is in Lake Charles, roofing houses. The contractor he works for is local, but his crew is led by a roofer from Michigan who brought a helper with him. The crew is rounded out by two men from Oklahoma and two men from Louisiana. They are going to be gainfully employed for a long time. Why aren't the contractors from New Orleans doing the same thing?

Both of these guys took crippling losses. Both of these guys are without a home. Both of these guys are living in less than optimum conditions, yet the one in Southwest Louisiana is making plans for the future, while telling the world as gently as possible about the good people of Southwest Louisiana. The other is complaining about the lack of FEMA response, the lack of Federal funding, and his perception of President Bush and the Republican Congress.

I feel badly for both of these guys. They took a loss that would try many of us. They are both still on my blogroll and I will visit their work daily. I hope to visit with the both of them in person, eventually.

I personally don't think New Orleans will ever be the same, and as I mourn that fact, I wonder if it isn't for the best. New Orleans lost a hell of a lot, both in property and people during the Katrina episode and the unthinkable happened. I blogged about the worst case scenario back in June, and it fell on deaf ears. I'm blogging about it tonite. Katrina wasn't the worst-case scenario. Katrina was basically a near miss with a Cat 3 surge. If a Cat 4 or Cat 5 storm hits the area, the Big Easy will be decidedly screwed.

New Orleans is going to change, for better or for worse, and it seems to me that the folks that are left there had better decide quickly how much of the change are they going to influence and how much of the change are outsiders going to influence? It is time to get to work and start digging out. Sure, work with your insurance company, but don't wait for someone else to get the jump on you. The news cycle has passed you by and the face of New Orleans will be decided on the ground. Make what you will of it, or let someone else make of it what they will.

I'd hate to see it become something else. I'm not worried about the folks in Lake Charles. They're gonna be fine.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pawn Shop Cruising

I went back today to look at the .44 mag levergun I alluded to in the below post. I asked the counterman if he hadn't told me about a .44 lever?

"Yup" he said. "Sold it. You waited too long."

No matter. Turned out, it was a post-64 Winchester 94. Not SRC, just the 20" carbine. Nothing special at all about it. There will be others. He let it go for $250.00, which is more than I would have been willing to spend.

One of the benefits of crawling pawn shops is that you get some pretty good deals sometimes. Other times you miss out, which means you keep your hard-earned cash and wait for a better deal.

This isn't the best time to buy a gun, anyway. Anytime right after Christmas till the end of February, the pawn shops are going to load up with guns that folks need to sell to get through the winter. Maybe it seems like taking advantage of other folks misery, but I've been there, and didn't begrudge someone getting a good deal when I got the cash I needed.

I'll keep going to the pawn shops, but I'm probably not going to buy any firearms till after the New Year. Now is the time to be buying jewelry, which pleases Milady. Christmas is coming, after all.