Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

Several days ago we were expecting the grandkids over and the dog was watching for them under the fence. Or, he was just watching traffic under the fence.

Whatever, it cracks me up.

He's the Lookin' Under the Fence, Sunday Morning Dawg.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Back in the day, we who handload our own ammunition could pick up powder at one of a variety of places. I can remember as a kid, hanging around the McBride Rod and Gun club at England AFB, LA. In the corner of the reloading room were stacks of 30 pound kegs of rifle and pistol powder. All surplus powder. The common practice at that time was to bring in a bleach bottle, fill your bottle with whatever powder you wanted, then drop five dollars in the club till.

It ain't like that any more. With the advent of fire codes things changed. With the election of our latest President, things really changed.

If you're a serious reloader, you probably have Unique powder on your bench. Lots of folks say that Unique is dirty, but I've never found it to be so dirty that I couldn't clean it from a gun. I'm using my last pound of Unique, bought before the turn of the century. I got a deal on several one-pound canisters and never found a reason to buy more. I shoot a lot of Unique, but I had a lot of Unique in sealed, one pound containers.

That's an old container. The company has changed names, but the powders remain.

At any rate, I was running low on Unique and as we all know, the powder situation has been terrible for the past year or so. Our President scared the hell out of a lot of us and all the ammo and components flew off the shelves.

Things may be getting better on the powder front. I was surfing around yesterday and went over to Powder Valley. I've done business with them in the past and they're good folks.

Here's the interesting part. If you look at a close-up of my old Unique tin, you'll see it's marked $16.95. I didn't pay that for it, but that's the marked price.

So, when I saw that Powder Valley had Unique and Bullseye in stock, I ordered some supplies. I figured the haz-mat fees, shipping, and powder cost and I'm getting my new stocks in the door at $17.81 per pound. If I was buying it downtown, I'd be paying $26.00 or more per pound. And, they probably wouldn't have it in four pound jugs.

Next moonth I'll start looking for IMR 4895. As versatile as Unique is for pistol and revolver loads, 4895 is that versatile as a rifle powder. I'm down to my last 8 lb jug.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The rifleman's prayer

From The Smallest Minority, I find this prayer over at Gandalf23:
“A Rifleman’s Prayer

Oh Lord, I would live my life in freedom, peace and happiness, enjoying the simple pleasures of hearth and home. I would die an old, old man in my own bed, preferably of sexual overexertion.

But if that is not to be, Lord, if monsters such as this should find their way to my little corner of the world on my watch, then help me to sweep those bastards from the ramparts, because doing that is good, and right, and just.

And if in this I should fall, let me be found atop a pile of brass, behind the wall I made of their corpses.”
Can I get an Amen?

hat tips to all involved.

**UPDATE** The author has come forward. I should have known it was the Geek With a .45.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Danziger Bridge update

It appears that a New Orleans police lieutenant today plead guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice, arising out of investigations into the Danzinger Bridge incident during Katrina.
Lohman, who pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to obstruct justice, admits he failed to order the collection of evidence or canvassing of witnesses, helped craft police reports riddled with false information, participated in a plan to plant a gun under the bridge and lied to investigators who questioned police actions.
It's hard to know exactly what happened that day. New Orleans had been destroyed by the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. Police officers had been dispatched to the Danziger bridge on reports that people on the bridge were shooting at rescue helicopters. The officers got to the bridge, heard gunfire and started shooting across the bridge. When the firing stopped, two citizens were dead and four others were seriously wounded. Police officers learned that the people shot were unarmed.

Then the police lied about it. More than one cop lied about it.

As a 29 year police veteran, it makes me sick. First of all, that police officers would harm people trying to escape a tragedy. But most of all that the cops lied about it.

It's hard enough to conduct an investigation into a fatality. Eyewitness reports are notoriously unreliable, but many times that's all we have to go on. It's the job of the lead investigator to separate the good information from the bad information and present that information to his superiors and the Courts. It's doubly hard when you start doubting the reports of officers on the scene. It's triply hard when the police officers conspire to change the story.

I guess I had good trainers, because I learned early in my career that official reports are painfully truthful. If you screw up, you report the screw-up and you take your lumps. That's not to say I've had a perfect career. I've reported my own screw-ups and I've taken my lumps. In the long run, it's easier like that.

The New Orleans Police Department has a history of corruption and lying in an official report is just one aspect of that corruption. Today, the Courts began the search for justice that should have begun as soon as the firing stopped. It's a damned shame that it's been this long.

Hat tip to Xavier for the heads-up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Conflict of Interest

Thirty one of the Congress critters that are quizzing Toyota took campaign contributions from the UAW. Why is that important? Mainly because the UAW and the US Government are major stockholders in General Motors, and the UAW has for years unsuccessfully tried to organize the workers at Toyota.

Don't think the lawyers at Toyota don't know about this conflict of interest. Sure, they've got their own problems with the accelerator, but they're being grilled by folks with a huge conflict of interest.

Gun Wisdom from the Web

Dave Petzal has put together some gun wisdom from the Web. I've seen some of this before, and some of it is new. I especially like this one:
The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. 'Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?' 'No ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle.'
Hah! I like that and I'll have to remember it.

Of course, if you're really expecting trouble, you stay away, but if you've just got to go to a place where you expect trouble, you bring your rifle and a half-dozen friends with rifles. Or shotguns.

The Gun Nut is one of my daily reads.

Cedar Wax Wing

When I was a little boy, Cedar Wax Wings were a favorite of mine. They came in flocks to Louisiana in the winter and in the dreary doldrums of February provided targets for our pellet rifles. They'd come into the woodlot by the thousands and we'd go out and harass the flock.

That woodlot is now a paved parking lot, with a Logan's restaurant sitting along one side of it.

Today as I strolled under the oaks I noticed a familiar movement in the trees above and looked up to see a flock of cedar wax wings in the bare branches of a hackberry tree. I didn't try to count them, but the flock numbered several hundred, maybe a thousand birds, all going about the business of being a little bird in a wide world.

I haven't seen a flock of wax wings in years and some of my years melted away as I watched the little birds search for food. Then, of course, the radio called me to other tasks but for just a few minutes, I was 10 years old again.

Hat tip to for the image.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paw Shop Crawling

I found myself on a side of town I don't frequent and when I was through with errands I noticed a pawn shop across the street. I walked over.

Nothing of interest. There was a Colt Lawman in the case with a horrendously overwrought price tag on it. Someone told the guy that a Colt was worth a premium, but for that price it should have been a pristine example. I'd rate the finish on this particular piece at under 50% and it looked like it had been ridden hard and put away wet. Literally. Meh! No Handi's, no left-hand bolts, nothing that stood out from the pack.

He had the usual assortment of RemChester bolt rifles and pump shotguns aplenty. Nothing there in any interesting caliber. No quarter bores, nothing of interest. If I find myself in the market for a pump shotgun I might be hack, but his collection of bolt rifles was positively boring. And overpriced.

Likewise there were a few Glock and Taurus semi-autos but no 1911s and nothing that piqued my interest.

I politely took my leave and pointed the truck toward home.

Beef Tips

Beef tips and gravy is an old-style entree for a family meal. It's folk food, designed to feed a crowd of people quickly and economically. It uses a plain cut of meat, traditionally the tip of the sirloin, but we use stew meat because we can't find sirloin tip. The recipe is super-simple when modernized. We use it when we're feeding grandkids and don't have time to cook. It's easy to cut down to a smaller amount and easier to bump up for a larger crowd.

Beef Tips

3 lbs stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
4 packets McCormick brown gravy mix.

We trim the meat and use a low-fat gravy mix. Dump the meat into the slow-cooker. Mix the gravy mix with water following package directions. This should yield four cups liquid. Pour the gravy over the stew meat, put the cover on the slow cooker. Turn the cooker on LOW and walk away from it for about eight or ten hours. You can stir it occasionally if you want to, but that's certainly not required. About fifteen minutes before you're ready to eat, make a pot of rice and put a can of something on the stove. We like either whole kernel corn or small English peas.

Supper doesn't get much simpler than that. Dump the meat in the slow cooker, add gravy, leave it alone.

But, it is so very good.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Music

Surfing Facebook, I came upon an old friend's music list, which caused me to reminisce about some of the great old songs from my past.

One of my favorites is Joe Stampley's tune, All These Things. It came out in 1976 and made the Billboard #1 hit that year. It 2002 I was at a concert in Jena, LA and Joe was playing as the headliner. He told the folks in the audience that if they had been born in 1977, this song may have provided the motivation for their conception.

It's still a great tune and Milady and I love dancing to it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog's been wearing that sweater almost non-stop and because today was a pretty day, Milady decided to wash it. With the sunshine on the deck and the temps mild, the dog was playing outside when I snapped this shot.

He's the Playin' in the Sunshine, Sunday Morning Dawg.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On the range

Don't I wish. There are no ranges available for public use in Rapides Parish. There are two under construction, but construction proceeds at a snail's pace. I'm told to be patient, to just wait a little longer, that things happen in time, but I'm impatient.

I'm not a club shooter and even the club shooters are having trouble finding a place to shoot.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about safety. I understand, probably more than many, the damage a bullet can do. I don't want to go into an unsafe area and endanger anyone.

All I want is a place to sit at a bench, hunker down over my rifle and be alone with my thoughts, my rifle, and my ammo. I don't care if there are another hundred people there as long as I can be alone with my thoughts. Where I can look out over the field and settle my crosshairs on a target. Feel the wind in my face and work on my squeeze.

Is that too much to ask?

I'm just about to the point where I believe I'm going to have to build my own range. It'll be 100 yards, with a good back stop and a solid bench. Where I won't have to worry about someone else's stupidity or bureaucratic inertia. It'll be something I can pass on to my kids. I think that's a worthy project.

I know just the place.

Friday, February 19, 2010

State Rankings

The Brady Bunch (no link from me) puts up yearly state rankings of how strong a state's gun laws are. They rank states based on a 100 point scale with the strictest, most stringent laws getting a higher score than laws that more nearly mesh with the Constitution.

I live in a very gun friendly state: Louisiana scored a whopping two (2) points on their scale. I had to scroll for awhile and we got two points because "Colleges are not forced to allow firearms on campus." If my experience on college campuses is any indication, it's true that colleges aren't forced to allow guns on campus. Most of them follow the common-sense idea that guns on campus aren't really a problem, and if it isn't a problem, it isn't a problem.

Just to give you some indication, Texas scored nine (9) points, while Massachusetts scored 54 points and New York scored 50 points. Pore ole California scored a dismal 79 points and Vermont scored 8 out of 100 points. The only state that scored better than Lousiana is Utah, with a total score of zero, null. The big -0-.

I love living in a gun friendly state.

Hat tip Say Uncle

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Taco Soup

Taco Soup is a dump and go recipe that's a quick hit with the grandkids. There's nothing to it.

Taco Soup

1 lb hamburger
1 lb bulk sausage
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can original Rotel
1 small can chopped green chilis
2 cans whole kernel corn
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans red kidney beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix.

Brown your meat. Drain it. Dump all the other ingredients on the meat and heat it. We normally let it simmer for a half hour or so.

Serve over corn chips. Garnish with shredded cheese.

Pilot slams Austin IRS building

So this guy goes off the deep end, burns his house down and crashes his Cessna into the Austin, TX IRS building.

Initially, they wondered what his motivation was for doing something like that.

Hell, I knew immediately what his motivation was. The IRS is a humorless bunch that generally treats people like garbage, won't listen to reason, and is not motivated by compassion or mercy.

Then, they find the guy's suicide note.
"Here we have a system thatis, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet it mercilessly holds accountable it's victims, claiming that they're responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand."
I understand his frustration. I've been there, done that.

The US Tax Code is so Byzantine that no one understands it. If you call the IRS, it's an even bet whether you'll get a correct answer or not, yet you're still held to comply with the law.

This guy is the best argument around for simplifying the tax code. If the Congress wants to change something they could begin by repealing the entire tax code and substituting something less than 10 pages, written in 10th grade English, entirely understandable and plainly written. That's change I could applaud.


I put a rifle on layaway yesterday. Another Handi-Rifle. I've watched this one sitting in the shelves for the past several months and decided yesterday to lock it down.

It's an SB2 Ultra Hunter, the one with the heavy barrel and the laminated stock. The caliber is .223 Remington. I've had a long association with the .223 cartridge through the military and police work. I've been shooting it since 1973, mainly through the AR15 platform. I don't reload for the cartridge, mainly because in the AR with iron sights, off-the-shelf ammo is easy to find and accurate enough for government work. It'll be interesting to see how the little rifle shoots with the usual run of commercial and military surplus (in that group I include the vast majority of imported ammo).

At some point I'll buy a set of dies for the cartridge. I was browsing around on the Hodgdon site last night and was surprised to find that IMR 4895 is suggested as a powder for the little cartridge. It turned in good velocity numbers with a high load density. I'm a big fan of IMR 4895 and use it in just about every cartridge I reload. It's a very versatile powder. While there are better powders for some applications, very few powders match the versatility of IMR 4895.

Small rifle primers might be a problem. We've still got the regional unpleasantness in the Middle East and they're burning a lot of ammo. Still, I'm not reloading for the cartridge yet, so there's no hurry. Heck, I don't even have the rifle off layaway yet, so there's really no hurry.

It'll be interesting to see how the little rifle shoots.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More recipes

I got an email today from a fellow in Carencro, LA, who has a cajun recipe site. I've browsed it and it seems to be put together nicely.

If you're looking for Cajun recipes, go give Hot Cajun Recipes a look. There are some things there that you might not have seen. For example, this Cajun Meatball Stew looks just like a recipe I'd cook occasionally back back when I was raising kids. It's a cheap way to make something routine into something new. That's what folk food is all about.

Which reminds me. I'm hungry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras

Today is Mardi Gras and while lots of folks enjoy the big-city carnival atmosphere, there are lots of smaller festivals being enjoyed all across south Louisiana.

Below is a video taken a couple of years ago at the Mardi Gras celebrations in Eunice, LA and Mamou, LA. The festivals are smaller but no less heart-felt. The end of the video is the Courirs parade in Mamou. In this traditional country celebration, the riders dress in costume and scour the rural areas for the makings of a traditional gumbo, then they parade through town and assemble to make the evening meal for the dance.

It's a slice of Mardi Gras that you don't see unless you get out of the city and head for the country.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Handi Basics

If you're new to the Handi-Rifle, the guys over at Greybeard's Outdoors have put together a Handi Rifle basic FAQ thread. In it you'll find a wealth of information on the Handi-Rifle.

For example, one of the quick tips for accurizing the rifle is to put an O-ring or neoprene washer between the forearm and the barrel, over the mounting stud. This tends to isolate vibrations and helps the rifle shoot better. There is also a great list of scope mounting parts and part numbers to make your search easier.

I was at Lowe's today and picked up a pack of O-rings. Installing one takes about two minutes and that's a quick, easy way to tighten your groups. Some rifles need it, some don't. Now, I've got O-rings enough for ten rifles. The rate I'm going I might need all ten of them.

Climategate U-Turn

That's not my headline, it's the Daily Mail's headline. It turns out that Dr. Phil Jones, the guy who headed the Climate Research Unit, has organizational skills that are "lacking" and can't account for data he's published.
The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.
However, the good professor goes further, saying that:
Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
Okay, let me get this straight. First he tells us he's lost the raw data, then he tells us that the medieval period may have been warmer than now, then he tells us that there has been no significant global warming for the past fifteen years. And this is the guy who was head of the Climate Research Unit.

A couple of questions. First, if he's lost the data, how can he be sure that the planet isn't getting warmer? If he had the data in the first place, how confident was he when his research predicted global warming?

This guy's supposed to be a scientist, yet he's giving us no real science.

I admit that there is anecdotal data that the polar icecap receded in the past several years. I will also admit that there is anecdotal data that Central Louisiana had two measurable snowfalls this winter. Neither one of those data points proves that the climate is getting colder or warmer. That's weather. Weather is local in nature and subject to variations from the norms.

Climate is global and requires hard data. Dr. Jones can't supply any data. Therefore, his hypothesis is bullshit. Interesting bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless.

It gets worse. Hot Air links to an article in the London Times quoting Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC. Dr. Christy says that an analysis of the data that does exist shows huge problems with the siting of temperature recorders and that the raw data is skewed. Siting is critical in taking temperature measurements and if the siting changes over time the data can become irrelevant. (Example: If you put a temperature gauge in a grassy field then five years later the field becomes a paved parking lot, the gauge will show increased temps, not because of climate change, but because the site is changed.)

Hat tip to The Smallest Minority and Hot Air.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Extreme Weather

On Friday it snowed. Not unheard of in Louisiana, but certainly unusual.

Then, this afternoon at about 5:00 p.m., it hailed. Again, this isn't unheard of in Louisiana but in February it's certainly unusual. Hail is normally a phenomenon of the summer. Those are pea-gravel sized hailstones on my deck.

Just Damn!

Calls Like This

One of the unchanging tenets of police work is that when you get a call you roll on it, and you're never sure what you're going to find. Something reported as a disturbance might turn into a murder and someone reported as a corpse might not be as dead as originally reported. I've been sent on public service calls that turned into burglaries. In short, you never know what you're going to find.

As in this reported incident.

**Sigh!** I'm sure the officer was glad that he didn't have to recover a deceased baby. I'm also sure that the officer had fun writing the report.

Hat tip: Curmudgeonly and Skeptical.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Several weeks ago, we clipped the dog's fur coat. Then the weather changed again, so he got cold. Shivery cold. He'd whine piteously when outside and scratch at the door in a manner calculated to melt the heart of the strongest human. He'd do whatever was necessary to have someone turn that accursed doorknob. He was quite pathetic.

So, Milady came home one afternoon with a sweater she'd found at the auction. Exactly dawg sized so that he could be warm while outside doing his business.

Here's one with him wearing it outside.

He's the stylishly attired, Sunday Morning Dawg

Saturday, February 13, 2010

.44 Saturday

This morning, my elder son and I went out to Momma's place to burn some brush piles. I figured with snow on the ground, if we could get the brush piles to ignite, we'd have an easy time controlling the fire.

As is our wont, we also took a couple of pistols. The Ruger Super Blackhawk and a Smith Model 28. Of course, I forgot the .357 ammo at home, so we were left with shooting the Blackhawk. That's not an unfortunate choice. There is a lot to like in the .44 magnum and the Ruger Super Blackhawk is a premier platform for that cartridge.

Some sample targets. First, six rounds with what I call "Skeeter's Load". That's a .44 Special loading with 7.5 grains of Unique under a 240 grain lead bullet. The charge pushes that big ole bullet at about 970 fps. It's enough of a load to know that you've got a serious handgun in your mitts, but not so heavy that it's punishing. It's an accurate load and adequate of about 99% of the handgunning that anyone does. The target below was shot at 15 yards, Weaver stance, off my hind legs. That's a 2" target dot.

Next we move to the magnum cartridge. This load is not a max load, but it's heavy enough that you know you're shooting a magnum. It's got that same 240 grain lead bullet, but it's pushed by 19.0 grains of Alliant 2400 and gives that bullet an average 1345 fps. Recoil is stout without being severe. We were shooting at the same 2" target dot at 15 yards, Weaver stance, off our feet.

This is the second range session I've given this revolver and I've not even adjusted the sights. I haven't decided yet which load I'm going to adjust the sights to, but that will be easily adjusted with a screwdriver when I have the opportunity to get to a proper bench.

Still, I was able to shoot with my son this morning, and that makes the day worthwhile. The brush pile? Couldn't get it to light off. The wood was soaked.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It's still snowing in Central Louisiana. We've gotten an accumulation of three or four inches and it's still coming down. The grandsons are loving it. They've never seen enough snow to do anything with and they're quite amazed. This morning before daylight we went out and I taught them the basics of snow-man construction.

This is a wet, sticky snow, perfect for snowballs and snow men. It's also heavy and I forgot just how heavy wet snow can be. So, we've sustained snow damage at PawPaw's house. Our gazebo took a hit. That was a light-weight metal frame supporting a canvas roof. It's still a light-wieght metal frame, but it's not supporting much.

Whether we'll rebuild it is problematic. I've got the equipment and expertise to rebuid the thing, but we may decide to go with something sturdier.

The weather weenies tell me that this is the first time since 1973 that we've had two measurable snowfalls in the same winter season. I'd just as soon we let that record go for another forty years, but the grandsons are loving it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wintry Mix

We're in the midst of a winter storm, in that it's been sleeting all day. The weather weenies are predicting snow tonight, and in these latitudes, that's something. I don't know if we'll get any accumulation, but it is sleeting outside right now and later tonight the bridges will freeze over. The morning drive is going to be a nightmare and those of us able to stay home will be indoors.

Luckily, the schools are closed tomorrow morning. This is a planned holiday, not a winter weather day. So, the cops on the beat in the morning won't have to worry about school buses moving around during the worst of the pre-dawn freeze. Hey! This weekend is Valentines Day, President's Day, and Mardi Gras all rolled into one weekend. Of course the schools are closed. I've got to work a ball game tomorrow night if it isn't cancelled and you can bet that I'll be on the phone tomorrow.

In the meantime, there is a big pot of beans on the stove and iced tea brewing in the coffee pot. PawPaw's going to stay home and watch the weather. Tomorrow morning might be a good time to reload some ammo, or cast some bullets, or anything that I can do in the garage.

No, I'm not going to make any global warming sarcasm. This is weather, not climate. I think the climate change folks are full of crap, but that has nothing to do with the weather.

Alexandria Indoor Range

I went by the Alexandria Indoor Range today on my way home from work. I had a few minutes to kill and thought I'd go see what the new range is all about.

Nice. Very nice. Ten indoor lanes, five of them programmable, it's set up as a 25 yard indoor range. While I was there, the owners were sorting fired brass and I picked up a bucket (maybe five pounds) of .45 ACP brass for $20.00. There is probably 250 pieces of brass in the bucket, so the price was certainly in line and I didn't have to pay any shipping. (editor's note. It turned out to be 382 pieces of brass. For $20.00)

They tell me they're going to stock reloading supplies, and we talked about the primer shortage. They've got a pro shop and they sell firearms, targets, all manner of shooting goodies.

If you're in the Alexandria, LA area, give these guys a chance to get your business. They're just starting out and I'd like to see them stay in business.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Earthquake near Chicago

They're reporting an earthquake near Chicago this morning. A 5.2 tremblor. No kidding. I bet that woke their butts up.

Chicago lies on the north of the New Madrid fault.

Dawg Mugged

Did y'all see this? It seems that someone mugged a dog in New York and stole the jacket right off his back.
A Brooklyn woman says a mugger stole a doggie coat right off the back of her mild-mannered terrier.

Donna McPherson says she tied up Lexie, her 10-year-old Westie, outside a Park Slope supermarket "for two minutes'' while she bought milk.

She heard a "funny bark.'' When McPherson went outside, she found the little white dog shivering. His green wool coat, with leather trim and belt, were nowhere in sight.
That's cold. Just plain-ole-low-down cold. The thief oughta be ashamed.

It is cold outside in Louisiana and the dawg is complaining about the weather, now that Milady clipped off his coat. I can imagine it's cold in New York. She did say that dog's got another coat, a Burberry.
McPherson said that, fortunately, Lexie wasn't wearing his pricier Burberry, but she bought two new coats anyway to make it up to him.
Well, if he's got a Burberry, maybe he won't freeze completely.

Buying a dog a Burberry. That ain't right either.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Takin' Notes

I see that some of the media is giving Sarah Palin hell for writing notes on her hand. Even Robert Gibbs mocked her today during a press conference.

Hell, I used to know a detective who took notes on his hand. He'd have to go to the copier and make a copy of his notes before he washed up for lunch.

I'm impressed that she can deliver a speech with notes written on her palm. Personally, I'd use 3X5 cards, but whatever works for her. There's another politician of recent note who had to use a teleprompter to speak to a 6th grade class. Another link from the liberal blog Huffington Post.

I like Sarah, and I don't see what the problem is with a public figure taking notes.

Stun the West

I see from several sources that the Iranians are planning something for February 11th. How do we know this? They're telling us.
Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is set to deliver a "punch" that will stun world powers during this week's 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, AFP reported.
There's a lot of speculation about what the "punch" might be, but the threat is there, and I feel it's real.
"The Iranian nation, with its unity and God's grace, will punch the arrogance (Western powers) on the 22nd of Bahman, February 11, in a way that will leave them stunned," Khamenei, who is also Iran's commander-in-chief, told a gathering of air force personnel according to AFP.
I don't know how he can be any clearer than that.

One thing's for damned sure. He might decide to lasso a tornado, only to find that he's got to reap the whirlwind. Ask Yamamoto about doing that.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Murtha is dead

Representative John P Murtha, from Pennsylvania is dead, arising from complications from surgery.

He's the one who famously accused US Marines of murder in Haditha, Iraq. He himself was a Marine officer who served in Vietnam.

He was also listed as one of the most corrupt congressmen on the Hill.

I won't be able to attend the funeral, but I might send a nice card of approval.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Who'd a thunk it? The New Orleans Saints have won the Super Bowl.

Congratulations, New Orleans.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog and I have been home alone most of the afternoon. Milady is out at an auction, helping our good friend Jerome Scott with clerking duties.

When it starts to get dark, the dog goes to the door and watches it closely. He knows that Milady is due home soon.

He's the waiting for Milady, Sunday Morning Dawg

Saturday, February 06, 2010

First Rounds

My second son and I took the new Springfield Armory out to our private range today to put some ammo through it.

First impressions. This is a combat pistol, plain and simple. Before we went to fire it, I took it apart. New firearms can be problematic to disassemble, especially if they're tight. This one isn't overly tight. You can field-strip it with the ten tools God gave you to use. It came apart by hand, just like a fighting pistol is supposed to come apart.

The first time I took my Kimber apart I had to use a bushing wrench to remove the barrel bushing. That wasn't the case with this pistol. The bushing turned easily with finger pressure. Likewise, some pistols have link tolerances that are tight and make removing the slide stop problematic. This pistol comes apart easily by hand. To my way of thinking, that's a good thing.

The good folks at Springfield Armory were concerned that the pistol might spend several months in the box before it was opened, so they made sure that it wouldn't rust. Everything was covered in oil. I wiped most of it off and put everything back together, then we went out to the range to put a few rounds through it.

There is one magazine packed in the box, so I dropped a couple of spares in the range box, along with an opened 100 pack of Winchester White Box 230 grain ball ammunition. This ammo is a standard, full metal jacket loading that has a muzzle velocity of 835 fps. It is basic .45 ACP ammo, used by millions of GIs and recreational shooters. This is plain-vanilla ammo and every .45 ACP should function with it.

First rounds, first magazine, the pistol failed to go into battery. I examined the gun and found that I had incorrectly installed the slide stop after I cleaned the pistol. My fault. I correctly installed the stop and five round's later we got another failure to feed.

That particular magazine was one of the spares I had dropped into the box. It's a magazine I have had several years and the plastic follower was worn out, it wasn't feeding the ammo properly. That's not the pistol's fault, that's the magazine. We isolated that magazine, got another spare and ran a couple of magazines through the pistol. Everything worked fine.

SO, we reset the target, paced off exactly seven yards and loaded two magazines with six rounds each. I told my son that I wanted two good targets at seven yards with a Weaver stance, shooting off our feet. For the record, and for Joey's information, those are 3" target dots.

I fired the first target.

Here's my son's target.

The results speak for themselves. This gun's a shooter.

Failures in a 1911 can usually be attributed to the magazine and today we found a bad magazine. That happens to the best of shooters. This gun is very accurate with plain vanilla ammunition, it's not overly tight as some high-dollar pistols are, it uses proven technology to put a heavy bullet on a target. This is the way John Browning designed the pistol to operate and I have every expectation that my grandson will carry this pistol into the next century.

Next year this design will be a hundred years old and has stood the test of time for a fighting pistol. The Springfield Armory GI 1911-A1 seems to be a faithful recreation of that timeless firearm.


Via the Dead Pelican, I am reminded that the New Orleans Saints are playing in a football game tomorrow. In New Orleans, the party has already started and parades are beginning for the Mardi Gras celebration that will culminate in 10 days.

I'm happy for New Orleans. Really, I am. However, they have an important decision to make today and I hope they got up early, went to the polls and cast a ballot before turning their attention to the carnival atmosphere in the city.

Voting is important and events have combined to distract the voters in New Orleans today. This is going to be interesting to watch.


My grand-daddy had a shop in the back yard. It was a magical place full of wonders for any young boy and a lot of the time I spent at his house was in or around the shop. In one corner he kept a pile of broomsticks and mop handles. When a broom or mop was no longer serviceable (meaning so threadbare that it absolutely couldn't be used) he cut the handle off and put it in the corner.

Anytime he needed a straight piece of dowel, he'd reach for the broomstick pile. That stack of sticks made all sorts of toys and tools over the years. It was a seemingly unending supply of material.

I likewise have a similar, though smaller, broomstick collection in my shop. As per the old man's example, I use those things for all manner of implement. Occasionally, the grandsons raid the pile and can be seen waling on each other in the yard. Boys!

Last week, Milady broke the head off of her mop. She leaned the handle near the back door in disgust and this morning I noticed it. I picked it up as raw material and took a quick look at it. There is no wood in the thing. It's some sort of poor quality steel tubing, not really fit to be used as anything but landfill material. Which is where it's headed.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Cajun recipes

My Momma sent me a link to a site that publishes Cajun recipes. The family is from New Iberia, LA. For those of you familiar with Longfellow's poem Evangeline, New Iberia in the very heart of Cajun country. It sits between Lafayette and St. Martinville, where the Evangeline Oak is located.

My grandmother's family was from New Iberia and Momma tells me that my grandmother was related to the folks who published this website, on the Dugas side of the family.

Here's just a little blurb from the introduction.
When using a recipe, look closely at the ingredients. If you see something in the ingredients that you and your family don't like or can't use then try to think of a substitute. The use of imagination, not being afraid of trying something new or different, and willingness to experiment is how to really enjoy food. We each have different taste buds, use them and your imagination to come up with something that is suitable for you. Make a meal "Your Meal".
I agree. There are very few Cajun recipes that haven't been modified, changed, adapted to fit the situation and the cook.

In many cases, Cajun food is "expandable". A meal that might comfortably feed six might have to be expanded to feed 10, if company showed up. In most cases, you can fix another pot of rice and feed a lot more people. Cajun food is folk food, using what is locally, seasonally available. When you're tasked with feeding a family and there isn't a grocery store just up the street, you've got to know how to stretch a food dollar and use what is in the pantry or growing in the yard.

I've bookmarked it for my use and if you're interested in authentic Cajun food, you might to do the same.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

GI .45

I've been looking for a plain-jane 1911 pistol and today in my travels I stumbled across one. No, it's not an original GI .45, but it's close.

It's Springfield Armory's rendition of the classic GI 1911A1 pistol. Of course, it's parkerized and chambered in .45 ACP. It's got the low-profile GI sights and the wooden US grips. It's a lot like the one I used to carry when I was a young lieutenant, except this one is a lot tighter than the one I was issued.

The first GI .45, nay, the very first pistol I ever fired was a 1911A1, made by the Ithaca Gun Company, probably during the Second World War. It was issued to me in 1976 at Fort Knox, KY, and I remember wondering if the slide should rock side to side like it did. I sat through several hours of instruction on the care and feeding of the 1911 pistol and then a very senior NCO gave us a quick course of instruction on firing the little pistol. We were issued two magazines and a box of ammo. I walked out on the line and fired expert with that old rattle-trap pistol. I had to turn that pistol back in to the school, after a thorough cleaning. I thought I was a hell of a warrior, firing expert with that old handgun.

Beginner's luck. I've been forever since smitten with the 1911 and ... well... sometimes I can't help myself. I'm not going to keep this one. It'll be gifted to a son who's been drooling over the 1911 I carried on duty for the past several years. I promised him I'd look around and today the stars aligned.

If he doesn't like it, he can give it back.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pawn Shop Circuit

I had an hour yesterday between school and a ball game, so I went over to my favorite pawn shop and asked the guys if they had anything interesting in the rack.

One nice SW Model 17-3. That's a K-22 and it had a 6" barrel. Priced about $500.00. I passed. I've got my .22s, but the K-22 is a fine target revolver. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Then, Joe turned around and took a sporterized 1903A3 off the shelf. Back in the '50s and '60's, 1903A3 rifles were common as dirt. You could pick one up for little or nothing and more than a few gunsmiths paid their bills by turning the old warhorse into nice sporter rifles. Some of the early Springfield rifles suffered from heat-treat problems, but this particular example was made by Remington Arms. Whatever unknown gunsmith had converted this one, he knew his work. The wood was immaculate and looked like it had grown to the action. Tolerances on the inletting, what I could see, was very, very tight. It had a Monte-Carlo comb, with a cheek piece, and the cheek piece was very slightly concave to nestle your face. It had a scope mounted, but it also had a front sight. It would be a fairly simple task to dismount the scope and add a peep on the rear.

I didn't look at the rifling, but the action was tight and the lettering was sharp. It was easy to tell that the rifle had been used, but it had been used lovingly. Whoever the previous owner was, he knew how to take care of a rifle. The price tag was just over $700.00, and I could probably dicker about that. I don't really need another .30-06, but here I am thinking about it at 5:00 in the morning.

Monday, February 01, 2010


I was surfing around, piddling with the blog and saw that I've never posted a gumbo recipe. I've talked a lot about gumbo, but never got down to posting a recipe. Let's remedy that, as long as I've got one on the stove.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.

One chicken, whole
1 lb link sausage, any type
couple of onions, chopped finely
couple of bellpeppers, chopped finely
1 stem celery, chopped finely
teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 cup oil
1.25 cups all purpose flour

That's about it. You can get fancy if you want to, and add other things, but this is a basic gumbo recipe.

First, clean the chicken, taking out all giblets and boil it in a stock pot. Cook the chicken thoroughly, drain and set aside. Save your broth. Half of the flavor of that chicken is in the stock you just made.

Make a roux. Roux is an oil and flour mixture, cooked on medium high heat on a stove, traditionally in a black iron skillet. There is a good tutorial here. I like a dark roux for my gumbo, but I know how to make a white roux, a medium roux, and a peanut-butter roux. When your roux is done to your liking, set it aside to cool. It'll continue to cook when you take it off the heat, so you'll need to continue to stir it for a few minutes.

Slice your sausage into rounds, and put it in whatever pot you're going to use to make the gumbo, begin cooking it, stirring regularly, add the garlic, stir, then add the vegetables. You're going to let this cook on a medium heat, stirring regularly, until the veggies are cooked through, clear and sweet. Then, turn it down and add a little chicken broth.

Peel your chicken from the bone, adding the meat into the gumbo pot. Add the cooled roux and enough chicken broth to give the gumbo the proper consistency. It should be a soup-like concoction. Salt and pepper to taste, then turn the fire down and let it simmer for an hour.

Junior has a great recipe for a tomato based gumbo. He says it's traditional to put okra in gumbo, and my own mother made a lot of gumbo with okra. I can take it or leave it.

Here's what my basic gumbo looks like:

Make a pot of rice. Gumbo is traditionally ladled over rice. Serve with iced tea and crackers, or garlic bread. Or brown and serve rolls.

Who Dat?

It looks like the NFL is backing down on the Who Dat controversy, basically admitting that Who Dat and the Fleur-de-lis logo are both in the public domain.

Part of it might have been letters from both of our senators, who righfully stood up for the good people of Louisiana. I especially like what Mary Landrieu told them:
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said it is "unfortunate that the NFL is exploiting a phrase that has been part of Louisiana's culture for more than a century. Who Dat Nation deserves better. I am exploring several options to sack the NFL's greediness, including removing the league's tax exempt status."
That had to sting.

I didn't know that the NFL has tax-exempt status. If our President is looking at a way to increase tax revenues, how about taxing the NFL? To the tune of about 30 percent? Why is it that the ultra-wealthy NFL is tax exempt? Good question.