Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Alloy hardness

When you start casting bullets, your alloy is an unknown quantity. As long as you are casting for black-powder, either muzzleloading or black powder cartridge, the hardness of the alloy isn't really an issue as long as it is soft. Pure lead is best, and if you don't have pure lead, then softer is better.

Most of this information is couched in subjective terms because a lot of what we do is subjective. We don't have the tools at our disposal to absolutely measure hardness, so we use broad generalities.

Lead hardness is subjective in itself. We use Brinell Hardness numbers or Saeco hardness numbers. Generally, pure lead runs about a 5.0 on the Brinell scale and wheelweights run from 9.0 to 15.0 (or so). Water-quenching the hot bullets right out of the mold will raise the hardness to 22.0 or thereabouts, and heat-treating the bullet will normally raise the hardness up to 28.0 or better. This all depends on the amount of antimony in your alloy. Most of us have no good way to test lead hardness. The LBT company used to make a good little tester, but they went out of business. Saeco makes a bullet tester, but the results are in Saeco units and most of us use Brinell hardness in normal correspondence.

So, a lot of our work is guess and test and we learn that generally we want hard bullets when we are driving them fast and soft bullets when we are driving them slow. That suits most of us, but there comes a time when we want to know what we are driving down our barrels. Thankfully, Lee Precision has come up with a way to test lead hardness and made it affordable.

PawPaw has ordered one for himself. Soon, I'll be able to test the hardness of alloy with some sort of accuracy. Then I can tailor the load for the bullet, or vice-versa. The guys over at the Cast Boolit forum say that this is a dandy little tester and I'm looking forward to wringing it out.

The very first bullet I am going to put on it is that (*&^ little Meister bullet (#RB-32-20) that is giving Junior and me such fits. I want to know how hard that little $%^&* is so we can get it to shoot.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

June 1st

Today is May 30th. Day after tomorrow is June 1st. The historic beginning of the huricane season and a reminder that the calendar waits for no one.

I find this article in the Washington Post and it describes the problems that caused the massive destruction in New Orleans. Those problems have not yet been fixed. Indeed, those problems have conspired against New Orleans in a way that the residents couldn't imagine this time last year.

As I type this there are no named storms lurking in the Atlantic. We who live with hurricanes on a yearly basis know that they normally form later in the season, with August and September being the prime months for hurricane activity.

To the residents of the Gulf Coast, my fondest wishes for no landfall hurricanes this season. Another bad storm on the Louisiana coast would be catastrophic. New Orleans isn't ready. Cameron and SW Louisiana are still reeling from Rita. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is still a disaster area. We don't need any bad storms this year. Yet God doesn't ask what we need. He sends His works in mysterious ways.

The year has turned and in two days we will be in the hurricane season. Be careful. Be Prepared.


Some mysteries will probably never be solved.

James R Hoffa was last seen in 1975. Any good search will dredge up thousands of articles about the man. Boss of the Teamsters, he was one of the last larger-than-life union bosses. He ruled with a strong hand and was not adverse to using violence as a means to an end. Then one day, while purportedly waiting to meet two gangsters, he just disappeared. From Yahoo! News, we learn:
Over the years, some have theorized that Hoffa was buried at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands; ground up and thrown into a Florida swamp; or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.
It seems the FBI is still running down leads, and for now the case remains open.

Regardless of where Hoffa's remains are located, one thing is sure. They weren't meant to be found. For his survivors, I am saddened that there is no closure for the loss. Yet, Jimmy Hoffa is enshrined in legend. He wanted to be remembered, and that wish, at least, has been granted.

Some mysteries should not be solved. Hat tip to Junior.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend. Nothing spectacular going on at PawPaw's house, because Milady is working tonite, so will sleep most of the day tomorrow, and because PawPaw has to work tomorrow. Milady and I will see each other in the afternoon.

If you're looking for maudlin reminiscing, go thee hither. Memorial day has always been one where I thank God for what I have and thank the men and women who made it possible for me to live in this great country. I will raise a glass tonight in the privacy of my backyard and I will toast absent friends. They know who they are.

This weekend also is the traditional first weekend of the summer season. I've spent most of the morning planning my summer project, a bath house for the back yard. Actually, a crapper in a shed, but a very nice shed. It'll be air-conditioned, with a linoleum floor, a shingled roof, and sheetrock walls. There will be a toilet, a sink, and lots of cabinets to store towels. There will be a convenient bench for sitting while changing, and there will be hooks on the wall to hang clothing. Metal siding on the exterior will compliment the package. Milady wants room for a refrigerator to store drinks and snacks. All my planning takes this into account.

This is phase two of the backyard makeover. Milady wants to install an inground pool and the bath house will keep guests (translate - grandkids) from traipsing across the household carpet with wet feet when they need to use the bathroom.

Phase three of the project is the swimming pool. Phase four will be decks or pavers to visually tie the whole project together. It's quite ambitious, but I'm excited about beginning. Lots of planning goes in to something like this but I'm certain it can be accomplished.

Enjoy your Memorial Day. Remember to raise a glass in toast to those who made it possible.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Range Day

I had planned a range day this morning, then children started calling, so I took the kids. My kids, you understand, are parents too, so it wasn't like watching a group of youngsters. You can click on the pictures for full-sized photos

Here is my eldest, piddling with the .243. This was the first time he fired this particular rifle, first time he had been shooting in over a year. Notice the poor benchrest technique, but the excellent safety technique. Eye and ear protection, and good trigger finger technique. I didn't have to coach him. Dads should be aware that good teaching techniques when they are younger translate to good gun-handling when they are older.

This is his target. You'll have to ask him why he didn't shoot at the center of the bullseye, as his POA is marked on the bottom of the target. I attribute the two distinct groups to his benchrest tchinque, but this is a hunting rifle and has an inexpensive scope along with a sporter weight barrel. Group size for all five shots is only 1.6 inches. I have the scope set for my old eyes to be 1 inch high at 100 yards. This is good hunting accuracy.

This is second son, shooting his heavy barreled 7mm Magnum. Just after this picture was taken, he was busted by the range officer for not wearing eye protection. This kid can shoot. I wouldn't want to be anywhere within 500 yards of him if he were shooting at me.

Here is his target. It measures just 0.475. He has a clipping in his wallet of a target shot last year that measures 0.405. He can do this with boring repitition.

My love affair with the 311041 continues. After the boys got finished with the scoped rifles, we moved the targets up to the 25 yard line for pistol work. I broke out the .30-30 and fired a couple of targets with reduced loads. I couldn't get the little Meister bullets to shoot worth a damn, but the 311041, gaschecked, with LLA (Lee Liquid Alox lube 10.4 grs Unique - - this is a very mild load) turned in a very respectable 1.6 inch group. I forgot the tripod, so we couldn't use the chronograph, but the recoil was virtually non-existent. It shoots below point of aim, but that is mitigated by knowledge of your firearm. I'm certain I could hit bottles with it at a reasonable range, and it is certainly easy to record the sight settings. The bullet was stable and accuracy was good. It is a fun load to shoot. It should be useful for teaching children to shoot, to step up from a .22 to a centerfire rifle. Note** I just realized I marked the target wrong. Lyman doesn't make a 411031 bullet. That should be 311041. I do notice that the holes are round and close together. That is what cast shooting is all about.

We finished up with a little pistol fun, shooting a 9mm pistol, a .45 ACP, and a .25 ACP. Here is my eldest getting a little 9mm goodness. All in all, it was a morning spent very well.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Take the Pledge

I see that Mayor Nagin is working on a comprehensive plan to bring New Orleans back. That's good. That's what we expect him to do. That's what he is paid to do. I am encouraged that he is bringing in a broad range of political opponents. I see Couhig and others who ran against him are included in the team.

My only question for the Mayor, indeed for any Mayor, is has he taken the pledge? You know, the pledge that he will never allow the police to take firearms from a law-abiding citizen? It is a very simple document. The .PDF file (you've been warned)on the pledge is here.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina saw some of the most egregious violations of civil rights that I have personally ever viewed. Fully compararable to the violations that I watched on the evening news as a boy in the '60s. The right to self-defense is one of the most basic of civil rights and when I saw Eddie Compass say that he was going to disarm New Orleans residents, I was appalled. The NOPD still has weapons in its care that were seized during the Katrina unpleasantness. This all happened under Mayor Nagin's watch. Now is the time to correct the impression that he is against lawful self-defense.

Mayor Nagin! Either you believe in civil rights, or you don't. We intend to make this pledge into a single-issue that can either haunt you, hurt you or help you. Either you are with us, or you are against us. Louisiana believes in the right to keep and bear arms. Now is the time to declare yourself Take the pledge!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Koran

Back a few months ago when the jumbled angst was tumbling across the internet over the degradation of the Koran, I stumbled over to the CAIR site and ordered one. Actually, they were giving them away, not unlike some other religions give away their bibles. No links, dammit. Google it yourself.

I figured that if they were spending money like water, I'd get one and see what all the fuss was about. No, I don't intend to read it. Just make them waste money on me.

On arrival, I noticed immediately that one urban myth was patently false. This thing is big. It is about 8.5 X 11 inches and weighs about four pounds. It is three inches thick. (no, I didn't measure it. All these are estimates.) However, there is no damned way you are going to flush this thing without serious damage to your septic pipes. That myth is bullshit.

I'm using it for a doorstop right now. Don't know what I'm going to do with it next, but reading it isn't in the plans. I might put it out by the barbeque and use a few pages at a time for tender when I'm lighting charcoal. I don't think it will affect the taste of pork ribs.

Legislative lunacy

Great Ceasar's Ghost, the Louisiana Senate just approved a bill mandating ethanol in gasoline sold in the state.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she will sign the legislation because it would give farmers a second market for their crops.
Yeah, okay. It gets better.
“This will spur our farm economy,” Blanco said. “I also think that in the long haul it can help with the price of gasoline.”
You want help with the price of gasoline, Governor? So do I. How about drilling for oil wherever it is found, including the coast of Florida and the ANWR?
Blanco counseled patience as the cost of producing ethanol increases the price of gasoline about half-a-dollar per gallon.
Patience? I'm about out of patience. Louisiana is cash-strapped, overtaxed and underpaid. Fifty cents a gallon is lot of money. For what? To give the farmers another market for grain they can't sell? Yet, there's more.
The legislation would entice businesses to build plants that would turn plant matter — such as, sugar cane, corn and soybeans — into an additive for gasoline called ethanol, she said. As more production facilities open and more ethanol becomes available, the price should go down, she said.
Governor, have you ever known the price of any commodity to go down over the long term? This is government meddling in the private sector. If it were a good idea, companies and investors would be lining up to produce ethanol. It is not economically sound or the market would take care of it.

You want to increase supply, Governor, how about immediately unshackling the regulations that deal with refineries? I can live with supply and demand, those are immutable forces that drive our economy.

This looks like another Bob Odom ploy to increase the power of the Agriculture department. Unfortunately, the Senate bought it.

When gas prices go up another fifty cents a gallon based on this lunacy, the Queen Bee best get ready for voter backlash the likes of which she has never seen. She thought it was bad during Katrina? Wait till this knuckleheaded law starts affecting the pocketbook of every Louisiana driver. This bill may well be the one that ends her political aspirations.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

At the Loading Bench

Tired of politics, looking for something I could control, I wandered out to my loading bench today. Junior had sent me a handful of the .312 Meister 117 grain bullets. Junior sized them to .309 and gave them a coating of Lee Liquid Alox (aka LLA, aka Frog Snot). It seems they are giving him fits, trying to get them to shoot. I had loaded a few in .30-30 cases over 4 grains of Bullseye. Paco Kelly suggested that load in this article. I'm hoping they shoot without leading. If so, I'm going to increase the charge a bit, to 4.7 grains. 4.7 grains of Bullseye is the load I use for .45 ACP with 230 grain cast bullets. Coincidentally, that load can be thrown by using a 1/2 cc measure. If I could find a cast rifle load that shot reasonably well, then I could use that load also for plinking, for letting the kids shoot, and for general fun and practice.

If you've never read Paco, he is one of the unheralded gurus of the lever action world. What that man has forgotten about cast bullets and lever guns is enough to fill volumes. His writing style is like sitting down and talking. Good stuff. I hope I get to meet him one day.

While I was at the bench, I started seating gas checks on a batch of 311041 bullets I had cast for the .30-30. I've only got a few of the .312 Meister bullets loaded because Junior said they leaded badly. But, they come in the door at about 4 cents apiece, already lubed. I have trouble making bullets that cheaply. If I can get them to shoot with a small charge of fast powder, we'll have learned something. And Junior will have to go buy some Bullseye.

When I go to the range on Saturday morning, I'll need something else to shoot, so I'm thinking about Paco's advice with that 311041 and the advise in the Lyman Cast Bullet handbook. I think I'll load some of those with Unique and see what happens. I'm thinking 10 or 11 grains of Unique ought to be fun. They don't lead at all with my load of 27 grains of S4895, so a moderate load of Unique ought to give me a plinking load.

I guess I should load a few of those while I'm at it, with my load of 27.0/4895 and run them over the chronograph. I still don't know what velocity that load produces, and as it is accurate, I should really know the speed of the bullet.

The thing about cast bullets is you never really learn it all. We're getting better at shooting them and the guys in the Cast Bullet Association are pushing the limit of speed and accuracy. Still, there is a lot of experimentation to do and it is a heck of a lot of fun.


I hear Madonna has a new concert out. A musical rebellion against contemporary thought and traditional icons that should shock the religious establishment. Yawn!

Nothing new here. The pop-singer who helped make slutty a mainstream phenomenum, then dropped out to have children, then got all Mommy and didn't want her children exposed to such filth, has come out as a tramp again. How predictable.

She tries to explore sexual taboos? There are none. We explored all those years ago. It's all old stuff. Been there, done that.

Here's the deal, guys. Make fun of Christianity all you like. No one cares. Those of us who believe in Jesus will ignore you, try to dissuade others not to see the performance, or pray for the salvation of your mortal soul. We won't kidnap you, shoot you, or behead you. We won't order our mindless minions to hunt you down and stick knives in you. We've progressed beyond that. There is no risk in mocking Christ, at least in the earthly realm. If my faith is correct, you may have some explaining to do when you pass into the next realm, but that is between you and He.

If you want to make a difference, make a bold statement, experience the rush of risky art, make fun of another religion that comes steakingly to mind. Climb your skanky ass up on a crescent and experience true risk. Show videos of Muhammed doing a hamster dance. That is risk.

Madonna probably doesn't have the cojones for true risk. Tired,washed up, artistically depleted. Trots out the same old canards and calls it art. Yeah, right.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Not the play, the nitwit who tried to pass himself off as an Army Ranger.

Milbloggers have successfully debunked him and revealed him to have no service record at all. The Iraq Vets Against War (IVAW) have disavowed him. There is some evidence that outstanding warrants exist for his arrest. Jesse MacBeth ain't having a real good day, but he brought it on himself.

There are always fools who want to pretend, who want to be important, who want to represent something they know nothing about. The internet will see right through them. Left-wing, right-wing, it doesn't matter. If you want to get hammered, start putting bullshit up on the 'net. Today, it is unbelievable easy to fact-check your ass, and we'll do it in a second.

Reminds me of a story. Once upon a time, Pawpaw had to hire a fellow and on his application, the young man claimed to have been a submariner. He talked a good game, and I walked him down the hall where I had a trusted employee who had spent multiple years in the submarine service. I sat the young wannabee down and left him with the veteran.

When I came back in fifteen minutes, the wannabee was gone. The old veteran said, "Sumbitch ain't never been on a submarine. Didn't know the first thing about one. He couldn't tell me where he posted for General Quarters. I ran his ass off for lying."

It looks like Jesse MacBeth has had his ass run off for lying, too.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Disjointed thoughts

I've had a night to think about it, and I admit I have mixed feelings about Nagin and the process that put him in power. One part of the process I have mixed feelings about is highlighted by John Hood (no link) in comments:
Was Nagin a racist?Really, most conservatives that knew Nagin forgave him for that infamous comment. Its Nagin's mouth slipping and he doesnt have a racist bone in his body in my view. The "Chocalte City" comments is not enough for conservatives to continue to put a Morial like machine in power.
Why is the culture of politics such that we forgive black politicians for racist remarks but some dumb redneck like me who might drop a racist remark is forever branded? It's a double standard folks, and the argument just doesn't hold water. Racism is racism in any form.

I notice that not only did Nagin win, but Landrieu lost. Some bloggers have commented that this leaves Landrieu open to focus on the Governors race next year. If Mitch Landrieu can't get elected Mayor in his own hometown, then what makes anyone think that he can get elected governor in a statewide race?

Some folks claim that even after Katrina, Nagin is still the reform candidate. Stacked against Mitch Landrieu, I guess so. Still, it is a matter of perspective.

Some folks have even been commenting that the Nagin victory may have cost Louisiana a Democratic Senator. It'll be interesting to see that prediction work out.

Anyway, enough of politics for a while. Nagin is mayor, and the people have spoken. Democracy at work is a wonderful thing. It's like stand-up comedy, but you don't have to pay a cover charge.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

While I was gone for the weekend

New Orleans re-elected Ray Nagin. Only in Louisiana could something like this happen. Only in New Orleans could the man who presided over the worst natural disaster to ever befall the city; the man who let hundreds of buses drown while his residents also drowned; the man who used racist remarks during the Festival aftermath; the man who doesn't have a plan for rebuilding his city; only in New Orleans would that man be re-elected. It is simply fucking amazing.

What is even more amazing is that the voters let it happen. Not only that, they conspired in the result. His challenger, Mitch Landrieu, couldn't put together a coalition to defeat a man like Nagin and was defeated. The final tally was something like 52%-48% of 113,000 votes, so Nagin can't claim he has a mandate.

Machiavelli would be proud of New Orleans. The Republicans backed Nagin because anything Landrieu is not acceptable. However, the Republican power brokers will hold Nagin up as an example of Democrat incompetence. The voters of New Orleans didn't see through that little scheme. Business backed Nagin because they thought they'd get a better shake than Landrieu would give them. The voters bought that one too. The voters of New Orleans were bought like sheep for this election, and they let it happen. Simply fucking amazing.

Ironically, the black power brokers who backed Nagin were originally empowered by Landrieu's daddy, Moon, who successfully put together a black coalition to become mayor. It was Moon the father who put together the coalitions that defeated Mitch the son. Along with a healthy dollop of Republican money and business interests.

I hope Nagin has a plan, because New Orleans is going to need one. In the broad national scheme of things, the voters of New Orleans just showed everyone that they could be lead blindly into voting for the man who presided over the destruction of their city. The voters of New Orleans just trivialized themselves in the minds of most of the nation. They wanted Ray Nagin and those of us who aren't shocked are laughing.

What a shame. What a damned shame.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Harrison-Temple-Stephens update

I see today in the Baton Rouge Advocate that the Grand Jury decided that no one is to be charged in the Temple shooting.

You might remember me convering this one.
A grand jury Thursday decided against charging anyone in the death of motorist George Temple II, shot and killed by a civilian Feb. 17 while fighting with a police officer.

Prosecutors presented about 15 witnesses during six hours of testimony before the East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury.
No one charged in the shooting. I suppose not. No one did any thing wrong, except George Temple, who resisted arrest, was beating an officer, and was shot by a stout-hearted citizen.

Of course, Temple's momma is upset and the family lawyer is still confident that someone will be held accountable. Looks to me like Temple is accountable and everyone else has been ruled justifiable.

Father of the Groom

I'm the father of the goom, which traditionally would make me a non-participant. Because of the unique circumstances of this wedding we are all pitching in to give the kids a good party after the ceremony.

The wedding is tomorrow. Commencing today at about 3:00 p.m. CDT, the preparations slip into overdrive. What has been only rationally insane will become totally irrationally hyperactive. Think terrier on meth. The women are fully in charge and committed to the process, so the menfolk have little left to do but haul and tote and follow orders blindly. They will be obeyed.

Tomorrow morning, I probably won't even have time to stop by the Cripple for Saturday Boobage. When I am so busy I can't stop by Denny's place on a Saturday morning, I am also too busy to blog.

To my loyal half-dozen readers, I beg indulgence this weekend. It's gonna be a hell of a ride.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Andouille and Tasso

This guy was asking about andouille (ahn-do'-ee) and tasso in comments. I had to think about that one a little bit, especially as he was asking how andouille compares to kielbasa.

They're both sausage, but andouille is a coarse ground sausage. Some folks don't grind the meat in andouille, they chop it very fine. Andouille is a cajun sausage and the spices are familiar to the cajun palate. Not overpowering, but complex and flavorful. You can buy andouille online here.

Tasso is a smoked pork product. Made from a pork roast or tenderloin, it is spiced heavily with pepper and smoked, almost to the point of becoming jerky. Tasso is chopped and used to season beans, or fried lightly and served with eggs. Milady uses tasso quite a bit in her cooking, when she wants a little more spice than ham or sausage will give you. Chop a chunk of tasso and put it in a pot of beans and you can smell the smoke flavor coming out of the pot. The link above will let you order tasso as well.

Explaining andouille and tasso is difficult if you have no frame of reference. Expaining the difference is easy when you stand over a pot of beans or gumbo. Damn, that's good!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I've got to make a big jambalaya for Saturday. My son specifically asked that my jambalaya appear (as if by magic) at his wedding on Saturday afternoon. Tomorrow and Friday are going to be busy, so tonite, just a minute ago, I lit the burner on the fish fryer and put chickens on to boil.

Four chickens tonite, boiled, cooled, boned, and bagged for the freezer. Tomorrow night I'll cut up some sausage and sautee it. Saturday morning, I'll sautee onions and bellpeppers, add rice and chicken stock and slide it all in the oven till the rice is tender. It ought to be enough to serve sixty people, along with all the other food that is going to be there.

I just went out and checked them and the water is starting a low roll. I'll give it another ten minutes, adjust the heat to maintain that low roll and let them cook for an hour. Then take them out of the water, let them cool in the night air, then peel the meat off the bones.

My basic jambalaya recipe is one chicken, boiled and boned, one pound of smoked sausage, or good andouille, one big yellow onion, two bellpeppers and two cups of rice. Salt and pepper to taste, Tabasco on the side. This is soul food for the Cajun soul, and my son is marrying a Florida native. We had her family up for a couchon de lait in January and now it is time to introduce them to jambalaya.

I'll be glad when this wedding is over. It seems that everyone is involved in some part of it, and each part affects every other part. I'm glad for the young couple. They seem to truly be a match. Still, I can breathe easier sometime Sunday when everything is back home and put away.


Last night I had to go to the store to restock the liquor cabinet. I needed some whiskey, rum, and bourbon. I also picked up some champagne for my son's upcoming nuptials.

I waslked over to the bourbon aisle, and found something that always manages to piss me off. Jack Daniels. While Jack is good hooch, it isn't bourbon. It is sour mash whiskey. WHen I want bourbon, By God, I want bourbon. Bourbon is made in Kentucky. Look for Upton County, Frankfort, or Bardstown on the label. Jim Beam, Evan Williams and a host of other brands are good Kentucky Bourbon. Then there is the bad bourbon. We're not going to talk about those.

I found a new one last night. Benchmark bourbon. It's a buck cheaper per bottle than the Evan Williams I usually buy. When I got home, I made one with a couple of rocks and tried it. That is good hooch. It has that bourbion bite at the back of your tongue, but the bite isn't rough. Good flavor, it goes down easy. It should be good sipping bourbon or good with a mixer.

If you see a bottle, give it a try.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Guard on the border

I've been reading the blogs lately about putting Guradsmen on the border and I started doing a little research. Wikipedia tells us the US-Mexican border is 1951 miles long. We'll use that as a planning figure. If you want Guardsmen to watch the border, you have to assume that they will use standard infantry companies, or a reasonable facsimile to do that, so some basic math ought to give us the manpower requirements.

Current doctrine says that a rifle platoon can observe and control 750 meters of the FEBA under ideal conditions. That infantry commander will probably adopt a two-up, one back configuration so that the soldiers on the line can rotate out, rest and re-equip regularly. With two platoons forward, assuming ideal conditions, we can assume that a rifle company can control 1500 meters of FEBA.

A mile is 1609 meters. The whole border is something over 3.1 million meters. Divide 3.1 million times the 1500 meters that an infantry company can handle, and we learn that it will take 2067 Infantry companies to secure the southern border, from end to end. Depending on the TOE, there is something like 48 rifle companies in a division. (4 brigades, three battalions each, four companies each.) It'll take 43 divisions, linked shoulder to shoulder to secure the southern border. We don't have 43 divisons.

I retired from the LA National Guard in 1999. This plan is a smokescreen for something else. We don't have the manpower to immediately secure the border.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Free association election thoughts - Nagin vs. Landrieu

Warning. Disconnected thoughts rampage through this post.

The good people of the city of New Orleans are in the last days of a mayoral election. The choice boils down to two horses: Ray (chocolate city) Nagin and Mitch (old political family) Landrieu. The political analysis is fast and furious. As is the campaigning.

One on side, we have the Oyster, who is debating heavily that Landrieu should be the choice. He seems appalled that the Republicans seem to be backing Nagin financially while running him down in the rest of the state.

On the other hand, we have those who discount Landrieu because he came from old money, a political dynasty and because he represents the Democrat party. Jeff Crouere intimates that Landrieu has the upper hand right now, both in momentum and financing, and that the election is Landrieu's to lose. Crouere reports that Nagin raised a cool half-million on a recent fundraising effort in Chicago.
To show how desperate Nagin is for donations, the Mayor had to travel to Chicago to replenish his dwindling war chest. Nagin raised $500K on his Chicago trip, but some questioned the appropriateness of out-of-town donors influencing a New Orleans race. While Nagin might have lost support among top donors in New Orleans, he certainly is popular among major players in Chicago. But, if he wins, he will not be their Mayor, he will still be Mayor of New Orleans, a city where the major political players have looked at Nagin and determined they don’t want to see another four years of his “maverick” leadership.
It sounds like it is going to be an interesting week.

I don't like Landrieu, not that I know anything about the man, but I abhor his sister, politically, and if we use the analogy that an apple doesn't fall far from the tree, then the analogy should hold that two apples falling from the same tree are in pretty much the same place. I am realistic enough to apply that lesson to my own siblings and know that it doesn't hold much water. I am the eldest of seven. I am staunchly conservative. My youngest sister (who recently turned 40) is staunchly progressive. I chalk that up to her having been the youngest, and getting her way constantly. I digress.

Landrieu might be okay as mayor. He hasn't really screwed up as Lieutenant Governor, not in any huge manner. He did spend almost a million redecorating his office. I hope it was in good taste.

I wouldn't vote for a Landrieu if he were the Annointed of God, and he had feathered angels as poll watchers. I couldn't vote for Nagin and hold my lunch down for a week. Either choice is unappetizing, and unappealing. Luckily, I don't get to vote in this election. I'm not registered in the New Orleans precincts. (which hasn't proven to be a hindrance to voting, sometimes, but I digress again). I think Landrieu would be a better choice than Nagin, but I couldn't bring myself to pull the lever for him.

Take heart, Oyster. I believe Landrieu is going to win this one. I can't vote against the man, so that is one vote you don't have to worry about.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I was reading a thread over on the Cast Boolits forum talking about smelting lead.

Cast bullet shooters get their lead from a variety of sources, including roofing fixtures, medical waste, telecommunication waste, and plumbing waste. We are recylers of the highest order. Old sheathing from an x-ray room remodel? Throw it in the pot. Cable sheathing found on the side of the road? It goes in the pot. Hurricane damaged roof flashing? Oh, yeah, it goes in the pot too. By far, the biggest source of lead bullet material is wheelweights. Those little clips they use to balance the wheels on your car. Wheelweights are made of lead, with some tin and antimony. They are hard lead, and great for making bullets. They are also very inexpensive, even free when a dedicated scrounger is on the hunt.

One well-known bullet caster once said "If it looks plumbous, I'm apt to make bullets with it."

Turning scrap lead into something useful requires melting it. Often in large quantities. This is easily done on a propane burner, your turkey fryer will work just fine. You can also use a Coleman stove, but you have to be aware that you are melting metal at very high temperatures. Safety is absolutely required. One little slip and you will enter the ranks of the severely burned.

In my second or third article for The Frugal Outdoosman, I covered bullet making safety. The same rules apply, so let's review them.
WARNING Casting bullets is dangerous. In addition to the dangers inherent in working with molten metal, lead is known to cause birth defects and cancer. Work outside or exhaust fumes to the outside. Wear safety goggles or glasses. Wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking. Never allow liquids near casting area.
Never allow liquids near the casting area.

When we smelt scrap lead, those same rules apply. Get outside. Wear protective clothing, including eyewear. A pair of safety glasses costs about $5.00 down at the hardware store. What are your eyes worth? While you're there, pick up some gloves. Stand upwind of the fumes. Gather all your materials and equipment and keep the kids away. No playing, no alcohol while smelting. Someone could get hurt. Badly.

What we want to do is melt scrap lead and turn it into something useful. We need molds to pour the molten lead into. I use a variety of ingot molds. I have three of them depending on the type lead I am smelting. Pure soft lead goes into a square ingot mold. Wheelweights go into a discarded cornbread stick mold. Alloy goes into a specialty mold I picked up at a garage sale.

Water is your enemy. Lead melts at something around 620 degrees Farenheit. Water boils at 212 degrees. When water is introduced to molten lead it flashes to steam with explosive force and expands dramatically. That instant steam rises. One drop of water in a pot of metal will empty most of the pot of molten lead in a violent splash. Let's look at a picture taken at my house, in November 2004. You can click on it to view the full size photo.

In this photo, I had my smelting equipment set up on my driveway and was melting wheelweights for bullets. I had already melted some pure lead flashing and wanted to render the wheelweights to make some alloy. I filled the pot with raw wheelweights and let them melt, skimming the steel clips.

Unbeknownst to me, those wheelweights had recently been moistened inadvertently in a rainstorm. When I initially loaded the pot, everything was cool and as the scrap heated, the moisture evaporated off the metal. When I skimmed the steel clips, I decided to add some more raw wheelweights. When I dropped the first one in the pot, it exploded. Evidently, the wheelweight I dropped in the pot had some moisture on it, probably under the clip. As the wheelweight entered the molten metal, it fell toward the bottom of the pot and the moisture flashed to steam. The pot erupted, scattering molten lead across my driveway. I've included a measuring tape in the photo for scale. Most of the splash was confined to a three foot area directly adjacent to the pot. Later, while cleaning up, I found splashed droplets of lead as far as six feet from the pot. Any one of those small missiles could have caused excruciating pain and disfiguring injury. At the time of the accident, I was wearing safety glasses, a long sleeved flannel shirt and a baseball cap. I was not injured, but only by the Grace of God. My hand was within inches of the pot, as I was dropping metal into it.

Casting bullets is a wonderful way to turn scrap into useful material. It is a hobby that has given me years of enjoyment, relaxation, and education. Primitive metallurgy takes us back to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and makes us more self-reliant. It is a magnificent hobby. Practice it, learn, explore, but be careful.

Update** A reader found an upwind/downwind error in the article. Good Catch! I fixed it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Range report

I went out and shot the 311041 bullets through the Winchester 94 today. Results were fairly disappointing, yet illuminating. The bullets were all treated alike, lubed with Lee Liquid Alox, gas checked, sized to 0.309, then lubed again. The brass was prepped by neck-sizing, trimming, flaring and cleaning primer pockets. I primed the brass with Winchester large rifle primers and loaded them with surplus IMR 4895 powder. I was shooting off the bench, with iron sights at 50 yards. The results are below.

311041 results- Win 94- 05/13/06
Surplus IMR 48955 shot4 shot
25.0 grs 3.7"n/a
25.5 grs3.1"n/a
26.0 grs4.0"n/a
26.5 grs3.4"2.2"
27.0 grs2.4"1.6"
27.5 grs5.0"n/a

I included a 4 shot and a 5 shot measurement to take flyers into consideration. The two groups where I gave a 4 shot measurement, the flyer was obviously outside the group. With the other targets, they were uniform in distribution. Flyers will make a good man cuss.

It looks like with my alloy, the 311041 likes 27.0 grains of 4895. This is a load I can count on. The sights on the Winchester subtend about 4 inches at that distance, so it is shooting into the front sight.

I finished the day by shooting my service pistol, a Kimber custom. It still shoots reliable into 3 inches at 25 yards. Not great by any means, but not shabby, either. I burned 150 rounds of ammunition, the last hundred by cranking off seven shots as quickly as I could. I was able to keep all the shots on an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper at 25 yards. That is okay for service accuracy and will help my score when we qualify next month. Now I have to reload all that brass.

Y'all have a great weekend.

Update: Junior is my editor and found some nomenclature problems. They've been resolved. Thanks, Junior!

Government Records

Once, back in my Parole days, there was a piddling criminal who had committed a piddling offense. He was sentenced to a year in the pen, and had served about six months, then came out on parole. He did his parole successfully and was released. We'll call him Ben. The State of Louisiana, in its wisdom and common practice, gave Ben a First Offender Pardon. A Go-Forth-And-Sin-No-More document that allowed him to get on with his life.

As is also the practice, his case-file was put in a room that contained thousands of closed files and we went on with our work. Ben wasn't on our radar any more. While he had his pardon, it didn't increase his IQ any. Ben wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree.

Once a year, Ben showed up at the office, and asked to talk with me. After several years, when I heard Ben was in the lobby, I'd go to the closed files and pull his records. He wanted another copy of his pardon. I'd make him a copy and he'd be gone for another year. This went on for eight or ten years.

One morning, Ben showed up at the office with a document in his hands. Ben had been a law-abiding citizen for many years and had a court order, an expungement order, that ordered me to destroy all records pertaining to Ben. I invited him into the records room, pulled his file and let him watch while I ran his file through a shredder. Ben was thrilled. I kept a copy of the expungement order and let Ben go whistling off into his life. I dropped the expungement order in a file we kept for that purpose.

Next year, Ben showed up in the office again. "Mr. D. I need a copy of my pardon."

"Can't do it, Ben, those records have been destroyed. You brought me an order and I destoyed them in your presence. Remember?"

A look of grief crossed Ben's face. "But I need a copy of that pardon for a job application."

"Ben" I explained it once again. "You remember last year when you brought me the Court Order that the judge signed, ordering me to destroy your records? You remember standing beside me when I dropped your file into the shredder? You want a copy of the expungement order? I still have that, but otherwise, I did just what you wanted me to do."

Ben dropped his head. "Oh, hell!"

Sometimes, having records in a file room is a good thing.

The NSA program

It seems there is a newly-found NSA program that has everyone in a hissy fit.

Michelle Malkin talks about it at Hot Air, and other folks are up in arms about it. SayUncle is pissed off. Okay. It's all right to get pissed off.

Dudes! Chill! It's okay. BellSouth, Verizon, and AT&T have been sending copies of the phone bill. They're not collecting conversations, they're collecting numbers. Who's calling who?

Let's say your wife is suspicious that you are fooling around. She grabs your cell phone bill when it comes in and runs down the numbers called. One number pops up really frequently. She jots down the number and calls it. Turns out, it's a travel agency that you have been calling, booking a romantic getaway for your tenth anniversary. She feels like an idiot and knows you love her.

On the other hand, the number that pops up frequently ain't a travel agency, it's your girlfriend. She adds 2+2 and gets 4. You're busted.

Now, on a more national note, suppose that you're an aspiring terrorist. Your activities come to the attention of and they pull your phone bills. Who's calling who? If you're talking to Abdul the Bomb Maker, the .gov has an interest in that. Even if the call is inocuous enough that you and he are just exchanging falafel recipes, they know you are talking to a terrorist. It's information that can be used in the war on terror. Simple investigation can separate the sheep from the goats. We do that all the time in police work.

We're at war, folks. Let's not forget that. Ole Imadinnerjacket in Iran has recently written us a letter telling us that God is going to destroy our culture, and that Islam will be the force He uses. The good folks at the NSA are trying to make sure his aspirations take it up the wazoo. They're not interested in you talking to your girlfriend.

Oh, and while I'm at it. If you're cheating on your wife, stop it. It ain't good. Nothing good comes from marital infidelity. If you're talking to Abdul the Bomb maker, know that the .gov has a legitimate interest in that. I mean, conspirators are getting life now, right?

**UPDATE** Blogger doesn't support trackbacks, evidently, so the link to Malkin's post is here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Guard on the Borders.

I was watching NBC tonight and saw where President Bush is going to put National Guard troops on the southern border.

It's about damned time. Looks like he is finally throwing us a bone. Now, if he'll just deport all the illegals. They can get in line over there to come here. We can worry about citizenship later.

Friday wrap-up

It was a busy week, and slow in the blogging hobby. I didn't play with guns much this week, concentrating on family and other duties. I did load some cast bullet loads tonight for the .30-30.

When working up a load, you have to make changes. But you make them one at a time, and evaluate your change of a single item. The poor groups I was getting with the 311041 was based on a mold that wasn't thoroughly prepped. The bullets were coming out at different weights. I looked at the mold and saw daylight between the halves, so I took out some needle files and cleaned the face of the mold, eliminating all the burrs. When the mold was closing properly I cast some bullets with good results. They were averaging 178.6 grains, with an SD of 0.9 grains.

I lubed a buncb of them, seated gas checks, and sized them to 0.309. Then I lubed them again. While they were drying, I prepped brass. Trimmed it, expanded it, cleaned primer pockets, seated new primers and got ready for loading.

Tonite, I duplicated the load that gave me such poor performance. 25 gains of surplus 4895, but wth more uniform bullets. Then I adjusted the measure and loaded the same load with 25.5 grains, 26.0 grains, 26.5 grains, 27.0 grains, and 27.5 grains of the same powder. FIve rounds of each in half grain increments. I should find one load that shoots like I want it to shoot.

Then I loaded everthing in the truck, along with my 1911 and a couple of hundred rounds of .45 ACP. Tomorrow is a range day. I'm looking forward to a little trigger time.

Defend the Pork

Who elected those nitwits in the Senate? We did! And we can unelect them if they keep this up.
Need proof of how pork-addicted Congress has become? Consider this: Some in the Senate are looking for ways to shift funds from the troops in Iraq to some of their favorite pet projects.
At risk is the $94.4 supplemental spending bill President Bush requested from Congress to provide $92 billion for hurricane relief and the troops in Iraq, and $2.4 billion for avian flu response. Despite his warning that anything more would be vetoed, several senators abused the legislation's must-pass status to add $14 billion in wasteful pork-barrel goodies for influential constituents, labor unions and corporations.
The Senate is so addicted to pork that they have no concern at all about an Islamic takeover of that chamber. The smell of bacon alone is enough to send a jihadi running.
Included in the Senate's bill was $700 million to move a railroad line to help develop condos and casinos along Mississippi's damaged coast, $500 million to repair a shipyard, $4 billion to farmers (on top of the $25 billion they're already getting this year), $594 million for highways, $1.1 billion for the fishing industry and $20 million for AmeriCorps.
As an aide to Sen. Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, described the plan, the conferees could avoid painful choices and still meet the president's $94.4 billion limit by simply applying an across-the-board cut to the Senate version. With the Senate wanting $108.9 billion, an across-the-board cut of 13.2 percent would be required to bring the Senate's plan into line with the president's target.
Oh, yeah! Cut everything across the board to keep the pork in the budget! That's a wonderful idea.

Ttrent Lott of Mississippi wants $700 million to move a railroad line that we just repaired after Katrina. I drove across that line last weekend, and trains were running on it, bringing much needed supplies and commerce to the Gulf Coast. Yeah, they'd like to develop condos and casinos. Land is easy to find on the coast right now. Lots of For Sale signs along the coast. There is no shortage of salable land. This earmark is pure pork, along with the money for farmers, and the shipyard repair money. Pork everywhere.

This is my own party. The small government party. The responsible party. The conservative party. The Stupid Party. Between pork and immigraiton, these nitwits have lost me, along with most of the rest of their base. They have igoned the mandate they were given and have become unresponsive to the people. Damn them.

Hat tip to the Rottweiler.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hacked again

I see Aaron has been hacked again, by some lizard that calls himself 020.

Evidently, Aaron pissed off some folks, some Islamists, by defending the right of free speech. They are hacking him so regularly now that it has become almost monotonous. Monotony, of course, is what we expect from fundamental Islam. Monotony of thought, monotony of speech, monotony of experience. Everything in Islam is forbidden unless it is expressly allowed. I suppose that would be the most monotonous experience imaginable. No wonder the jihadis are so excited about becoming a martyr. Almost anything is preferable to living under Islam on this planet.

By hacking him, they lose the argument. Hacking is a violation of free speech and reflects the hate and lack of intellectual rigor that their arguments possess. It is a cowardly manner of silencing dissent, of refusing to let other viewpoints be heard.

The act of hacking a dissident site is illuminative of the free speech practiced in many parts of the Islamic world. It should serve as a powerful reminder of what we are fighting and remind us all that the battlefield is here too. We must defeat fundamental Islamists wherever they show themselves. The price of defeat is too high.

Barrier Reef

Why hasn't anyone floated the idea of a barrier reef for the Louisiana coastline. We certainly have enough debris. Like destroyed school buses. Drain the fluids, take them offshore and dump them. Or refrigerators. Recover the freon, take them offshore and dump them. Building materials. Same deal. Destroyed houses. Same deal. Take it offshore and heave it overboard.

I bet we have enough debris in this state right now to construct a barrier reef from Sabine Pass to the Pearl River. From what little I know about barrier reefs, they slow down wave action, let the coastline stabilize and protect the coast from storms.

Okay, this is probably a bone-headed idea. Someone educate me on why it isn't feasible.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Iranian Letter

I have just finished reading the letter from the President of Iran to the President of the United States. What a revealing document.

He spends a good deal of time airing the Palestinian greivances and states that
Young people, university students and ordinary people have many questions about the phenomenon of Israel. I am sure you are familiar with some of them. Throughout history many countries have been occupied, but I think the establishment of a new country with a new people, is a new phenomenon that is exclusive to our times. Students are saying that sixty years ago such a country did no exist. The show old documents and globes and say try as we have, we have not been able to find a country named Israel.

I tell them to study the history of WWI and II. One of my students told me that during WWII, which more than tens of millions of people perished in, news about the war, was quickly disseminated by the warring parties. Each touted their victories and the most recent battlefront defeat of the other party. After the war, they claimed that six million Jews had been killed. Six million people that were surely related to at least two million families.

Again let us assume that these events are true. Does that logically translate into the establishment of the state of Israel in the Middle East or support for such a state? How can this phenomenon be rationalised or explained?
Interesting. He intends to destroy Israel. He sees his work as the hand of God.

I read this letter as a statement of intent. As a declaration of purpose. It is well written, carefully crafted to a specific purpose. It lays out a series of greivances and a reliance on the Almighty to achieve a purpose. Then it lays out the purpose.
Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic

We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point – that is the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is: “Do you not want to join them?”

Mr President,

Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.
He intends that God will take us down too.

Who's Border Patrol

Michelle Malkin is all over this.

It turns out that our Border Patrol is telling the Mexican government about Minuteman activities on our southern border. We learn from the Ontario, CA Daily Bulletin:
While Minuteman civilian patrols are keeping an eye out for illegal border crossers, the U.S. Border Patrol is keeping an eye out for Minutemen -- and telling the Mexican government where they are.
According to three documents on the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Web site, the U.S. Border Patrol is to notify the Mexican government as to the location of Minutemen and other civilian border patrol groups when they participate in apprehending illegal immigrants -- and if and when violence is used against border crossers.
That frosts my oversized butt. Bush had better put an end to this immediately, or I am going to join those calling for his ouster. Sharing intelligence about American citizens with an arguably hostile government could be construed as treason.

I'm having an RCOB moment.

A local problem

One of the lessons I took away from our Biloxi trip are that hurricanes are a local problem. The solution is pretty much a local solution.

At the end of any natural disaster, whether it is fire, or earthquake, tornado, or hurricane, the folks who own the property are those most invested in the solution. The clean-up comes down to whoever is left, whoever is available to haul away debris and begin the rebuilding. That isn't to say that government doesn't have a part of the solution, but the major work is done by the people left standing on the ground.

Let's say you own a business, a restaurant. It is a thriving concern, employing fifty people. It is on a bay that gets hit with a huge storm surge. After the storm, it looks like this: That building is worthless. Ruined. And it is your problem. You have insurance, no doubt, and the land that the building sits on has value. It is waterfront property, which always has value, but the value is diminished after the storm.

As a property owner, you have a couple of choices. 1) Take the insurance money and rebuild. 2) Take the insurance money and cut your losses, sell the property at a residual value. Find something else to do for a living.

Does the government have a role in the rebuilding? Sure. Absolutely. The government has an interest in restoring infrastructure, getting power and water and roads back to normal. Rebuilding bridges so that commerce can commence. Local leadership has to restore the assets that allow the commerce to rebuild.

But the power to rebuild or not stays with the land owners. Property ownership is a powerful economic incentive to act in your own best interest. Even when a property owner decides to sell at a loss, the new owner has an economic interest in the property, and he picked it up for a song. The new owner buys a blighted property with full knowledge that it may be a year or two before the bridges are rebuilt, before the economy is restored. That all factors into the buy decision and the selling price of the property.

Initially, when the wind stops blowing and the rains quit, the guy with a bulldozer is the king of the economic jungle. He is in demand. Anyone who owns a bulldozer and backhoe is fully employed. He can set his own rates and pick his jobs. That guy's influence will diminish over time, as the debris is cleared away, and the people who know how to work concrete, or carpentery, or brick masonry will come into their own. They will be fully employed for a time, then the other industries will have their place in the sun.

The one thing the economy does not need is the welfare dependents. Those folks are a drain on a disaster economy. Government should be fully engaged in restoring services and infrastucture to the producing economy. The welfare drains, those without skills or knowledge or the willingness to work are not necessary to the vitality of rebuilding. They are better off in Atlanta, or Houston, or somewhere else that can provide for them.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Driveway to Nowhere

We're back from Biloxi, where Milady and I had a thoroughly refreshing experience. Sobering, yet refreshing.

This is a Google Earth shot of the place we were staying in Biloxi. The Isle of Capri Casino is most easily identified by the blue roof in the bottom center of the photo. That blue roof is their parking garage. You can click on the pictures for a larger view.

This shot is taken from the hotel, to the north-northeast. Notice the driveways from the highway, leading to nothing. Total devastation.

The destroyed bridge in this photo is the bridge crossing the bay. That is US Hwy 90, the main east-west route along the Gulf. Totally destroyed. Every slab of concrete was knocked off the bridge and into the Gulf waters. These scenes repeat themselves all along the coast.

One thing that I noticed was the resilience of the people. At those spots where people intend to remain, there would be the driveway, a pile of debris, a clean slab, and a travel trailer parked on the slab. People living on their land, covering their ground. The travel trailers were often the ubiquitous FEMAtorium's, or less often, a private brand trailer with slide-outs. Either way, those people were home. Starting over, making life better.

I was struck by the difference that a couple of feet elevation made, or the difference that might be caused by the height of a house. The structures close to the shore were hit hard. The structures in the next block were hit less hard. The stuctures four blocks away were pretty much okay.

These two houses were about a block from the Gulf. The brown house on the right was damaged severely. Notice the travel trailer parked out back. The white house in the trees behind it had some superficial damage. When we stopped to snap this photo we noticed that the white house is inhabited, and people were moving around in the yard. The difference of four of five feet elevation and the shelter of the trees made a world of difference.

It'll take me a while to think about what I have seen and the lessons I should draw from it. I went to Biloxi with some preconcieved notions and came away with an altered understanding. I went thinking that I knew, and came away knowing that I can think.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New Orleans inside scoop

The Oyster is my ears and eyes in New Orleans. He and I don't look at things with the same perspective. He is left-leaning progressive and I am right-leaning conservative. He is insane Democrat, and I am Republican. I've learned to listen to his coherent thoughts although his rants sometimes leave me depressed.

It's funny, my best friend in the whole world is a Democrat. My wife is a Democrat, and the Oyster is a Democrat. I'm having trouble leading any of the three of them into the light.

Yet, the boy has the scoop on the New Orleans mayoral race, and if you want to see what the townsfolk are thinking, you ought to ride on over. In comments, tell him Pawpaw sent you.

I'm going to Biloxi this weekend. Y'all keep it between the navigational beacons until I get back.

Little Patrick

Little Patrick has a problem lately, slamming into things with his car. Takes after Daddy that way, I suppose.

We find in the Constitution that he is immune from prosecution when he is in DC.
Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
Of course, as Daddy's son he is typically exempt from prosecution anyway. Daddy got away with manslaughter. Patrick considers it a birth-right.

Y'all want to impeach somebody? Patrick might be a good place to start. The Senate has never had the balls to impeach Teddy. So much more the shame. I'm becoming convinced that no one in either deliberative body has a moral compass worth following.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Travel Plans

Milday and I like to get out of town a couple or three times a year. Generally, in May, we take off to New Orleans. Not this year. Maybe my Google skills ain't up to it, but it seems like all I hear of New Orleans is doom and gloom.

I go to sites like the Chanber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and I really don't get a good feeling about the recovery. I see that Harrah's has reopened, and that is good, I'm just wondering what took them so damned long? The Chamber of Commerce only lists seven "preferred" hotels in New Orleans, and I'm wondering if those seven are the only ones open? I went to the Convention and Visitors website and their list of hotels isn't even in alphabetical order. I couldn't find the Doubletree in that list and it's one of my favorite hotels in New Orleans. Is it open? Who knows?

I went back to Google and searched some of the tourist sites, and it looks like Biloxi might be up and running. I made reservations at the Isle of Capri and we intend to soak up a little sun, wander around Biloxi, and see some things that we can't see around here.

I'm sure I'll see some devastation. I'm sure I'll see some refuse and storm damage. The websites from Biloxi are optimistic and upbeat and seem to want me to come visit. I can eat a good meal, look at the Gulf, and recharge my batteries, if only for a couple of days. Milady will probably drop a nickel in a slot machine. I'll probably lose a few dollars at the blackjack table. I've gotta drive right past New Orleans to do all that, and that is a damned shame.

Memo to New Orleans: I know that you took a bad hit last August. I know you are in turmoil and life in the City has changed. You want my tourism dollar, you have to get a little more upbeat, more confident, more fun. Have someone put up a website luring me to the Big Easy. I'd really like to come to New Orleans and play for a long weekend, but until you get your act together, it ain't happening.

Public Bribery

From the Dead Pelican, and the Times Picayune, we get this story about the man who bribed an unknown representative but who has close ties to Representative William Jefferson. It is truly damning testimony. We should remember that a person is assumed innocent until proven guilty, that the presumption of innocence applies until the jury speaks or the plea is taken.


Bribery of pubic officials is a crime that strikes directly to the heart of our government. Public officials should avoid even the appearance of corruption. Public officials should conduct all business in a purely transparent matter.

Republican or Democrat, corruption is wrong. It takes advantage of the most needy and causes distrust in our elected officials.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I'm a child of the sixties. I wore my hair long, and sported Earth Pants and beads. I sewed a peace sign to the hem of my pants. Then I joined the Army. The Army was full of hippies in the mid '70s. My hair was cut in accordance with Army Regulations, and I learned that short hair had a decided advantage in the field. It didn't attract lice, or get greasy, or get caught in stuff. Tanks are full of stuff to capture hair.

When I came out of the Army, I noticed that the neighborhood barbershop had closed. Guys were getting "styles". By the mid '80s, the predominate hairstyle was damned near bouffant. I wasn't playing. Still in the Reserves, I got my monthly haircut the week before drill. I would tell the stylist to put a number four guard on a pair of clippers and go crazy. For a while, I got a discount at one place as long as I didn't tell anyone where I got my hair cut.

One day I was wandering through Wal-Mart and saw a set of clippers. Cool. No more paying for haircuts. I conned my daughter into cutting my hair in the kitchen. After two cuts, I had depreciated the investment. For the past five years I have been getting my haircuts for free. Milady cuts it in the kitchen, or my daughter is pressed into service. The grandkids get the whack-treatment too, when they sit still long enough.

I've offered to return the favor and cut Milady's hair, but she demurs, preferring the attentions of the sylist at the shop down the road. There is probably chit-chat in that place. I wouldn't know.

The difference between a good haircut and a bad one, is two weeks.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Aaron's blog

It looks like Aaron got hacked again, by another jihadi.

It's about time to send someone to jail. Hacking a website is against the law. More importantly, hacking a website is just poor taste. Tacky. Juvenile.

Those bastards ought to be throttled. They're cowards whose ideas won't stand up to public scrutiny. They espouse a failed doctrine. When ideas fail, they resort to hacking. They lose automatically in any rational debate.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Range Report - 311041

Last week I talked about reloading cast bullets and now it's time for my range report.

The bullets I loaded were the Lee custom 311041. I lubed them with Lee Liquid Alox, then seated a gas check and sized them to 0.309. I seated them in Remington brass over 25.0 grains of IMR4895 with a Winchester large rifle primer. I applied a good crimp in the crimping groove, with a Factory Crimp die.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement. My average velocity was in the mid 1700's but I was getting an extreme spead of 213. I don't even remember the Standard Deviation, but it was way out of line, too. Something is wrong with this load, and Junior has been helping me diagnose it.

The thing patterns like a shotgun. The target above is at 50 yards, iron sights, supported.

I'm including this target as a lesson to neophyte reloaders. Sometimes something goes wrong and we don't understand what the problem is. When we read about shooting in the magazines, all the rifles shoot beautifully and all the reloads exceed factory velocity, while showing accuracy that can only be found .. well.. in the magazines.

Most of the time, this is what we start with. We cuss and scratch our heads and we cry and try to figure out what the rifle likes.

My Sharps has a load that it likes. It really likes that bullet/brass/powder coombination and will shoot it into almost the same hole day in and day out.

I have a couple of loads that my Wnchester really likes. It shoots those loads extremely well. It doesn't like this load, or some combination of this load. I'll figure it out. It will become a good honest hunting load. It takes time and patience and the knowledge that load development takes time.

I'll figure it out.