Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Birthday

We hosted a birthday party for a grandson today, our boy Ethan is 12 years old. Cake, ice cream, presents, we had it all.

After the traditional festivities the kids scattered to play and our little one, Elyas, found an old tricycle that my sisters will recognize. Our parents bought it in the early to mid '60s, along with another larger one. They stayed at my parent's house until they retired at which point I took possession. Three generations of children have played on this tricycle and with any kind of care, I'm sure it and its larger copy will live on forever.


We also had the baby here this afternoon and Milady had to get her infant fix.


It was a good afternoon for a birthday party.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Milady continues to get stronger following her hospital ordeal and the dog is luxuriating in her attention. Last night the dog piled up in her lap to get some scratching and seemed to go into a trance with the experience.


Milady says that next week she's making him an appointment at the groomers. He's overdue for a hair-chopping. Still, he likes his scratching.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

At the Auction

Milady felt like going to the auction today, so she and I went over and wandered the merchandise to see what might be available. I've always enjoyed decanters and I have a small collection of decanters that I've picked up over the years. Anytime there are decanters on the auction block I take interest to see what they might be worth.

I found a cut glass decanter, about eleven inches tall. When I picked it up, I felt the heaviness of good crystal. A very good friend wandered over and said that he believed it was part of a set, with water pitcher and that the seller wanted $40.00 apiece. I told my friend that I'd gladly pay $40.00 for the decanter, but I didn't want the pitcher. He did want the pitcher, so we agreed to split the set. While looking at the decanter, I noticed the distinctive Waterford log0 on the bottom rim of the piece.


For those of you who don't know Waterford crystal, it's an old Irish firm that makes extremely fine crystal. I'd expect to pay over $200.00 for this piece retail. While I'm happy pouring whiskey straight from a bottle, and serving it in Dixie cups, I do think that serving it from a nice decanter lends a certain touch of class. I think it'll look good on my server.

Gumbo

We're celebrating a grandson's birthday tomorrow, and one tradition is that we let them choose the menu for the lunch meal before the cake and ice cream. So, Milady asked the birthday boy what he wanted for lunch.

He replied without thinking, "PawPaw's gumbo."

This morning I'm preparing that gumbo. I'll put it in the fridge when I'm done, and let the flavors combine. Tomorrow I'll take it out of the fridge, re-heat it, and serve it over rice. Gumbo always tastes better the second day.

Bullet tests

My buddy Junior has a new article up at Castbullet. He's been playing with his Thompson Center Contender and evaluating bullets by shooting them into wet newspaper.

It's always interesting to play with shooty things and Junior's got the pictures to back it up. I think it's interesting that he got a core separation with the Nosler BT bullet at 1725 fps. I've used that bullet for a long time at velocities much higher than that. I don't believe I've ever shot anything but paper with it, but it's good to see how it did at velocities much lower than I normally shoot it.

Go read at the link above. The article doesn't allow comments, but you can come back here and comment if you want to.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gas Prices

With the turmoil in the Middle East, gas prices jumped a dime yesterday in my little town. Libya is a damned mess and Saudi Arabia is surrounded by countries in turmoil.

I notice that the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf is still in place. Oil reached $100 a barrel yesterday and there's not telling where it's going today and tomorrow.

We're still not out of the recession that began with the collapse of the financial institutions and inflation is beginning to rear its ugly head. For lots of families money is tight. An increase in gas prices isn't going to help anyone.

We can lay this one directly at our President's feet. With the mid East in turmoil and the drilling suspended in the Gulf, it's easy to see that supplies are going to be stretched and prices will increase. The President should have called this one months ago. He's certainly got better briefings every day than I do. We should be drilling everywhere that we've got oil. Drill the Gulf, drill the Pacific, drill off Florida.

The problem is, if he released the permits today, we'd still be months away from production. We should have been drilling these places six months ago. America needs to be energy independent and that's going to take time and effort. Our President has shut down much of what we need so that we can continue to move forward. The problems in the Middle East might not be his fault, but the moratorium on drilling is his fault.

When you pay that extra dime at the pumps, know that our President is only doing what's best for America.

Baseball and Softball

This week begins baseball and softball seasons for the high schools in this area. Like many in my generation, I grew up playing baseball. I'm a southpaw, so I played first base and did some relief pitching. There were more than a few summers when my glove was a constant companion.

The girls have a game tonight, and tomorrow night, the boys open their season with a double-header. PawPaw will be at the ball park both nights, so look for blogging to be spotty or non-existent. Duty calls.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just A Little Bloody

It seems that Democratic Congressman Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) thinks that union protesters should get violent. We're talking real violence here.
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members. …
Is this the new civility I'm hearing so much about?

In a side note, I'm noticing that the state senators from Wisconsin are still AWOL, and it looks like some legislators in Indiana are also denying their government a quorum. San Fran Nan thinks that's just great.

Is this the new face of the Democratic Party? Malfeasance and violence?

Oh, Please!

This is the way these idiots think.
House Speaker John Boehner is being blamed by NBC's David Gregory, the Los Angeles Times editorial page, Salon writers and others in the media for not doing enough to dispel suspicion Barack Obama may fail the test for natural born citizenship and constitutional eligibility for office.
So, it's Boehner's problem that our President can't find his birth certificate? These people are beyond the pale. Was it Nancy Pelosi's fault when Bush was being castigated for being in the National Guard instead of the regglar Army?

David Gregory and the entire editorial board of the Los Angeles Times should be considered morons. Old-style morons. Under 70 IQ morons.

I swear, that's just about ignorant.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lucas

Milady and I drove into Grant Parish this evening to see our newest grandbaby, Lucas. He was born on January 12th, and Milady went into the hospital on January 25th, so we haven't seen him in a month or so.

He's growing and eating and crying and doing all the things that newborns do. Milady had to feed him because that's what grandmothers do.


After he was fed, we were able to play with him for a few minutes before it was time to head back to our house. Lucas is our sixth grandson I don't know that any of them will ever favor us with a grand-daughter, but we'll do the best we can with the boys.


It was good to see the young'un.

Libya

The news from Libya is both confused and distressing. Many sources claim that the military started to crack down and violence ensued, but some reports are that parts of the the Libyan Air Force have flown to Malta rather than fire on Libyan civilians.

With the recent events in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, I'm amazed at how tenuous the grasp of power was and how quickly the strong-men folded when faced with popular opposition. There is a lesson there for all of us. Those who live in the United States should thank their Maker that our differences are handled during elections.

I'm reminded that during our own revolution, less than 3% of the population ever actually took the field against the British.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm smart enough to know what comes next for the people of Libya, nor even the people of Egypt, Tunisia, or any of the other countries in the region. If you're a Christian, pray for the good people of the region that they might throw off their oppressors and live in peace.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gun Lubricants

There's a lot of information on the gun boards lately about proper gun lubrication. While many of us want to properly lubricate our firearms, I've got to remind everyone that firearms are simply machines and the lube industry has been making good solvents and lubes for many years. There have been thousands of guns with multiple decade lives that ran on a simple combination of kerosene solvent and 3-in-1 oil as a lubricant.

Most industrial lubricants are manufactured in huge quantities by the lube companies. There have been huge leaps in lubrication science over the past twenty years, and most of those have an automotive or industrial application. Put simply, would a lube manufacturer rather sell lots of good motor oil, or relatively tiny quantities of gun oil?

That's not to say that some of the gun lubes aren't very fine lubricants. But, I'd bet that the vast majority of what we call gun oils can be found also as industrial lubricants, simply repackaged in smaller quantities for the home hobbyist. In this article, Grant Cunningham explains the general qualities of a good gun lube. He sums it up very succinctly:
Let's be clear: there are no "new", "revolutionary" lubricant products made for firearms. That's a flat statement, and it's intended to be. All of the lubricants, bases, and additives of suitable use are already well known to the lubricant industry. Specific combinations might be unique, but it's all been tried before - if not necessarily on guns.
And there you have it. There are good oils, solvents and greases out there, and most of them can be found in any good auto-parts store. The newer ATFs (auto transmission fluids) are very good boundary lubricants. As are the newer synthetic motor oils. Some guys are using Mobile1 motor oil almost exclusively on their firearms. A quart will last a long time, and you can use it in your lawnmower too.

I use Hoppe's solvent for cleaning, but that's simply tradition on my part. I also use CLP for some lube tasks, but I'd be just as well served by using a good Dexron ATF. I've got a tube of white lithium grease that I bought at an auto parts store several years ago. I paid $1.19 for it, and I've still got most of it.

Most folks don't know it, but the Alox we use to lubricate bullets is an industrial lubricant. One grade of Alox is used to resist corrosion (rust) on large sheets of industrial steel. Alox is currently made by the Lubrizol Corporation. The folks who sell Alox for bullet lube buy it in 30 gallon barrels and repackage it for the gun trade. In just a few minutes online I found one guy who's doing just that. He called it White Label XLox and sells it in larger bottles. I might have to give him a call.

Don't be afraid to use a good quality oil or grease on your firearms. It doesn't have to say Gun Oil on the package.

Sunday afternoon

It's a beautiful spring day in central Louisiana, so after church I went to the store and bought a bunch of sausage, buns and fixins. Came home, fired up the grill and fed my son, his girlfriend, and a bunch of kids. Hot dogs, bratwurst, hot links, 'tater salad and chips. My son and I broke into the beer locker. About an hour ago, they headed home.

I'm reclining in the easy chair watching a movie on TV while Milady naps in the bedroom.

This is the way every Sunday afternoon should be spent.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Some days the dog won't cooperate. Won't look toward the camera for hell nor high water.


He had an adventure Friday afternoon. I heard a noise in the street, a school bus blowing its horn. I went outside to check on the commotion and the dog scooted out between my feet and headed for the bus to see about the excitement. He's a lot faster than I am, and before I could catch him, he had run across the front yard and jumped up in that bus.

He figured that if they were blowing the horn, they wanted him to come out and take a ride. The bus driver captured him and handed him back to me. I still don't know why they were blowing that horn.

He's the riding-the-school-bus, Sunday Morning Dawg.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Budget

The House passes a budget bill and our President threatens to veto it.
President Obama has vowed to veto the House bill, which seeks to cut at $61 billion in federal spending for this year.
Last years Congress couldn't even go to the trouble of passing a budget, so the government is running on continuing resolutions.

Perhaps it's time to look at this graphic. It lays out the problem better than any I've seen in a long time.


If we use the internet wayback machine, we learn that the Democrats decried President Bush's 2007 budget as "debt and deception".
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said Bush's budget was ``filled with debt and deception.'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it would ``mortgage our children's future to the president's misguided policies in Iraq.''
President Bush's budget that year was 2.7 trillion.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blind Tiger

Milady and I were talking tonight about things that interested us and she said that when she was young, the Jena Times would often run a police blotter and the term Blind Tiger was bandied about as a charge. She wondered where Louisiana got that name for a bootleg joint?

So, I went to the Louisiana Law and found in RS 26:711 that a Blind Tiger is defined as:
A "blind tiger" is any place in those subdivisions of the state in which the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited where such beverages are kept for sale, barter, or exchange or habitual giving away, whether in connection with a business conducted at the place or not.
So, the name has a connection to Louisiana law.

We turn next to Wikipedia and learn that during the semi-prohibition that exists in certain parts of the various states, it was customary for such establishments to have an unusual animal in the joint. If a customer paid a fee to see the animal, then the tavern would throw in a cocktail free of charge. They weren't selling alcohol, they were giving it away. In some parts of the country, these places were called Blind Pigs.

Such is the culture you find in PawPaw's House when the bar is open.

Happy Hour

I got home an hour ago, did some housework, then declared Happy Hour.

Have y'all been watching what's going on in Wisconsin? It seems that the people elected a Republican legislature and governor, and now the Democrats in the legislature have decamped to other states, denying the quorum needed to balance the budget. The new Governor, Scott Walker, has dispatched State Police to go to the lege's homes to try to get them to return to the capitol so that business can proceed.
Walker isn’t kidding around. And the longer Democrats refuse to participate in the legislative process, the more their petulance will erode their already-faltering standing among voters who take elections seriously.
The people elected a Republican legislature and now the Democrats are attempting to block legislation by simply not showing up to do the state's business. It's childish at best. Petulant is a good word. It's like the old metaphor about the kid who couldn't win at the sandlot game, takes his ball and goes home. We used to call kids like that ChickenShit, and that's maybe a better word for how those officials are acting.

Now, it seems, our President has injected himself into the debate in Wisconsin, and his minions are trying to influence the outcome, to the detriment of the elected governor and legislature.
The president's political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.
The legislature in Wisconsin is trying to balance the budget and is making hard choices that will benefit all of the citizens of that state. Public employees are being asked to contribute to their own retirements and they're balking at the responsibility. Our President has no business injecting himself into the debate.

Indeed, our President should be making the hard decisions that will help balance our national budget. He seems unwilling to do so.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunday Alcohol

We've all known our share of blue laws, those laws that purport to tell us what we can or cannot do on a given day of the week. From Hot Air, we learn that Georgia is going through a nut-roll about alcohol sales. Fair enough. They need to go through this debate ever year until they repeal those ignorant laws.

I've been in those states where you had to buy booze down at the gummint likker store, and I always thought that was a bit silly. The free market will figure out how to sell whiskey if you let them. For that matter, the free market will figure out how to sell whiskey even if you don't let them. The biggest auto racing league in the nation, NASCAR, was founded on the backs of guys who ran bootleg whiskey during the week and raced their cars on the weekend. I have a very good friend who once ran a bootleg operation out of a store in a dry parish here in Louisiana. He sold a lot of hooch out of that store.

You can outlaw it, but you're not going to stop it. The easiest way to get around blue laws is simply to stock up during the week when you're allowed to buy your hooch.

I'm a big a church-goer as the next guy, and I firmly believe in our God. But I don't believe that He wants the government telling me how to observe the Sabbath. The government has no business telling me how to observe the Sabbath, and any clergyman who says otherwise is a hypocrite. You can tell them PawPaw said so. Or, give me their emails, and I'll tell them myself.

Home again!

Milady was discharged from the hospital today and I've got her at home. She doesn't feel like dancing, and it'll be a while before she does any high-kicking, but she's here where I can worry about her in the comfort of our home.

Things should get back to normal pretty quickly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Careful

Be careful what you pray for. I'm reminded that the Iranian President, Achmed Imadiinnerjacket, (or whatever his name is), cheered the revolt in Tunisia and Egypt.
Hours before President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11 and Cairo reverberated with cheers, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech to mark the 32nd anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution, said Egypt’s uprising heralded “a new Middle East” without Israeli and U.S. interference.
As it turns out, cheering the popular revolts in other countries might not be the best idea for someone who is seen as a despot and a bit of a tyrant. Some are reporting on popular demonstrations in Tehran, with one news source calling it Total Chaos. From the Washington Post:
TEHRAN - Crowds of demonstrators battled security forces armed with tear gas and batons during a surprisingly large anti-government protest in the Iranian capital Monday that drew inspiration from the recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
It'll be interesting to see the response from the White House. As one blogger put it:
Obama, if you screw this one up, history will never forgive you. Think about that. You will never be forgiven by history. You're the president of the United States of America. Swallow your pride. Get rid of that clown Clapper, get rid of all the incompetents advising you, and get an experienced A-team in the White House, now.
As my Momma always said, Be careful what you pray for. I'm betting Dinnerjacket wishes he'd have kept his mouth shut.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Open Carry

Breda talks about the open carry of firearms, and I admit that I have certain reservations about open carry, although I carry openly on a regular basis. No, not because I'm a cop, but because I spend as much time as possible in the woods, and I carry openly when I'm cruising the lease. This is just about as Open Carry as you can get.


That's me, carrying the rifle. What you don't see is the Ruger Blackhawk under the jacket. It's appropriate and mannerly. As Breda says, manners matter. I believe that Emily Post would agree with that sentiment. Generally, it doesn't do any good to alienate people, and an "in-your-face" attitude about anything tends to alienate people. That's not good marketing.

I've been to Decadence in New Orleans, a big festival of and for gay folks. It's a huge hoot, but I can see how some people are put-off by the in-your-face attitude. Just as I'm put-off by in-your-face racial attitudes. It's not good manners, it's not good marketing, it's not good for the movement.

I'm a huge advocate for folks exercising their rights. Whether it's gun rights, gay rights, racial right. I'm also realistic enough to know that many times, attitude matters, manners matter, marketing is important. In all social activities, if you're making someone uncomfortable, you're probably hurting your message.

Draconian budget cuts.

So, I'm wondering how Draconian these supposed budget cuts might be? For that matter, if Draco ever cut a budget?

Turns out, Ron Paul is recommending that we cut spending by a paltry $500 billion. Chump change.

I think that it might be instructive to run this old graphic again.


How about we re-adopt the '07 budget and use it as a baseline?

Sunday Morning Dawg

With Milady in the hospital, the dog is feeling a bit neglected. The doctors have said that if everything goes well, I can bring her home tomorrow, and that will make me very happy. It will make the dog very happy as well.

Looking at the dog through the filter of a lens, I can see that he's getting a bit shaggy. It will soon be time for his semi-annual haircut. Whenever I come home, the dog wants to play with his ball. This is normally the view that I get when I step in the door.


He's the playing-with-the-ball, Sunday Morning Dawg

Saturday, February 12, 2011

GOProud

For those of us who don't pay attention to these things, there is an organization of gay folks in the Republican Party. They call themselves GOProud. As it turns out, I have gay friends, but not much Gay-dar. The conversation normally goes something like this.

Me: "I really enjoyed seeing Bill today. He's a nice guy. I'm glad we were able to see him."

Milady: "Yeah, he's a great guy."

Me: "I wonder why I never see him with a woman? Seems like he'd make a great catch for somebody."

Milady: "He's gay, you idiot."

Me: "oh."

And, as these things turn, it seems some groups boycotted the the Conservative Political Action Conference last week because GOProud attended. Which is just stupid. We've got bigger things to worry about than whether or not someone happens to be gay.

Military takes Charge

I see that the military has taken charge in Egypt, and from what I've read, the military is trusted by the Egyptian people. The difficulties of forming a democracy from a dictatorship are well known, although I'm not sure if Mubarak was a dictator in the classic sense. He did outlive his welcome, though. It's best to change diapers and politicians often, for the same reasons.

However, there's this one picture that keeps showing up and it brings back memories for old tankers like me.


That's an M60 series tank, the last type that I qualified on. I can't tell if it's an M60A1 or an M60A3, but it's almost impossible to tell those types if you're not in the turret. The M60A3 had a much improved fire-control system, with wind sensors and an improved computer. It was the last of the old M60 series before we transitioned to the M1 series tanks. I was still tanking when the M1 came out, and the gunners compartment of that tank looked like a fighter jet cockpit to us old diesel-breathers. We called the M1 tankers "Star Wars" tankers because of all the electronic devices they had at their command. However, if the tank didn't work, it didn't work and they pulled it off the line.

The old M60 series had redundant systems, in the form of two main sights and other devices that helped us use the tank when things started going wrong. It was called "degraded gunnery" and let the tank keep fighting when stuff started breaking. We even had a small blasting device that would fire the main gun if all of the electronics were dead. We didn't need all those electronics to fight and could continue the fight when things started breaking. We were "Jedi tankers" and the force was strong with us.

Nowadays all my tanks are statues. You find them parked at places like Fort entrances, VFW halls, and Honor Parks in small towns. I climbed up on one just a couple of months ago and identified it as an M60A3 because it had a fitting to mount the wind sensor on the turret, which wasn't a feature on the A1 series.

All my tanks are statues, so when I see one being used, I perk up. I'm glad that the Egyptian military is a friend of the people.

Note: Before I get a bunch of comments, the M60A3 had three identifiers from outside the tank. First, the wind sensor on top of the turret. Second, the M60A3 had a laser rangefinder, and the rangefinder bubble on the port side of the turret was welded shut. Third, the main gun on the A3 had a thermal shield to protect the gun from the sun. A main gun barrel has a lot of metal in it, and when the sun moved across the sky, the tube would heat differently on the sunny side vs the shady side. This produced a phenomena we called "tube droop" and would affect long range ballistics.

And yeah, on old tanks, things were identified by port and starboard. Go figure.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That .45-70

I got an email from Junior yesterday. Junior is my dear friend and co-owner of Castbullet.com The meat of the email was:
If I were you, I'd hunt your pipeline deer stand with that Sharps rifle next season. I've wondered all this past season why you didn't do that???
Of course, once he said that, it got me to wondering.

And on top of everything else, it got me to hankering to get that Sharps out and start playing with it. The bore is still bright as I've been pushing rods down the barrel occasionally, but I haven't shot that rifle in about five years. I'm not convinced that the ladder sight I have on it will be the best for the deer woods. Set up like it is now, it's more a target rifle than a deer-stand rifle. That tiny hole in that peep sight needs the light to be just right or it's awfully hard to squint through the l'il bitty hole.


I've been thinking about Sharps rifles and deer stands all day long. It's a good thing that I've got eight more months till the deer season. I guess it's time to get reacquainted.

Home Again

I went to the hospital today to see Milady, and the news is good. They're talking about pulling the tubes tomorrow, and she's hoping to come home for the weekend. That would be lovely, simply spectacular, and I sincerely hope that nothing happens to delay her departure.

On the way home I stopped at Popeye's for some chicken. I got a three-piece, white, spicy, with Cajun rice. On a whim, I got the dawg a six-piece nugget box. He's been a good boy and is really missing Milady too. So, while I ate my chicken, I fed him nuggets. He seemed to enjoy that and he's on the carpet now, looking for crumbs. I don't think he's hungry.

Situation Confused

So, what's going on in Egypt. First we hear that Mubarak is stepping down, then we hear that he's not. Then we hear that Suleiman is taking some of his duties, then there's rumors of a military coup.

That country is in a hell of a mess.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Students for Liberty

While I was surfing around, I found this video from an outfit called Students for Liberty. It's rather right-wing, but it's also basic economics. Plus, the spokesperson is easy on the eye.



I happen to agree with her that if we could get rid of Depts HUD, Energy, and Agriculture, that would be a good start. Throw in Education and we're on a roll.

I notice today that the Republicans in the House are rolling out a list of spending cuts.
The cuts go after common conservative targets, including the Environmental Protection Agency and Amtrak, but also cover everything from law enforcement to NASA. The proposal was released ahead of a private meeting between Republican House leaders and President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner said afterward that the group discussed the cuts at the meeting and that Obama signaled a desire to find common ground on spending.
I bet that they'd do better to watch this student video, then just start by cutting Housing, Energy, Agriculture, and Education.

Who else has a list of Fed Gov agencies that we can cut? I might even put Homeland Security on that list.

Wintry Mix

Weather continues to be the key topic of conversation around Central Louisiana, as another storm moves in with a wintry mix and threat of icy conditions.

The Highway Department has gone into freak-out mode, closing highways before the ice hits. According to this article, the elevated span of I-49 over Alexandria will close before dark, and the bridge over the Red River at Boyce will close the same time.

I feel like it's an even bet whether or not we'll have school tomorrow. Our superintendent isn't afraid of the weather, but if the bridges freeze over, all bets are off. You can bet I'll check the school district website before I pull my boots on tomorrow morning.

In just a few more minutes, I'll head toward the hospital. Milady still languishes there. I'm hoping that the docs will have good news for the late rounds.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Tiny Cabin in the Woods

From Junior:

A social worker from a big City in Massachusetts recently transferred to Mountains of Tennessee and was on first tour of her new territory when she came upon the tiniest cabin she had ever seen in her life. Intrigued, she went up and knocked on the door.

"Anybody home?" she asked.
Yep," came a kid's voice through the door.
"Is your father there?" asked the social worker.
"Pa? Nope, he left afore Ma came in," said the kid.
"Well, is your mother there?" persisted the social worker.

"Ma? Nope, she left just afore I got here," said the kid.
"But," protested the social worker, "are you never together as a family?"
"Sure, but not here," said the kid through the door. "This is the outhouse!"

I've seen some tiny cabins, and some folks have asked me when I'm going to put a flush toilet in my deer stand. As soon as Justiss Oil runs water out there, I'm adding on!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog spends nights in the laundry room where he has his bed and his bowl. I let him out in the morning when I'm making coffee and when I sit at the computer to check email, he comes over for some scratching.


Here, I'm scratching his back while he props-up against my leg. He loves his scratching and will normally stay here until I get tired and quit scratching him.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Saturday Night

I understand that there's a football game tomorrow. Maybe I'll catch the highlights, but I don't think Milady is going to be watching from the hospital. Years ago, I was a Green Bay fan, but there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

Milady and I met at a Super Bowl party in 2001, so the Super Bowl is our "first meeting" anniversary. We always try to do something special on Super Bowl Sunday, but her current health status is going to preclude that this year. I told her to think about what she wants for lunch tomorrow and after church I'll make sure that she has it. Come hell or high water, whatever she wants to eat is hers.

The doctors are talking about a new procedure to help heal her lungs. It's a surgical procedure and they're still weighing risks against expectations. They'll make a decision next week and I'll get to sit in surgery waiting until it's over.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Suddenlink Still Sucks.

I awoke this morning to a dark house. That's not unusual, but a quick look outside showed it to be truly dark. The electricity was out. No problem, I got up, let the dog out and began my day, contemplating how long I might be without juice, then saw a CLECO truck roll down the road. About 7:30 the lights blinked on twice. Then off twice. I decided to go see Milady at the hospital and brought her a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

About 10:00 I called the house and got the answering machine, which told me that the electricity was working, so I came home to do laundry. I got the laundry going, then came in to surf the web. HA! That wasn't likely. I turned on the TV and got a neat message that our service couldn't be found, but that I should call Suddenlink and tell them.

So, I called Suddenlink. Waited about 20 minutes for a nice fellow named Robert to come on the phone.

Me: "Hey, Robert, it's a good thing that I don't have my phone bundled on Suddenlink service."

Robert: "Uuuh, why's that, sir?"

Me: "Well, Robert, if I had a Suddenlink phone I couldn't call to tell you that my service is out."

Then I proceeded to chew on Robert's butt for a while. He couldn't tell me why my service was out, but he thought it might have something to do with the weather.

Weather is something we have every day. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. Weather is no reason to have bad service. Yeah, we got a little ice this morning, but if those Suddenlink folks had realized that we have ice occasionally, maybe they should have been trimming lines all summer. Make sure that the trees can't get into the lines. They're not proactive, they're reactive, which is another reason that Suddenlink sucks.

You all might remember the post I did earlier on Suddenlink service? A young lady, Tina, in comments told me that she worked for Suddenlink and asked me to email her with my concerns. I wrote her a long email detailing my feelings about their service, and she has yet to respond to my critique. Yet another reason that Suddenlink's customer service sucks.

If Suddenlink was really interested in customer service, then when my service was out, they'd call me before I had a chance to call them. They'd tell me what caused the problem, what steps they were taking to solve the problem, and when I could expect to have my service resumed. That would be good customer service.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Freezing Rain

We're getting our first wintry mix in Louisiana. A gentle rain is falling and immediately freezing to exposed surfaces. Those things like roadways are still warm enough that the rain doesn't immediately freeze, but things like my lawn chairs are coated in ice.

A thin skim of ice doesn't bother some folks in more northern climes but here in sub-tropical Louisiana, it shuts us down. The bridges are closing, one at a time and the elevated portions of I-49 are already shut down.

Milady is inside at the hospital, warm, safe and secure. She's still hurting, but beginning to chafe at the inactivity of laying in bed all day long. I take that as a good sign. I left there at about 8:00 p.m. and I'll go back in the morning as soon as the roads thaw out. PawPaw is at home safe and secure, and the dog is being fed saltine crackers.

We don't do ice real well, and I bet that y'all don't do hurricanes real well. It's all what we're used to, and we ain't used to this.

Still in the Hospital

I'm still running between the house, the hospital and the job. It's worth it, because my sweetie is worth it, but blogging suffers as everything I've got is focused on my sweetie.

She's making progress, getting testy with people which I take as a good sign. She's impatient to be well and I certainly understand that feeling. I just called and she wants a McDonald's frappe when I come to the hospital. That's little enough, I suppose, so I'm happy to provide that for her.

The referees decided to come back to work, after pissing off everyone that deals with high school sports. They didn't get their pay raise, but did get a commitment to consider it. The other thing that they want is increased respect. Tough. You can't demand respect, you've got to earn it, and they lost a bunch of it over the past week. If they want respect, they're going to have to earn it one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Referees Throw Temper Tantrum

Our basketball referees are on strike. It seems that the LSHAA turned down a pay raise for them, so they got pissed off and are conducting a work stoppage, at least in four districts across Louisiana. Alexandria is a part of one striking district.

Louisiana basketball refs are the lowest paid in the nation. They knew that when they took the job. Rather than agitate for higher pay before the season, they waited until late in the season to make an issue of it.

Do the ref's deserve better pay? Let me submit the facts to a candid world and you make make the decision. Referees generally work three games per night, and they're paid $31.00 per game, with a small travel stipend. So, a referee at a high school basketball game can expect to be paid $93.00 for a night's work. They want to increase the salary to $40.00 per game, for a grand total of $120.00 per night. Whoopee. I can certainly understand the rationale for more money. Hell, I'd like to make more money.

However, the referees are just one part of a game. To conduct a successful high school basketball game, you need two teams, the coaching staffs, duty school personnel to work the doors, a janitor on hand to clean up spills. You also need personnel to run the concession stand and generally there are police officers there to keep the peace. We need the fans, who pay for the tickets, we need the fans most of all. Without the fans, we can't do any of this, because basketball has to pay its own way.

The referees don't have any responsibility but the conduct of the game. That's it. They show up for the first game, and leave immediately after the last game. At the schools I'm familiar with, a ref gets to the school at about 5:00 and leaves before 9:00. Less than four hours and they're the first ones out of the door. This is part-time work for them and we're glad to see them go.

We thought that we could get referees from other parts of the state to work scheduled game, so that EVERYONE ELSE wouldn't have to adjust their schedules. No, we've got to use these refs or none at all, so we're having to re-adjust everything to cater to the whims of the spoiled referees. It seems that they don't care about the kids, the schools, the pending playoffs, they don't care about anything but their paychecks. They've shown their true colors and deserve to be treated with the contempt they've shown for the rest of us.

The referees in the Alexandria Officials Association are acting like spoiled brats. We should disband the whole organization and start over with folks who care about more than a paycheck.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

SuddenLink Sucks

SuddenLink communications is the most aggravating outfit I've ever dealt with. I came home from the hospital tonight to find that my television is out. Oh, I get basic cable, but the channels I normally watch are infected with the Blue Screen of Death.

So, I get out the phone book and call Suddenlink. No answer on the phone. None at all. So, I go to their website and look for a customer service number. None listed.

I finally go to another website and find a service number. Let me repeat that. I've got to go to another website, one not affiliated with Suddenlink to find a service number. While I'm there, I complete a customer service survey, and give them zeros across the board.

I guess I'll call the Public Service Commissioner tomorrow morning.

If I had the extra money, I'd buy a billboard that says: Suddenlink Sucks!

ObamaCare ruled Unconstitutional

It seems that a Federal Judge in Pensacola, Florida ruled yesterday that the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. He bases that on the individual mandate, and says that there is no basis in the Constitution to compel an individual to buy anything. IN his opinion he likens the individual mandate to the housing market. If we'd compel everyone in the nation to buy a home and finance it with a mortgage, then the homeless problem would go away. We all understand that the example is naive, but the devil is in the details, and this Act is all about details.

So, we now have two Federal courts ruling that Obamacare is constitutional and two Federal courts ruling that it's unconstitutional. This case is headed to the Supreme Court, and the Supremes better do their homework when deciding this turkey.

Running through the House

Running through the house is about all I've been doing the past several days. Between the demands of the job and worrying about Milady at the hospital, I can only be here a couple of hours a day, and the dog needs attention too.

Milady is getting a little bit stronger every day, but she'll be in the hospital for several days. I'm not concerned about how long she might be there, just focused on her recovery.

The job keeps rolling along. Sporting events dominate the evening schedule. To top it off, our Lord has decided that we need another dose of winter weather. It's supposed to be rugged in Central Louisiana today. No, we're not getting the snow, ice, or sleet that the center of the nation is getting today, but we do have damaging winds and hail in the forecast.

If you're looking for news, pay attention to what's going on in the Middle East. Do a little critical thinking and try to decide what that is going to mean for things like petroleum prices. Then do a little more critical thinking and try to imagine how that will affect almost everything in the United States. What's happening in Egypt today will affect the rest of the Middle East and that will affect every one of us in ways that you might not imagine.