Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Venezuela buying missiles

I see that Dictator-in-the-Castro-Mold, Hugo Chavez is buying some missiles.
January 31, 2007: Venezuela is buying three batteries of Russian Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missiles. These would be used to protect key Venezuelan assets from attack by, well, you never know.
Good luck with that.

I've never been an air-defense guy, but I know that we have the B2 and the F22, which pretty much negates Hugo's missiles. The Air Force used to have F4's flying Wild Weasel missions, which meant that the pilots flew the planes so that AA missiles could target them, then hammered the launch sites with missiles and bombs. I understand that the F4 has left the inventory, but I bet the wing wipers have someone flying that mission, and plans to deal with the Tor-M1. If we ever need to. Maybe Rivrdog could enlighten me.

Not that we are worried about Hugo. Personally, I'm not, but it's fun to watch how a tinpot dictator spends his country's money.

Tip of the hat to Wizbang.


My sister emails me with a warning of a new STD found in New Orleans.

gonorrhea lectum It's pronounced Gonna-Reelect-Em.

Most notably, this disease has manifested itself in the reelection of Nagin and Jefferson.

Oh! STD doesn't mean Sexually Transmitted Disease. It stands for Silly Traumatized Democrat.

It seems to be infecting the Congress.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mary Unhinged

Seems like our senior Senator is ... hell, I don't know what she is, but she better get control of herself.
Landrieu blamed the government for much of the devastation caused by Katrina and for the slow pace of recovery in Louisiana. “I often think we would have been better off if the terrorists had blown up our levees,” she said. “Maybe we’d have gotten more attention.”
Oooh, damn, Senator. That's harsh. It certainly can't be helpful.

But there's more:
Landrieu also had strong words for many people in Washington who, she says, unfairly portrays Louisiana as the nation’s most corrupt state. “Mississippi is actually the most corrupt state in the Union, but you never hear that, because there’s some political undertones about having Mississippi look so good and having Louisiana not look so good at the national level,” she said, echoing a theme put forth the past week by Governor Kathleen Blanco, who said that Mississippi received more aid because its governor is a Republican.
That's just wrong, Senator. Pointing fingers never helps.

And no, it's not Speaking Truth to Power. She is the power. What Mary said is just plain ignorant. She should be ashamed.

If I could advise Senator Landrieu, I'd tell her that I am also known to shoot off my mouth sometimes, and it never helps. We need her seniority, charm, and wit to help Louisiana. Shooting off her mouth ain't a good idea. Hell, she's in the majority now, so she should be better positioned than ever before, but if she gets a reputation as a nitwit, .... and she's going to facing re-election soon.

Watch your mouth, Senator.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I'm pissed off at our President, mainly because he's forgotten how to prosecute the War on Terror. I supported him when we went into Iraq, because I considered Saddam to be harboring and training terrorists and because I knew that Saddam had manufactured and used chemical weapons on his own people.

I still support the war on terror, but I'm not convinced that the folks in charge in Washington, including the members of Congress, have the moral fortitude to fight a war.

Here in the United States, we're bending over backwards to not offend any Muslims, and CAIR is leading the charge to make sure that we're fully aware of their victimhood. The Six Imams of Minneapolis, who conducted the practice run to violate airport security is only one example. Those six guys should have been marched out on the tarmac and shot. One round behind each ear and left to bleed on the ramp. That would have shown a determination to win the war on terror that would resonate with the affected masses. Damn CAIR's sensibilities. Those guys should have been sent to prison the day after the towers fell.

Here in the United States, let the Muslim population know that our tolerance has been exhausted and they better start walking a tight line. That their religion is their business. They're free to practice it as long as it doesn't become a problem. One complaint, just one, and they're bound for Gitmo.

Over in Iraq, we're bending over backwards to effect a political settlement, while troops are still engaged on the ground. If we're still fighting, the politics ain't working, so pull out the politicos. Drag Sadr out and shoot him, then install an American general as military governor or the province. Give field officers the right to use whatever force necessary to secure their objectives and damn the civilian casualties. Tell Maliki he's failed as a leader and put him to work moving rubble. Let him supervise their parliament on a chain gang.

If a particular town seems to be a hotbed of resistance, pacify it with JDAMS until the rubble has bounced three or four times, then ignore it. If it becomes a problem again, pacify it again, with larger weapons. Eventually they'll get the idea.

Iraq was a secular country before we invaded it. Secular is good. Import beer, liquor and wine, and the muslim sensibilities be damned. Our troops deserve a stiff drink after a long day of quelling insurrection. Banish the burka and make the women wear shorts and halter tops. It is hot over there.

A war without beer is a big hassle, so take the largest palaces, mayoral homes, and nice buildings and convert them to NCO and service clubs. Use the newly liberated women as beer wenches, bar maids, and prostitutes. Let them scrub toilets. With their wages, institute capitalism and let them open laundries and convenience stores.

Pump the oil like it's ours. Ship it over here and continue to drain it until they've repaid every cent for their liberation. Put the men to work on building roads and infrastructure. Do you know how many light poles you can erect with a thousand willing laborers? With ten thousand? With a million? If a guy is unwilling, either shoot him or let him starve. Whatever. They've proven their unfit or unwilling to govern themselves, so treat them like subjects, not citizens.

In twenty years, ask them if they're ready for another election and do they think they are ready to govern themselves?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Long Island Iced Tea

For a real kick in the pants:

Long Island Iced Tea
1 part vodka
1 part rum
1 part tequila
1 part gin
1 1/2 parts sweet and sour mix
Splash Coca-Cola.

During the first Gulf War I was in a garrison unit and it had a lot of officers. A number of us wrangled orders to the theatre and stood in the sand. One of those officers in particular, a major we'll call Vickie, was in the transportation corps and went over as a spare field-grade officer with a transportation (heavy truck) battalion from the Guard. Due to the weirdness of service and medical problems, Vickie wound up commanding that battalion when it went over the berm. She served with distinction, moving things the Army needed to move and she brought the battalion back with nary a scratch.

Vickie loved Long Island Iced Tea. Loved it with a depth of devotion seldom seen in this world. A bunch of us were back at Fort Polk in June of that year and we got notice that Vickie's unit was coming back to England AFB, near Alexandria, LA. We determined to greet her on the ramp with Long Island Iced Tea.

The Air Force had a kind of rally area set up down on the end of the ramp, where buses met returning units and where light refreshment could be had. The refreshment came in the form of iced tea, soft drinks, cold milk and hot coffee. The tea, milk and coffee were in large, 5 gallon thermos devices. We called them Silver Bullets. So, with a half-gallon each of rum, vodka, tequila, gin, and the appropriate quantities of Coke and Sweet & Sour mix, we mixed a huge Long Island Iced Tea into a silver bullet, loaded it into the back of a HMMVW and headed toward England AFB.

Our party consisted of a light colonel, two majors, and a captain. The captain, of course, was designated to drive.

When we got to the air field, we went to the rally area and downloaded the contraband on the refreshment table, dropped the tailgate on the Hummer, and sat down to await the aircraft. It wasn't long before we noticed some activity around our silver bullet, and sure enough an Air Force bird colonel walked over to us with a tall styrofoam cup in his hand. We stood and saluted, as is proper.

The Colonel asked if we were awaiting a flight, and we told him that we were here to greet the main body of a transportation battalion, and specifically, a sunburned, very thirsty Battalion Commander.

He asked if we were knowledgeable about the prohibitions of alcohol on an Air Force flight line. As Army officers, we denied any such knowledge.

He smiled, told us to greet our Major appropriately, and take our silver bullet with us when we left.

Vickie retired three years later as a Lieutenant Colonel. She resides in Texas.

It's depressing.

It's depressing, reading the left side of the house.

I've spent the last hour surfing through the Democratic side of the blogs, or at least the one's I read occasionally. Those guys are really depressed.

Especially the guys in New Orleans. It's like they think that George Bush had an evil plan to destroy their city. And that it succeeded, but not entirely, so GWB lays awake nights dreaming up ways to make them miserable.

They're depressed about the Surge in Iraq, yet their Congress approved the man who is going to make it happen. There is some serious cognitive dissonance going on there.

They're angry about the war, they're angry about the recovery from Katrina, and they're absolutely frothing that GWB didn't mention their problems during the SOTU address. Somehow, it's all Bush's fault, yet he's supposed to be dumb as a sack full of hammers.

It's going to be grand to see the Presidency in peaceful transition come 2009 so that they'll let up on ole W. Then I'm sure we'll have a government who will end global warming, bring the troops home from Iraq, educate all the children (even those who don't want an education), end crime as we know it, make us totally energy independent, sow daisies, lift New Orleans out of a floodplain, and bring back the unicorns. It'll be interesting to see how that works out.

We live in interesting times.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Colorado Bulldog

For your edification, a local recipe.

In a tall glass with crushed ice, pour;

One ounce coffee liqueur
One ounce vodka
Fill remainder of glass with milk


Return cocktail to tall glass

Add one ounce of Coke Classic


I used to serve this cocktail fairly regularly at a place called JJ's Lounge, in Natchez, LA, where I served as a part-time bartender. Milady and I are enjoying one this evening while the grandkids play. It is altogether a fitting end to the week.


Milady bought a Dell PDA for use at work and at play.

I'm going through the learning curve trying to make it friendly to her. I can see it has tremendous potential and marvelous uses. For instance, she downloaded a program that lists all the drugs in the US Pharmacopeia, along with nursing implications. She also got a handy-dandy calculator that lets her figure dosage based on weight and drip numbers based on ..... hell, I don't know, it's something nurses need, and having a little mini-computer in your pocket is better than the stubby-pencil routine.

This little device also lets her play solitaire while she appears to be lost in thought and busy as a bee. She also downloaded a couple of games for when the solitaire pales. We did have to buy a memory card to hold all the goodies.

With the proper cards, you can bluetooth, or LAN, or even GPS. This little device knows more tricks than a Bourbon Street hooker, and if you catch something, the nusing information is right under your cursor.

Still, the learning curve is a pain in the butt, albeit one that I gladly bear. For an old fart like me, learning the tricks doesn't mean I get to play with the device. At the end of the day, it lives in her pocket.

I've done a search, and I can't find a program that I could download that has the complete Criminal Code for PDA. If I could find something like that, I could see a really valid use for such a device in law enforcement. If anyone knows of such a program, let me know. It'd be great to download something like West's Criminal Code and have it in a PDA device.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wood alcohol

The Coyote asks a good question over at his blog:
Is it possible to make ethanol from cellulose? In the past, when you started with cellulose you got wood alcohol, methanol, rather than ethanol. If I recall correctly, methanol contains considerably fewer BTUs per gallon and is much less desirable as a motor fuel. With a bit of bioengineering it might be possible, but I'm skeptical. If it were possible, wouldn't Budweiser be making beer from used diapers now?
Really good questions.

I used to make model airplane fuel out of wood alcohol and castor oil. It ran fine in my engines. These were tiny two-stroke engines that powered model aircraft and as dead-broke adolescents, we were always out of money. We learned that wood alcohol and castor oil gave good service in these tiny engines and was considerably less expensive than the commercial fuel. For the price of a bottle of commercial fuel, you could mix up about three times as much homemade fuel. We didn't care how many BTU's it contained and we weren't interested in efficiency. All we cared about was that we could fly our planes on the cheap. In using the fuel, it was important to shake the bottle well before fueling, because wood alcohol and castor oil don't readily mix. I suppose the inflight vibration kept the fuel mixed while the motor was running.

As I recall, I kept my fuel in a big, brown glass gallon jug originally used to sell root beer. I lugged that bottle around for three or four years and it was probably discarded when we cleaned out Daddy's shop.

And no, you can't drink wood alcohol. It'll poison you. You'll die.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Swinging a Cat

We've all heard the expression: There just isn't enough room to swing a cat.

Over at Flopping Aces, we see the idiom being used and misunderstood.
Hume’s comment was, “It’s hard to swing a cat in Congress without hitting someone who is running for President.” I had an image of Brit grabbing Felix the cat fresh from a commercial, picking him up by the tail, and while the cat hissed, screamed, and clawed like mad, I envisioned the stinging furball getting smacked into the faces of different Presidential candidates. I had to laugh, but it was when I tried to imagine the sound that I really lost it. All I can say is Maker’s Mark hurts when it goes through your nose.
The expression doesn't refer to a real live breathing cat.

We're talking about the cat o' nine tails, a flogging device used in the British Navy to administer punishment. It was a short handled device with mulitiple lashes. Those lashes were sometimes tipped with knots, or lead balls. The device was swung, applying the lash to the back of the miscreant. It was not a pleasant punishment.

If you didn't have room to swing a cat, you were in a small room. If you couldn't swing a cat without hitting other people, the room was plainly crowded.

As interesting as it is to envision a person swinging a screetching feline, the idiom describes something else entirely.

I thought I'd clear that up.

That's one less.

John Kerry (Moonbat, MA) has bowed out of the race.

I was talking to a co-worker today and he likes the Democratic Governor from New Mexico, Bill Richardson. Richardson has solid executive abilities, along with diplomatic and legislative abilities. Plus, he has a solid A from the NRA on firearms issues. And, he's Hispanic. He understands that immigration is going to be a big part of the debate and he is uniquely situated to address that issue.

The way Richardson sees it, the crowded field of 2008 presidential hopefuls breaks down into those who talk versus those who do, those who divide versus those who heal. The nation's only Latino governor pitches himself as the best of both worlds -- a leader who puts actions before words and who can heal a divided country. He insists that it's his experience -- as a member of Congress, U.N. ambassador, U.S. energy secretary and governor of New Mexico -- that makes him the best choice.

"If you look at some of the major challenges facing the country," he said, "I've already done some of those things."

Among those things, the two-term governor says, are cutting taxes, creating jobs, improving education and expanding health care. Add in a thick foreign policy portfolio that includes serving as an envoy to Sudan and North Korea and orchestrating humanitarian efforts in bleak corners such as Darfur. Richardson also loves the game of politics and he's good at it. He's likable and bright and charismatic. And he'll need all those gifts and more.

Richardson sounds like a candidate who bears watching.

Yada, yada

Evidently, our President gave a speech last night. Yada, yada, yada. I'm tired of speechifying, and we have a lot of it to listen to the next several months.

Actions, sir. Not words.

In other news:

A commenter says this about John McCain.
I give you John McCain. Critical of our President at times, so he's got the correct distance. Calls for reforms of his own party, so he's got the ethical chops. Strong supporter of the war effort, and demands that we don't cut and run, but put in some more troops to do it right, if we're going to do it at all.
Ha! McCain launched the biggest assault in modern times on the First Amendment. Google McCain-Feingold.

In deference to his support of Second Amendment issues, the NRA gives him lifetime score of C+ and the GOA gives him the score of C.

McCain ain't a gun supporter, unless he thinks it is politically expedient to support gun rights. Coming as he does from gun-friendly Arizona, I am frankly surprised that he can't garner better scores from the NRA and GOA. However, he has proven that he will attack the First Amendment (religion, speech, assembly) when it is politically expedient. What makes anyone think that McCain will be gun-friendly?

I can't support John McCain for president.

UPDATE: Edited for clarity.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Glowball warming

Now, this is what I call global warming:
The Sun is midway through its stable hydrogen burning phase known as the main sequence. But when the Sun enters the red giant phase in around 5 billion years things are going to get a lot rougher in the Earth-Moon system.

During the red giant phase the Sun will swell until its distended atmosphere reaches out to envelop the Earth and Moon, which will both begin to be affected by gas drag-the space through which they orbit will contain more molecules.
I don't see this as a problem in my lifetime, but it shows what we're in for.

Now, that other global warming... you know, the one that Big Al is espousing? Hell, a butterfly could fart in the Amazon and change the weather patterns next week. There is even a documented phenomenon known as the Gore Effect that seems to have a local effect on glowball warming, sending temperatures plummeting.

Still, that Red Giant thing is going to get a bit warm.

Hat tip to Say Uncle.

Bobby Steps Up

Chad Rogers, over at the Dead Pelican, reports that Bobby Jindal has decided to run for Governor.

That decision was made a long time ago. Timing is everything, and in Jindal's announcement, he makes that perfectly clear.
Politics has a way of impeding progress, and Louisiana cannot afford to lose another second. The upcoming state legislative session this spring is vital. We cannot afford failure, and the surest way to attain failure is to politicize every initiative and decision.

Quite frankly, the Governor and our state legislators need the opportunity to do what is in the best interest of the people. After that, we can have an election.

It is my belief that campaigns are too long as they are, and that people grow weary of the barrage of charges and counter charges. I want to avoid D.C.-style politics with mudslinging, and instead focus on solving the problems that our state faces.
Yeah, buddy! It seems as if the time that campaigns consume just keep getting longer and longer. We're already distracted about who might or might not run for President, and that election is still 22 months away. Long before the Presidential election, we have a governors election here in Louisiana, and a host of local elections that should demand our undivided attention.

Historically, the real true kickoff of the Governors election in Louisiana is on the July 4th weekend at the Pentecostal Campground in Tioga. Look at who is on the podium that weekend and you'll have a good idea of who the front-runners are.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Political Musing

I notice that Hillary has thrown her hat into the ring. Like that's supposed to be news. Hillary decided to run for President after being evicted from the White House when Dubya took over.

The first thing she is going to have to do is weed out the opposition. Who's running?

1. John Edwards. Pretty much a lightweight, she isn't going to have much trouble with him.

2. John Kerry? He's become a caricature of his normally caricaturish self. No one except Kerry believes Kerry can win, and Hillary is going to have to give him a good smackdown. It shouldn't take long.

3. Barack Obama. The fair-haired boy of the Democratic Party. Only he ain't fair-haired and you can believe Hillary is going to use that fact. It'll be the political version of the "Night of the Long Knives". When Hillary begins her campaign of devastation in earnest, watch for the revelation that Obama's daddy was a Muslim and that Obama had his early childhood schooling at a madrassa. That ought to sit well with the mainstream voter.

As far as Obama is concerned, I believe he might have a shot at the Presidency in 8 or 12 years. He's young yet and needs to build his resume. If he wants to be POTUS, all he need do is get some management experience and build his base. As it is right now, he's untested. Hillary is going to drive a truck right through him, leaving his campaign in tatters and severely discredited. The junior senator would do well to remember the old saying; "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day."

As a purely hypothetical mental exercise, (because it AINT gonna happen), do you think that if Hillary is elected president, she'll let Bill come back to the White House, or will she do the honorable thing and run his ass off?

Oh, I forgot. Hillary and the honorable thing are mutually exclusive.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Bullets

As many of you know, I am a fan of cast bullets. In the slower range of cartridges, most don't travel downrange much faster than 2000 fps. They use the weight of the bullet and the design of the projectile to impart shock, rather than the velocity.

Lots of game has been killed by a big cast bullet. Until the late 1800's all game was killed with a slow-moving cast bullet.

The guys over at the Cast Boolits forum have learned that Lee Precision will make a custom cast bullet mold and the members there usually have a couple of group buys going. These bullet molds are not "off the shelf" but are custom cut based on the wishes of the customers. We find that they make very good bullets.

Recently, the guys there have been doing a group buy on a .35 caliber, 180 grain bullet. It has tumble-lube grooves and uses a gas check. It is designed for the .35 Remington, one of my favorite calibers. This mold will let me make ammo for about half as much money as I spend now, which is to say about 1/4 as much as factory ammunition. It might even be good for heavy bullet loads in the .357 magnum.

It's a design with a wide flat nose. Pushed to 1900 fps, it oughta hit like the Hammer of Thor. I've already got a .358 sizing die, which I use for my pistol cartridges.

I mailed my check this morning. Working up loads for this bullet ought to be a lot of fun.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gun cleaner

Yesterday I bought some Hoppe's Blast n' Clean. It's one version of the newer type of gun cleaning products that comes in an aerosol can and uses pressure to power solvent into nooks and crannies. I had never tried an aerosol cleaner, so I thought I'd experiment with it.

First impressions: This stuff seems to be very similar to another solvent I keep in my shop for automotive tasks, Carb cleaner. It works about the same way. A high speed jet of solvent is directed at fouling and softens it and washes it out of the way. This stuff seems to work very good, although I'm not convinced that carbeurator cleaner wouldn't work just as well. Guns and carbs are both steel machinery with lots of little crevices to attract crud. The cost of each type is about the same.

It did a good job on carbon fouling around the face of the breech. One shot of solvent and one wipe with a patch and old fouling came off in chunks.

I used it on the Model 12, which is difficult to detail strip. The Model 12 is certainly more difficult to detail strip than the newer Remington 870 or Win 1300. Both of those I can strip in a few minutes. The Mod 12 seems a bit more intricate. Still, I've known Model 12's in service for 50 years that have never been detail stripped.

If you're going to use spray cleaner, go to a tools store and pick up some inexpensive safety glasses. I've seen the same glasses in the outdoor section of Wal-Mart, and four aisles down in the tool section, with a $5.00 differential in price. Get the ones in the tool department. You will get some splash-back from the spray and having a jet of methyl-ethyl ketone sprayed into your eyes isn't a good thing.

Don't spray this stuff in your wife's kitchen. It'll probably play hell with linoleum floors and it'll make a heck of a mess. It dripped all over my bench and cleaned up some old grease stains.

It sure got the crud out of the innards of the shotgun. A quick oiling with Break-Free and I was done.

Life Sentence for Adultery?

Louisiana has some weird laws, but evidently we have no monopoly on legislative weirdness.

It seems, in Michigan,
Adultery is still a crime under state law, punishable by a short prison sentence, but no one has been prosecuted for the offense since 1971. Judge William B. Murphy said that first-degree criminal sexual conduct is defined as sexual penetration in the furtherance of another felony. Because adultery is a felony, he said, adulterous sex could in theory be prosecuted as rape.
And in Michigan, rape can get you a life sentence.

I agree that nothing is as corrosive to a marriage than extramarital sex, but a life sentence... ? Gee!

And we thought the deep South had some repressive laws.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Back in the Dark Ages when you ordered a shotgun, one of the decisions you agonized over was choke-boring, and some still agonize over it today. The full choke you use for the goose spread might not be the best choice for the dove fields and a lot of us couldn't afford more than one shotgun. With a new Remchester pump going for $100.00, that was about a week's pay for an honest working man in the late '50s or early '60s.

No one had heard of choke tubes. Winchoke, Invector, and Rem-Choke were all futuristic fantasies. However, that's not to say that all shotguns were fixed choke.

You had Poly-Choke, and Cutts Compensator as choices; sometimes the only choice if you wanted a quick change of shotgun chokes. They were ugly. They were really ugly, stuck out on the end of your shotgun barrel. They actually decreased the value of the shotgun.

But boy, did they work. One gun could he employed in a goose spread in the morning and spend the afternoon busting coveys of quail.

The Winchester Model 12 I bought earlier this week has a Poly Choke on it. This isn't the first gun I've owned that had one. I've owned fixed chokes, screw-in chokes, and adjustable chokes. A quick look through my cabinet shows all three types. My big waterfowl 12 gauge has a shot-out full choke that patterns just about like an improved modified and is deadly out to 40 yards with the right load. My 20 gauge Win 1200 has screw-in chokes, as does my Remington 870 riot gun. If I were forced to find my other chokes, I probably could. They're in a box somewhere near the gun cabinet, but it would probably take me an hour of so to find the correct box after our last move. So, till I get completely unpacked (it's been two years), those shotguns are effectively fixed choke.

I was googling today and found that they still make the Poly Choke and the Cutts Compensator. I was never a fan of the Cutts, but some folks liked them. I did like the Poly-Choke, though, because it was a one-piece unit.

I see where Poly-Choke makes an adjustable unit for screw-in chokes. That is a darned good idea. Sure, it ruins the lines of the gun, but it is just dandy for adjusting choke to conditions. With adjustable constriction from cylinder bore to extra full choke, you have eight different degrees of constriction. They claim a ninth degree, or a spreader choke, but it is hard for me to understand how that works. If the choke is more open than cylinder bore, the effect is that of having a marginally shorter barrel.

Still, it's good to see that a company I thought was dead and gone is still alive and running. I might have to put a couple of Poly-Chokes on my wish list for future holidays. In the meantime, I need to find that box of choke tubes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How's your vocabulary?

Interesting test, this: Link

Many thanks to Dale for showing me the link.

Many more thanks to my mother and Aunt Joy for teaching me to speak properly and understand the English Language.

I made an A.

How'd you do?

Blog Chain

Xavier has tagged me with a meme. We're supposed to:
share five off the wall, strange, unusual or just little-known facts about yourself. Then you "tag" five other bloggers who are supposed to do the same thing.
Well, okay.

1. I have a bachelors degree in Business Administration, with extensive graduate hours in that field. After my first active duty stint in the Army, I was trying to keep a family fed, clothed and housed. My paycheck never stretched far enough and the Army said they'd send me to school and pay me on the GI Bill, so I signed up for an MBA program at the local university. It was supposed to be a 2 year program, done at night for working stiffs. The only problem with that is that if I graduated, they'd cut off the subsistence checks and I needed that money. I went to school for eight semesters and never graduated. I have 40 graduate hours in Business Administration, yet never wrote a thesis, never took the GMAT, never intended to graduate.

2. I'm a member of the Iron Butt Association, a collection of long-distance motorcycle riders. There is no way to join the club but by riding. The basic minimum ride is 1000 miles in 24 hours. They call this ride the Saddlesore. The IBA members I've met have been unfailingly helpful, friendly, and just a little insane. Every other year they host a rally, called the Iron Butt. In it, the riders ride one lap around the United States in 11 days. A rider who wants to ride from checkpoint to checkpoint may log over 8,000 miles in that time. A rider who wants to win the rally will ride over 11,000 miles in those 11 days.

3. I'm an Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout who holds the Vigil Honor, which is an honor reserved for those who serve. I believe service to be the highest calling for which any person can aspire. To be unselfish in service and devoted to the welfare of others is a dramatically difficult task, and one in which I have often failed. Still, the lessons of youth haunt me and give me a guiding point.

4. When I retire the next time, I intend to learn basic metal machining. My grandfather had some lathes, presses, and equipment that allowed him to build almost anything. His shop was always a magical place where the imagination reigned supreme. He did things out there that still leave me amazed.

5. I want to learn fine woodworking. My shop will be just about equally divided between woodworking and metal working. Blending the two knowledge bases will let me really work on guns. And cabinets. And toys. Real toys that craftsmen used to make during down times.

And I'm tagging:

The Oyster
The Cajun

Model 12 - Update

Looks like the Model 12 I bought yesterday is a keeper. Just as I suspected, a couple of drops of fine mineral oil slicked it up properly. And also as I suspected, it is plugged for a capacity of three shells. I can use it for hunting.

Actually, I was going to use it for hunting anyway, but if it didn't have a plugged magazine I would have to plug it before I took it afield.

I took that damned Pachmayr slip-on pad off of it. My dad had one of those on his shotgun and rotted the stock over a period of years. Moisture gets trapped between the pad and the stock and if you leave the pad on the gun, over time in wet Louisiana, you risk rotting the stock. When I got the pad off of it, I saw that it doesn't have a butt-plate or pad on it. I'll have to have a slim pad installed.

I'm a fan of pads on firearms that will be used. Even my personal .22 has a pad on it. Not that I'm recoil sensitive, because I'd call myself about average in my ability to absorb recoil.

A pad isn't correct on a lot of guns. On my Sharps, for instance, it still sports the steel butt plate. My caplock Renegade has a steel plate on it. Some guns just don't look right with a recoil pad installed. However, I'm particularly careful about the way I handle my Sharps and my Renegade. Both of those have exposed hammers and I don't want to drop them.

Using guns are different. They are apt to be leaned against a tree, or a corner in the kitchen. A recoil pad puts a non-slip surface on the butt of the gun and makes it less apt to slip if leaned on a slippery surface. My working guns get enough abuse from me that a pad seems like simple insurance against my own neglect.

I think a thin English recoil pad should be sufficient for this shotgun and wouldn't look out of place. No, I won't install it myself. I've installed pads on guns and they look like they were installed with an axe and a crowbar. I'll pay a gunsmith to set this one in place.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winchester Model 12

The first shotgun I ever fired was a Winchester Model 12. It was my Dad's gun, in 16 gauge, with a Poly-Choke.

The second shotgun I ever fired was a Winchester Model 12. It was my grandfather's shotgun, in 20 gauge.

Winchester made a bunch of Model 12's, with serial numbers running from 1 to 2,023672. It was the first successful hammerless shotgun and was used in the game fields, the military, and on the target ranges.

This shotgun was sometimes called The Perfect Repeater and was an adaptation of the handiwork of John Moses Browning. Winchester quit making them in 1963 because they had become too expensive to manufacture and sell competitively.

Winchester came out with the Model 1200 to compete with the Remington 870. I have owned a couple of 1200's. The next model in the lineup was the 1300, and even though it is a fine shotgun, with a long manufacturing run, it just was never the same as the Model 12. The Model 12 is made of forged and machined steel. It cycles with authority, it is very smooth, and locks up like a bank vault.

I have always wanted one, but the examples that I saw for sale were either too rough, or too expensive, or too something or other. To make matters worse, I've never been completely enamored of the 12 gauge. Yeah, a 12 is certainly the most common bore, and what it gains in popularity it lacks in style. I own two 12 bore shotguns, a waterfowler and a riot gun. That's enough.

Aaah, but the 16 bore or the 20 bore is an upland gun. It's a gun for the rabbit fields, the dove shoots, the squirrel woods. The 20 bore is normally made on a smaller frame than the 12, so it is lighter. I also own a couple of 20 gauges and I generally divide my shotgunning into pleasure and work. The 12 gets the nod for serious work. The 20 is for pleasure.

Today I was surfing the used gun rack at my favorite shop and saw the familiar lines of a Model 12. I asked to see it and the counterman handed it across. It was in 16 gauge. My father loves a 16 gauge, but this gun was rough. Real rough. I handed it back across the counter, remarking wistfully that if I could find one in 20 gauge, I just might be interested.

He chuckled and walked down his racks, plucking a shotgun from the corner. He handed it across and I knew that he had me. A Model 12, in 20 gauge. This is a PawPaw's gun. It still had closet dust on it. I broke the weapon down to look at the bore, which was pristine. The action is stiff because it is dry. A good cleaning and oiling is all this firearm needs. The price was right, and he made it more right because I am a good customer. The serial number says that it was made in 1949.

This one followed me home.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Winter Weather

It looks frosty for Central Louisiana and environs for the next two days.

That's the AccuWeather radar image for Louisiana. The blue band is snow potential and the pink band is ice potential for Monday morning. That front is moving slowly and we've probably already had our high temperature for today.

PawPaw went out for butane and talked to some of the geezers hanging around the fire at the hardware store. One fellow had just gotten off the phone with his daughter in Bossier City. It's getting icy up there.

Years of watching the weather patterns in this area have convinced me that whatever Shreveport gets, we're about five hours behind them. Add about four degrees for our more southerly latitude. We're in for icy weather ourselves.

Most folks in the United States can stand a couple of inches of snow and ice. It cripples us. We in the far Deep South have no idea how to deal with frozen precipitation, except to hunker down and wait for it to melt.

PawPaw is fixing to hunker down, check on family, and await the end of this nastiness.

UPDATE: NOAA says this about that:
Tonight: Periods of rain, mixing with freezing rain after 3am. Low around 33. North wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no ice accumulation expected.

Tuesday: Rain, freezing rain and sleet likely, becoming all rain after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 35. North wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no ice accumulation expected.
I'm thinking it's probably about time to make a big pot of chili.

**UPDATE** Grandma just came into the room chuckling. She had felt a cool draft and went to investigate. We've got a fire in the fireplace and the heat from the fireplace had reached the thermostat, which turned on the air conditioning. (sigh). Only in the Deep South would you run the A/C and the fireplace at the same time. She and I concur that we probably don't need the A/C today.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Knives - The meme

Velociman posts a piece about knives he owns. He prefers to label them bra-strap cutters, and I suppose one might cut a bra strap with a knife, but I prefer a more gentle approach.

Regardless, here are my blades. The ones that I claim when the chips are down.

From top to bottom, they are:

1) Buck pocket knife. The ubiquitous gentlemans knife that is always present in the pants pocket. Useful for a variety of functions.

2) Buck fixed blade hunting knife. This one was gifted to me, but is still a wise choice in a fixed blade knife.

3) Olsen Knife Company. This particular blade did journeyman service for me for many years as a belt knife. It was carried mainly when I was a teenager, serving in the Boy Scouts. In those primitive years, we trusted boys to carry knives and after a young man had passed a skills test, he was allowed to carry and use a belt knife. The Boy Scouts have become unbelievably PC, to the point that I learned (as a Scoutmaster) that boys were no longer allowed to carry belt knives. They might hurt someone. I immediately cried "Balderdash" and instituted the older standards within my domain. I also carried this knife in a homemade sheath on my belt. There are very few people closer to being a King than a volunteer Scoutmaster who stands on tradition. Besides, I had a knife and they didn't.

As an aside, in five years of Scoutmaster, all my boys carried knives openly, after they passed THE TEST. No one was ever hurt with a knife. I don't remember a single incident, to include the standard cooking cuts, while my standards were in place. No one was threatened, no one was injured. No one got their feelings hurt. Except of course, the PC crowd, who was reminded that we were all carrying knives and if they wanted some, all they had to do was step up.

4) The king of fighting knives. The Sykes-Fairbairn. Some claim the Kabar is a better fighting knife. They are welcome to their opinion. This particular example is the #2 variant and was issued in 1944 to the uncle of a friend. Uncle was about to jump into a little town in Normandy and the command thought they might need knives. There is blood-rust on the blade. I cannot vouch for the source of the blood. I told my friend I would hold the knife for him and I have been doing so for the past fifteen years. If he claims it, it's his. Otherwise, it will stay in my possession.

On the Surge

Maybe, just maybe, our President gave us a way to come home out of Iraq. With a nephew over there (2nd tour) I'd be happy to see him come home. I'd also like to see this Iraqi mess over with, as long as we can do it with honor.

As I understand it, the President gave the Maliki .gov some fairly specific guidelines for help with his insurgency problem. 1) ease rules of engagement so we can actively target terrorists, 2) oil money has to be used for infrastructure 3) Mookie gets marginalized to the point of irrelevance, and 4) all those internal militias get disarmed or killed.

If Maliki buys into the plan and actively starts killing terrorists and building electrical plants, he gets a pass. If Maliki doesn't buy into the plan, we basically start loading planes and tell him "Bye-bye. Have fun with that genocide thing."

We've done a lot of good over there. We desposed Saddam. We gave the Iraqi people a working democracy. If they want to keep it, they'll have to get busy coming together as a nation and cut out all this sectarian bullshit. If not, we head home.

That's a plan I can support.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Scooter Parts

I need something called a petcock assembly for my bike. Our local Honda dealer is about worthless, and I quit dealing with them years ago for parts. Whatever you want, they don't stock. They order everything and it takes a week to get any part you want. I went in there one day to get a tire valve and when they told me that they didn't stock them, I pitched a running fit. I called the parts manager a blood-sucking sadist. He didn't mind selling me a tire, but he couldn't stock a simple friggin valve stem? Screw them. If I have to wait a week, I'll have it delivered to my house.

The Honda Goldwing has a little valve on top of the gas tank that they call a petcock. It isn't. I've used petcocks on motorcycles. This little gizritchit has a diaphragm and a vacuum hose and acts like a little vacuum operated pump. Mine leaks, and while the bike still runs, the idea of gasoline leaking out of the tank mere inches from the family jewels is not something that appeals to me. I ordered a new assembly from Honda Direct. They told me it would be at my house in 7 to 10 days. When twelve days passed, I called them.

The parts guy was great and immediately tracked my order. It seems that UPS listed it as delivered, to a motorcycle shop in Pennsylvania. Only problem is that I am neither a shop nor in Pennsylvania. I am a customer in Louisiana.

Honda Direct says they'll over-night it to me and I should get it on Monday. If today is Friday, then tomorrow is Saturday. How is Monday morning considered an overnight delivery? Just askin'.

I guess I oughta order some valve stems and small parts like body panel grommets. Lord knows that when you need one, you need one. It's a shame that the local guys are too cheap to stock a few parts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jane Kathryn's wedding

Being named Jane in this family is ... interesting. My Momma is named Jane, my wife is named Jane, and then there is Jane Kathryn, a much loved neice, daughter of my sister Dianne.

When things are hopping and Daddy hollers Jane around the house, there is no telling who is liable to turn up. Especially during holidays. I, of course, am not allowed to holler Jane. Ever. God forbid my mother thinks I am calling her, and woe be unto me to holler my wife's name unless someone is bleeding. Bleeding down. Regular finger bleeding isn't good enough. I digress.

Dianne is a middle child. Whatever else you may say about her, she is organized. With a degree in Accounting and a life time of counting other peoples beans, she delights in organization. How she got that way is one of life's mysteries. She never exhibited it when I lived in the same house with her.

Jane Kathryn is a nursing student. She has a beau. This past weekend, the beau had a sit-down with Brother-in-law and Jane Kathryn is now engaged.

Dianne is planning a wedding. A June wedding. And planning it all the first week of the engagement. They've been finding reception halls, acquiring the services of a seamstress, making lists and checking them twice. I understand that Dianne is going over the budget with the happy couple and making decisions that only the Mother of the Bride can make. Jewelers are being consulted. Bridesmaids have to be chosen and fitted. Florists are in demand. Brother-in-law would best be served by Forking Over the Checkbook and retreating into his study.

I'm sure the wedding will be in exquisite taste and perfectly executed. Living with Diane for the next six months would try the patience of Job.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bad roads

It looks like Louisiana's roads were graded by an outfit that does such things.
Frank Moretti, director of policy and research for The Road Information Program, said Monday that Louisiana's highway death rate was 40 percent higher than the national average for every 100 million miles of travel.
Yeah, we've got bad roads. We've known that for years and the answer is a big push in road construction the likes of which we haven't seen since Huey P. Long. As a matter of fact, many of the roads we use in North Louisiana still show the pavement marks from when the Kingfish was building roads.
Nearly half of Louisiana's roads and highways are in such poor shape that the entire system also got an F, Moretti said. Other highway factors, such as bridges, road congestion and the way roads are funded, got only slightly better grades.
No doubt about it, we need better roads. Parts of I-12 will jar you pretty badly, too, as will parts of I-10.

The major excuse why our roads are so bad is that most of them are built on or across swamps. It's tough building a road in a swamp.

I motorcycle. Motorcyclists notice road conditions before automobile drivers notice road conditions. When you have only two wheels to get you to a destination, the condition of the road is twice as important.

The worst road I ever traveled over was I40, out of Memphis, TN, headed toward Little Rock. When I crossed the bridge out of Memphis, the road started jarring my teeth. Each individual strip of pavement was misaligned with the other and the KATHUMP, KATHUMP, KATHUMP went on for mile after mile after mile. Each expansion joint jarred the bike and the torture went on for a hundred miles. After fifteen minutes, I thought I was going to lose my mind. After a half-hour I was glad I wasn't losing parts.

Had I been on a Harley Davidson, the bike would have rattled down to a pile of parts.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Grape Soda

After church today, we had an eating-meeting then a board meeting to discuss business.

One of the beverages they provided was grape soda. I tried a glass. Then another.

You remember grape soda? I haven't drank any in a decade or more, yet I remember it from my youth. Sunshine and red-dirt hills, pine straw and Schwinn bicycles. Roller skates and the thirst that only comes from playing hard... when you could almost feel each individual cell cry out for water.

I'm talking down-home thirsty. Reach into the jug and pull out a grape soda.

Ain't it funny how a taste will trigger memories?

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's worse than we thought!

Oh, the Oyster is gonna love this one.

It seems that a big chunk of South Louisiana isn't only sinking slowly, it is actually sliding laterally into the Gulf.

The hell you say!
NEW ORLEANS - A new report by scientists studying Louisiana’s sinking coast says the land here is not just sinking, it’s sliding ever so slowly into the Gulf of Mexico.
The news just gets weirder.
The report, which appeared in December’s Geophysical Research Letters, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Geophysical Union, says the bedrock under heavily populated southeast Louisiana is breaking away at a glacial speed — at the pace fingernails grow.

The southward movement, the study says, is triggered by deep underground faults slipping under the enormous weight of sediment dumped by the Mississippi River.
OOoh! Faults, deep underground. Can you say Earthquake? Wouldn't that be amusing? No, actually, it wouldn't. The one bright spot is that it isn't moving fast.
He described the slide into the Gulf as “a kind of avalanche of material, except that it is happening very slowly. It moved about the width of two credit cards this year.”
But you know, with that earthquake thing, it could pick up speed at any time.

Hat tip to RNS.


I took this test and scored a 35 out of a possible 40. I might make a different score if I took it again, but I doubt it.

It rates your political leanings on a scale from 0 to 40, with Jesse Jackson being 0 and Ronald Reagan being 40.

Huh! Evidently I'm fairly conservative.

Strange Day

Milady and I are members of the Magnolia Dance Club. It is a club of like-minded people who get together once a month to dance. Mostly old farts like myself, the club has been going in Alexandria since.... hell, since before I was born. It's been around a while.

It's a good idea for folks who like to dance and don't necessarily like to go clubbing. Frankly, the idea of clubbing doesn't appeal to me as much as it once did. We pay the music guy for the music we want to hear and he knows our tastes.

You're not going to hear any rap. No hip-hop.

Anyway, once a year you're tagged with hosting the dance, which is basically just making sure there are nibbles available and that the place gets set up and torn down when the dance is over. Tommorrow night, Milady and I host the club.

So, Milady is running around making sure that all the bases are covered, and is in close coordination with the other couple who is co-hosting with us.

Today I have two projects going. Drywall for the project house, which will commence shortly. I'm using a kid who is doing this as a second job, and he gets off shortly and should be over here. The other project is two briskets for the dance tomorrow night. They've been on the smoker since noon, wrapped in copious amounts of smoke

I just completed trimming some fat and refreshing my super-secret marinade. I'll take them off tonight about nine, slice them, and put them to bed.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Captain Hussein Surfaces

You may recall the flap over the AP source quoted when they ran the story of the burning mosque and the six burned bodies? Captain Jamil Hussein? No one could produce him and the various ministries said he didn't exist?

Well, now he's surfaced, and the authorities are considering arresting him for talking to the press in violation of internal regulations. Michelle Malkin has the best roundup on the story here.

Anyway, the Iraqis say that
with the arrest of Hussein for breaking police regulations against talking to reporters, the AP would be called to identify him in a lineup as the source of its story.

Should the AP decline to assist in the identification, Khalaf said, the case against Hussein would be dropped. He also said there were no plans to pursue action against the AP should it decline.

He said police officers sign a pledge not to talk to reporters when they join the force. He did not explain why Jamil Hussein had become an issue now, given that he had been named by AP in dozens of news reports dating back to early 2006. Before that, he had been a reliable source of police information since 2004 but had not been quoted by name.
Which seems to me like a Catch-22 for the AP.

The veracity of the story has been called into question because no one could produce the source of their story, one Captain Jamil Hussein. Now that he has surfaced, the Iraqis want to charge him with a crime. If the AP identifies him, he goes to jail. If they don't identify him, the charges will be dropped. Of course, if they don't identify him, then they haven't produced him, have they? The story still has the same problems it had yesterday. If they do identify him, he is arrested and tried.

The original story has more problems than a pregnant prostitute, but without Jamil Hussein, it has no legs at all. So, the AP still needs to produce Jamil Hussein. It's a hell of a quandry to be in. Yet the AP brought it on themselves by using stringers to get the "news". If they were doing their own reporting...

Gremlin Bells

Have you ever noticed a motorcyclist that had a little bell on the frame or handle bars of his bike? That is a gremlin bell.

Here's one on the frame of a Harley Sportster. Gremlins love to ride. They will hitch a ride with any available motorcycle, but once on board, they can't help but cause trouble. Clutch cable breaks, lights going out, oil slick on the road? Purely the work of gremlins.

As a gremlin crawls over the bike looking for something to get into, he gets trapped in the bell. The constant ringing drives him crazy and the clapper knocks him off the bike. Gremlin bells are absolutedly guaranteed, along with a good preventative maintenance program, to keep your bike running trouble free.

Here's one on a Goldwing fork. I get these little bells at a hobby shop for almost nothing. Make sure you get the kind with an open bell, or the gremlin won't fall out.


I signed up for iTunes this morning. Whatever you may think of file-sharing services, I was a big fan when it was legal to do so. Yeah, ole Paw-Paw was a music pirate. The music at my wedding was pirated. Nowadays it's illegal to do that sort of thing.

Still, I'm not real big on buying albums. I'm not opposed to paying the artist for his/her time and artistic ability. I am opposed to buying music I don't want. Most albums have two or three good songs, and the rest of the album is pretty much crap. I haven't heard an album in the last twenty years that was good music from start to finish, except Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger and the Beatles Abbey Road. Those two should tell you something about the music I listen to. Lately, my tastes have been running to bluegrass and blues.

Eric Clapton is doing some good things with blues music and it looks like the album Road to Escondido may be worth buying.

In other news, it's raining here on Highway 28 in Pineville. Pawpaw has to work this afternoon and Milady wants to do some shopping later this morning. It's too damn wet to go sit on a deerstand, so I guess I'll brave the grocery store with her.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The little Somali war

You probably aren't reading about this unpleasantness in the Town Talk, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

A little country called Somalia has been unstable (truly, really unstable) since the overthrow of the last tin-pot dictator a few years back. The jihadis, in the form of something called the Islamic Courts moved in and set up shop. The Ethiopian government decided that having radical Islamists on their border was a bad thing, so the Ethiop Army decided to run the bastards out of the country. They started on Christmas Eve and the job is just about completed. The remnants of the Islamic Courts are trying to cross the border into Kenya.

I am also told that US NCOs have been training the Ethiopian army for the past couple of years and that most of the tactics used in this latest exercise were learned from American sergeants.

Bill Roggio is covering all of this at The Fourth Rail. Start here for the Dec 24th posting. Or just go to his main page and scroll down to see them all.

The Ethiopians have given the Islamic Courts a serious ass-kicking. I'm told that US Special Forces troops have joined the pursuit, looking for a couple of particularly nasty folks we'd like to incarcerate.

This is a major smack-down for the Islamists and something you won't read in the morning rag.


The project house is insulated. It was a pain in the butt, but not nearly as bad as other insulation jobs I have done.

I used standard fiberglass insulation, but this stuff was made by Johns Manville. It is called encapsulated insulation and the fiberglass is sheathed in a plastic sheeting not unlike a standard garbage bag. The plastic bag has little tabs to staple it in place.

I remember the old paper faced insulation and working with that stuff would drive me crazy. The tiny glass fibers would get all over you, cut you, make you miserable. This new encapsulated insulation avoids all the discomfort of installation. Plus, it was the cheapest thing going at Lowe's when I dropped by to price it.

I called my contractor buddy and he is going to supply the name of a drywall guy. Hopefully by the end of the week, I'll be ready to paint.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Connie's essay

There is a lady, Connie, over at the Personal Effects. She is an essayist and pens pieces about life. Her latest is about the power that women have over men, and she is right with most of her premise. Go read it.

You're back? Good. Most of her premise is correct. Our ladies have remarkable power over us, and that is how it should be. Women are the keepers of the hearth, the basis of the traditional family. However, Connie makes a mistake in interpretation and the particular paragraph is here:
There is nothing like the insanity of a man whose wife has left him. He will never fully recover. It will forever change him. He may find a new wife, but the scars left by the former one will be deep and festering. The man is an empty shell.

A man might want to control his surroundings. He may even think he has control over his life. But he doesn’t.
Respectfully, I disagree.

I've been left, you see, and have come through the fire stronger. My situation isn't necessarily unique.

In 1998 I found myself left. It hurt. Really badly. And I got a bit crazy during the trauma of the divorce. During my first marriage, I fell into some stereotypical behaviors that most men find themselves in at some point. I was trying to control my life, and in doing so, was trying to control the people in my life.

All because I wasn't in control of myself.

Then, slowly, the lesson dawned, as most of life's lessons dawn. If I couldn't control myself, how could I control the people around me? More particularly, why would I want to control anyone for any reason? I learned a lot of things during my divorce, things that made me stonger, things that made me wiser. I'm a better man for having gone through it.

I decided that if I couldn't control the people in my life, then I had to control who was in my life. I had to control myself. That if I wanted love, I had to be loveable. That if I wanted peace in my household I had to be peaceful. That if I didn't want strife, I had to avoid strife. That if I wanted my children to grow to be healthy adults, I had to provide the example. I still try to do that, even now that they are all grown.

In time, I met a lady who wanted to be part of my life, and I wanted her in it. We agreed on the big things we wanted. We agreed on the things we didn't want, and we formulated an understanding that allows us to live in a manner that pleases both of us.

We started dating in 2001. We became engaged on New Years Eve 2002-03 and we married in 2003. In five years, we haven't had an argument, we haven't spoken a cross word.

Don't think for a minute that either she or I are shrinking violets. We aren't. We both hold very particular opinions on a variety of topics. We both know who is in charge of particular pieces of our life. We agree to disagree on certain subjects, but we don't argue. It's just not worth it.

I know that there are behaviors she won't tolerate, so I don't commit those behaviors. She knows the same about me, and respects my boundaries. Anything else is up for negotiation, and we negotiate frequently. When we negotiate, it isn't in a adversarial sense, but one in which both our best interests are important.

For example: She is in charge of the interior decoration of the home. If she decides to paint the living room day-glo orange, I have no vote. That is her domain. It is my task to help her paint the room, but I have no vote on the color.

Other things are my domain. Our project house, for example. I am responsible for construction and design as it relates to ease of construction, materials, and maintenance. The time line is my domain. Whether it is done in a day or a year, she knows that I'll take care of it as I am able. She doesn't nag, although she watches the progress with a keen eye. She knows that there will come a time soon in which she will be tasked with picking colors and decorative style. Those are her domains and I won't participate in them, except as it relates to the actual painting. Whatever she chooses is okay by me.

I haven't been in a domestic argument in five years. I love my wife and she loves me. There are areas in our life that are particularly the province of the other, and we both respect those boundaries in things large and small.

I may not be in control of my life, but I am in control of myself. The things that swirl around me in this life are not my fault, except as it relates to choices I have made. I think I am a better man than I was ten years ago.