Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

It's the last day of 2013, and I'm glad to see it go.  It's been a heckuva year, with lots of work, lots of changes, lots of frustration and aggravation.  It's also been a year with a lot of love, a lot of joy, and a lot of fun.

I've got errands to run today.  Milady is working till noon-ish, and I have to make a grocery run.  Gotta get the fixin's for cabbage, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.  In these parts, it's a traditional New Year's feast.  Cabbage for luck, black-eyed peas for frugality, and cornbread for humility.  I'll cook a pork tenderloin or roast, because... pork.

Not that cornbread is humble, but it is a southern staple and source of pride.  The eternal controversy of adding sugar to cornbread splits families and friends.  Some say that sugar in cornbread is heresy, some say that cornbread isn't complete without a taste of sweetness.  Milady makes a dandy cornbread, and she normally makes two batches, at least when the grandkids are about.  One pone without and a bunch of Jiffy sweet muffins for the grandkids.

I don't know Milady's recipe, and I bet that if I asked her, she could tell me the ingredients but the amounts would be in question.  She just makes it.  Goes into the kitchen, stirs some stuff together, puts it in a black skillet and makes it.  The best cooks work like that.  Some cornmeal, an egg, a little milk, then cook the cornbread.  It's not magic, but it's close, and they don't think about it.  Like putting on socks in the morning, you just make cornbread.

This is also the day that I traditionally clean my blogroll, that little list of blogs on the right sidebar.  Blogs and links I read, if not every day, then several times a week.  If you're interested, go over and click on some links.  Good stuff there.

When Milady gets home at noon, we'll rest for the evenings celebration.  I'm not completely sure what we're doing tonite, but we always do something on New Year's Eve.  Christmas is for the family, and New Year's is for us.  We got formally engaged on New Year's Eve (when she proposed to me), and we keep that night special.  We'll drag in tonight after toasting the New Year, then get up tomorrow and finish cooking the meal.  Lots of family and friends over tomorrow for the New Year's feast.  Cabbage and peas are cheap, so we're cooking plenty.

Happy New Year's everyone.

Monday, December 30, 2013

More Shooting Pics

As promised, some more shooting pics from yesterday's outing.

Snap shooting is an important part of practice here in our thickets.  Here, my youngest son is engaging a 100 yard target with a .308 bolt gun.  Yeah, he's a southpaw, and he has a left-handed rifle, but he wanted to try the Remington..  And, he hit the 100 yard gong, which is plenty good for whitetail deer or hogs.  All of my sons are very good shots.

In this family, you can't be afraid of recoil.  Eldest son's wife with my 7.5 inch Super Blackhawk in full recoil.  She's not shooting magnums, but she does have a cylinder of Skeeter's Load, which is the load I most use in that gun.  A 240 grain bullet pushed to 1000 fps is plenty good medicine for most handgunning tasks.

A view from the firing line, toward the target butts.  Behind those hangers is a berm made with blow-down trees, wood chips, dirt, anything  we can put on that berm.  It's a measured 100 yards from the chair to the swingers.

Inconvenient Truth

I don't know how many of you have been following this saga, but there is a team of scientists trapped in the ice off Antarctica.  As National Geographic explains:
The ship, the M.V. Akademik Shokalskiy, is waiting for emergency help—though help might take some time to come, given a blizzard that pummeled the area. The ship locked up in the ice on Christmas.
Getting stuck in Antarctic ice is a problem, and they've had two rescue cutters trying to get to them, but without much luck.
 An Australian icebreaker on Monday suspended efforts to reach the icebound research ship because of adverse weather. The Aurora Australis got within 10 nautical miles of the ship, but then turned back.
Never fear, it looks like someone is going to land a helicopter on the ice, as soon as weather permits, and evacuate the passengers and crew.

As I sat shivering in my deer stand this morning, I was reading about this disaster, then it suddenly occurred to me that in the Antarctic, it's summer.  And, these are climate scientists.  Stuck in the ice during the Antarctic summer.  The irony is simply delicious.  Are they experiencing weather, or climate?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Shooting

My daughter told me that she wanted to do some shooting today, so we slipped off after lunch for an impromptu family shoot at our private range.

That's darlin' daughter trying on my Smith and Wesoon Model 66.  She likes that gun a lot.
Then she tried her brother's Ruger Security Six.  She liked that too.

We had other shooters as well.  Like grandson Elyas, trying out his BB pistol.
He ate the center out of that target.  Shooting glasses, indexed finger, his Dad is teaching him well.

Grandson Jeffrey had to try out his new rifle.  I gave it to him for Christmas, it's a Remington 700 ADL in .308 Winchester, and I've had that rifle since 2011.  All my rifles are destined to belong to the grandkids, and I though it was his turn.
He's hitting well with it and it should serve him properly the rest of his life.

That's enough for now, I'll post some more pictures later this week.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog and the cat continue to harass each other, becoming fast friends.

The cat eating, while the dog pesters her.

The two of them wrasslin' in Milady's chair.  It looks like the dog has the upper hand, but looks are deceiving.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday

Got up this morning, way before daylight.  Made a thermos of coffee.  Went hunting.

Got to the stand before daylight.  Settled in.  Heard something on the roof of the stand.  Rain.

Dammit.  Watched squirrels pack off all my corn.  Deer ain't eating it, I guess the squirrels can eat it.  Deer are bedded down in the rain.  Only fools out here are me and the squirrels.

Sat in the stand till 10:00, said the hell with it.  Filled the feeder with fresh corn, put in fresh batteries.  Went back to the truck.  Called it in.  Milady said that she wanted a burger for lunch.  Picked up burgers on the way home.

Probably going to sit in my easy chair the rest of the day.  That is all.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Naming Tanks

The Muse tells a story about the lead tank that broke the siege at Bastogne.  It was named Cobra King by its crew, assigned to Company C, 37th Armor, 4th Armored Division.

Photo courtesy of Army.mil

It is a Sherman Tank  The story at Army.mil is here.  Known as the M4, the Army had over 19.000 issued during the Second World War, but this little blog post isn't about the M4, it's about naming tanks.

For some strange reason, tank crews like to name their tanks.  Normally, the first crew gets to name the tank and that name sticks with it throughout it's life in the unit.  When a tank goes back to depot for re-fitting, it gets a new paint job and the next crew that gets the tank gets to re-name it, but if one tank commander leaves a unit, a new tank commander comes in and tries to rename the tank, it's considered bad luck.  Bad juju, a harbinger of disaster.  The one rule is that the tank's name must start with the letter of the assigned Company.

I was assigned to Company C, so my tanks were named ChiTuKemu (don't ask, I never figgered that one out) and Cap'n Krunch (after the breakfast cereal.  When I took the platoon, my tank was ChiTuKemu, but after several months it was sent to depot for a rebuild and I got a replacement tank  My gunner, Sgt Ramirez, got up on the front of the turret, (the turret face, or ablative) and felt gingerly with his fingers.  He knew that whatever that tank had been named, the depot hadn't sanded it away, only painted over the name, so he searched with fingertips and a flaslight.  Then he climbed down and announced to the world that the tank's name was Cap'n Krunch.  As a young, brash lieutenant of Armor, I was considerably dismayed that my tank was named after a breakfast cereal for children, but Sgt Ramirez was already on the front slope with a can of black enamel, so I deferred to the more experienced tanker.

Three months later, we took Cap'n Krunch downrange and began tank tables for annual gunnery quals.  That tank (and Sgt Ramirez, Specialist Elliot, and Private Dudley) helped me get the first of several qualification badges to sew on my tanker's jacket.  Still, I had a tank named after a breakfast cereal.

Hat tip to My Muse.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ham Bones

Part of the Christmas tradition is a ham or two, depending on the crowd that shows up to eat.  Normally, I cook a spiral-cut ham, but this year I was gifted two smallish hams that we cooked for Christmas Eve.  This morning I took the remains out of the fridge and worked on reducing them to a more manageable size.


That bag on the left is almost a gallon of sliced ham bits that will be used in sandwiches, omelets, and recipes for the next several weeks.  That bag on the left is two ham bones, with a small amount of meat on them.  Those bones are very important to next week's festivities, because Milady always cooks blackeyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day, and invites all and sundry to our humble feast.  Those ham bones will go well in those peas and cabbage, adding a special flavor that can't be captured with any other seasoning.

Yeah, the sliced ham has a couple of rings of sliced pineapple.  Those rings were a garnish for the glaze, baked on the ham, and I didn't think that it would hurt to include them in the bag.  But, those lovely ham bones are the real attraction for any good Southern cook.  You can season a lot of simple food with a ham bone.

Back At It

Christmas is over, and the detritus is pretty much cleaned away.  The tree is still up, and will remain so until later this week.  It's time to settle back into a routine, but we've got plenty of things left on our calendar until the New Year.

Later today, I'm going to help brother-in-law mount a TV to a wall.  I've done a fair amount of carpentry over my lifetime, and I'm pretty comfortable with hand tools, but I've never screwed a TV to a wall.  BIL bought himself a huge-ass TV for Christmas, and we're going to take his less huge-ass TV that was in the living room and mount it into the bedroom.  Like he needs a 42" TV six feet from the soles of his feet.  Still, I get it.  He watches a lot of TV, and he loves his apps, so that he can check weather in far-flung places.

I've never screwed a TV to a wall, but I know all about joists and brace-points and lag bolts.  So, after this post, I'm going to do some YouTubing and get an idea of how to do this right.  I'm thinking that a nice bubble-level might be a good idea, so I've got to remember to put one of those in the car.  Now that I think about it, I've got a stud-finder in the toolbox, that might be a good idea too.

After we get the TV mounted.  we're going to drive an hour up the road, and go see the lights in Natchitoches.  Natchitoches, LA, puts on one hell of a Christmas display every year.  It's quite festive, and while we're reviewing the lights, we'll stop in Momma's Restaurant for a bite of seafood.  I haven't been in Natchitoches for a couple of years, after having lived there from 1981-2002.  It'll be nice to walk on those brick streets again.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Reba McEntire



Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Reading the internets between chores, I am reminded that in 1968 we had astronauts orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve, and they transmitted the famous Christmas Eve broadcast from lunar orbit.



That was back in the day when you could read the Bible over government radios.

Whether Christ was born on December 25th is open to historical interpretation, and frankly, I've always doubted that we know the day He was born.  Still, we should designate a day to celebrate, and that's tomorrow.  Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cheer!

It's shaping up to be a busy Christmas, quite the celebration, and I'm looking forward to it.  Several years ago, Milady and I chose Christmas Eve as our portion of the celebration.  We've assembled family and friends at our house on the 24th.  After dinner, we'll let the grandkids open their presents and we'll share our gifts, along with our table for the opening of the celebration.  Which reminds me, I need to take the hams out of the freezer.  (Okay, that's done, where were we).  Oh, yeah, Celebration.

We picked Christmas Eve several years ago, simply because it gave us a chance to have the grandkids over. After they leave our house, they return home so they can awake on Christmas morning to their own tree and their own presents, and later that day they can participate in their assorted in-laws celebrations.  As most of them live within an hour or so, this is very convenient.

Which left Milady and I with a quiet Christmas day.  Some Christmas days, I'd never even get out of  my slippers, sip on egg nog and nibble on leftovers.  This year, though, we've been invited on Christmas day to Milady's brother's home across town.  He's cooking a Turduckhen, which is a turkey stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a duck.  I'm sure it will be a wonderful entree, and I'm looking forward to sharing the day with my wife's family, who I consider my own.

But, the big event hereabouts is tomorrow, and PawPaw has a list of things he must accomplish.  I'll get busy with that, and take this moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Song

The incomparable Kathy Mattea.



Merry Christmas, everyone.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Rainy weekend, with lightning and thunder and the dog doesn't respond well to heavy weather.  All he wanted to do was lay on the floor by Milady's chair and pretend that the weather didn't exist.

It's okay, pup.  The rain will be over later today and we'll have a great afternoon.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Adulthood

Ed Driscoll, over at Pajamas Media, is talking about Pajama Boy, and they're trying to decide how old Pajama Boy might be, at least the image they're touting.

They are trying to make the point that Pajama Boy must be at least 27 years old, because he could stay on his parents insurance until he reached his 27th birthday.  Good point.  To my mind, a kid that's 26 and still on his parent's insurance is a severe case of arrested development.  (To be fair, we're talking about the PR image here.  The guy who modeled for the photo might be 24, rides a Harley, and skydives after a successful tour in the military.  I doubt it, but we're not talking about the person, we're talking about the image.)  The image shows a wimp.

This must be a fairly new development.  Let me show you another photo, taken in 1978.

That young man is 25 years old.  At the time, he had completed a bachelor's degree, been commissioned, lead a tank platoon, been an executive officer, and was sitting for a command photo.  He was a father, a husband, and a company commander.  He commanded Co D, 2nd Bn, 4th Bde, at Fort Knox, KY, and his command included almost 350 trainees and cadre.  He considered himself an adult, and so did the Army.

Pajama Boy?  Not so much.  He needs to nut up, grow up, and get out of his mother's basement.  Pajama Boy is a frigging wimp, and he's not representative of anyone I know.  I have a nephew who is about his age, with two tours in the sandbox (US Marines) and a bachelor's degree.  He ain't a wimp either.

Pajama Boy's parents did him a huge disservice when they didn't kick his ass out of the house at age 19.  President Obama does the youth of our nation a grave disservice by infantalizing them until age 26.  It's a damn shame.

Deer Hunting

I awoke this morning with ever expectation of watching the sun rise over the deer woods.  The Mule is loaded on the trailer and hitched to the truck, the rifle is cased and the backpack is loaded.  I woke up at 4:00 a.m.. and put on a pot of coffee, then went outside to look at the weather.  I immediately got rained on, then came back inside to check the radar.  Oh, hell.


It's misting, spitting rain out there right now, and I'm not nearly as concerned about those deer as I was when I was a young'un.  If the weather plays out like I expect it to, we'd be right in the middle of it on the return, with plenty of rain and thunder, and lighting, and who knows what other weather goodness.  I think I'll sit my sorry, 60-year-old butt at home today, and pester Milady.

Remembering my youth, today would be a magnificent day for an early duck hunt.  This wether pattern is excellent for moving ducks.  An unseasonably warm day in advance of an energetic cold front, and the ducks move, trying to find shelter and feed in front of the weather.  When I was a duck hunter, I'd look for exactly these conditions, and high-tail it out  to the duck blind whenever they presented themselves.  However, I don't even own a duck blind anymore.

Oh, well, we'll go check on those deer next week, after Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Birthday

On this day, 60 years ago, PawPaw fell kicking and screaming into this world.  In celebration of this event, Milady bought me a new flannel shirt and a new flannel jacket.  I've been told that this jacket is NOT for working on small engines, or wearing to the deer camp.  I now have a flannel jacket that I can wear in public without embarrassing her, and I should endeavor to keep it presentable.  We'll see how long that lasts.

It's been a hell of a run, and I hope it lasts a few years longer.  Tonight, I'm going to a sit-down restaurant and eat a big steak.  I'm a lucky man, have much to be thankful for, and just for today I'm going to enjoy a respite from worrying about the news or imposing my opinion on an unsuspecting public.

PawPaw's celebrating today.  I'll get back to this later.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blind Hog Finds Acorn

Chris Mathews, over at MSNBC.  You remember him?  The guy with the tingle in his leg?  Yeah, him.  He's worried about the anger in America today.  As reported by Hot Air.
No, I think it’s about that other, fiercer emotion these days: Fear. Downright fear. People in this country, are lot of them are afraid of what’s happening in these early decades of the 21st century. Just afraid. … They worry about the national debt that’s growing right on past the size of our economy itself. They see the Congress year after year unable to stop spending more than it takes in. … And this makes people angry. It makes them mad. The number one solution to this country’s rightward shift, to all the craziness out there, is for those of us in the center and on the left to get control of our government. Firm, rational, progressive, grownup control…
Firm, rational, progressive, grownup control, huh, Chris?  Yet you shilled for Obama, not once but twice.  Firm, rational, grownup control?  That's funny, right there, I don't care who you are.

Phil Robertson and Pajama Boy

Okay, lets talk about this.  Two iconic images this week, first from the ObamaCare .  We've got pajama boy wearing a onesie and talking about insurance.

Then we've got Phil Robertson, who was recently suspended by A&E for his unabashed defense of Christian values.
Now, for the record, I know nothing about pajama boy.  I'm sure that he's a fine, upstanding, pillar of his community.  And, I don't watch Duck Dynasty.  It doesn't air at a time that's convenient for me to watch it.  But I'm also sure that Phil Robertson is likewise a fine, upstanding, pillar of his community.

Yet Phil got fired (excuse me, suspended) for sharing an opinion.  What did he say, among other things?
… “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
… ”We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
So, Phil's got an opinion on homosexuality, and it got him fired (excuse me, suspended) after he said that he didn't judge, that he loves everybody, and he'll let God be the arbiter between heaven and earth.  In the meantime, Phil will love everybody and pray for them, his opinions aside.  That sounds terrible, doesn't it?

You see, the article I linked makes the argument that there are two Americas, and I agree.  We've got the elite, urban America that wears onsies and we've got rural, fly-over America where we pray for everyone, even folks we disagree with.  And some of us wear onsies.  I think I saw my sister wearing a set, once.

I don't understand what Phil said that was so wrong, and I don't understand why the urban, elite America thought that Sarah Palin was foolish, or why they think that guns are bad, or why having an opinion that is outside the politically correct meme du jour might be a bad thing.

Ed Morrisey has a pretty good take on it, over at Hot Air, and I like some of what he says.
That’s what makes this decision by A&E so absurd. Duck Dynasty is clearly on their schedule for the latter purpose — because the Robertsons are so different from their target audience that they may as well be aliens.  That’s fine for the Robertsons, who have a large following, and A&E too, for that matter, even if it’s not my taste.  I wouldn’t demand that they stop airing reality television; I’m just not going to participate in it, that’s all.
Which also serves to highlight the two Americas argument.  Phil is on reality TV because he's real, and his reality conflicts with the political correct reality to the point where it seems almost... alien.  But, Phil's views are very mainstream to a big part of America.  I'm not proposing that this is a First Amendment issue; the government isn't censoring Phil, the network is doing it.  The fact that they're firing (excuse me, suspending) him for his mainstream views only highlights the hypocrisy of them putting him on a REALITY TV show in the first place.

A&E doesn't have a clue about reality.  I haven't watched them in years, and I don't watch Phil unless I happen to surf across him.  But I respect the man, I share a lot of his beliefs, and I'd love to share a duck blind with him.  We'd let pajama boy come too, but he'd have to dress better, and he'd have to bring the hot chocolate.  He might learn something about the other America.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The End of Lead Bullets?

That's what Fox News is trumpeting, that lead bullets will be a thing of the past in several years.
Whether by state or federal regulation, or by market forces, lead bullets will be all but phased out within a few years in favor of so-called green bullets, experts say. While many believe that this will help the environment by keeping lead from contaminating groundwater, others say switching to copper-based bullets will cost hunters and sportsmen more and have little effect on the environment.
Yeah, right.  They're not taking into account the hundreds of thousands of us who cast our own bullets from lead scrap.  I'm not likely to stop that any time soon.  I've heard good things about the all-copper bullets from places like Barnes and Nosler, but I don't have any intention to stop using lead bullets.   If it's plumbous, I'm apt to make bullets from it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Arapahoe Shooting

Breitbart is reporting that a school resource officer was instrumental in ending the Arapahoe shooting in 80 seconds.
While Pierson was able to critically wound one student, from his first shot to his last, the only life that was lost was his. Robinson said "a critical element" in this scenario was the deputy who ran toward "the noise of gunshot," when "many would run away from it."
Robinson said the deputy "went to the thunder," which brought him to the library where Pierson was holed up.
On the way into the library the officer directed students to "get down" and let everyone know he was a "county deputy sheriff."
Hooray for the brave deputy who works the schools.  It's a thankless job sometimes, with long hours and very little acknowledgement. But, when it comes time to earn the pay, you earn it all at once.  As I've said before, being an SRO is a great job, right up till the second that it isn't.

This guy should be promoted, given his choice of assignments, and have honors showered on him.  He did good, and I'm here to sing his praises.  Eighty seconds.  I wonder how long it took for the adrenaline dump to subside?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just Another Monday

Not much to report today, it was just another Monday at the schoolhouse.  While surfing around today I did notice that a federal judge whacked the NSA over their metadata mining program.  That's good news.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records likely violates the Constitution, in a major setback for the controversial spy agency. 
What this might mean in the long run is up for grabs, and whether a sitting district judge even had reason to look at the program is questionable, but I'm happy that the judge is on our side.  Evidently when he asked some direct questions from the NSA and they blew him off... well, it's never a good idea to blow off a judge.
But in his a 68-page, heavily footnoted opinion, Leon concluded that the government didn't cite a single instance in which the program "actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack."
"I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism," he added. 
 When the judge asks you a direct question, and you don't provide evidence, don't look for your program to go well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Trimming the Tree

We're late this year, but after lunch, I dragged out the tree and Milady pressed the grandkids into service, trimming the tree and getting ready for the season.  We've got the grandkids presents wrapped and ready to go.  PawPaw is on schedule for this year.

That looks pretty good for a tree decorated by grandkids.  I think they did a pretty good job.

While unwrapping other things, they found my elf hat, which I always pack in the same box with the stockings.

I got it at the Dollar Store a couple of years ago.  The question is whether I'm going to wear it at work this week.  There's always that possibility.

I think I'm going to pour a celebratory drink and relax in the glow of the tree.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog and the cat continue to hang out on the back porch.  The cat seems to take particular pleasure in aggravating the dog.  The dog, for his part, tries to maintain his dignity while ignoring the cat.  Like this.


Studiously ignoring the cat while the cat prances and preens around him.  Occasionally, though, I get the feeling that his aggravation is coming through.


I got that snap by simply holding the camera down close to him and firing blindly.   Y'all have a great Sunday.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Song

One of my favorites.  Fur Elise, by Beethoven.



Who is Elise?  No one's sure.  They have their suspicions, but they're not sure.

Junk Science

I am reminded that five years ago today, Al Gore told us that the North Pole would be completely ice free.  Of course, we all know that's not the case.
As was the case for October 2013, sea ice extent for November 2013 remained within two standard deviations of the long-term 1981 to 2010 average.
On the other hand, Cairo (Egypt, not Illinois) experienced the first recorded snowfall in over 100 years.  Yeah, the planet seems to be heating up according to Al Gore's schedule.

 One wag on a forum I frequent wondered if Al had been in the Middle East, what with all the cold weather they've been having lately.  It's a lot of fun to talk about the Gore Effect, but that's probably junk science too.

Fire Ant Art

The red imported fire ant is an invasive species that lives in the Southern US, among other places.  Here in Louisiana we face a constant battle with the damned little ants, striving mightily to keep them out of our yards, pastures and woodlands.  You can't completely eradicate them, but you can make them pay the price for setting up their house on your land.

As a bullet caster, I'd sometimes have an alloy that wouldn't act right, had too much trash in it, or for some reason was unsuitable for bullet casting.  When I'd get an alloy I couldn't use, I'd sometimes pour it down a convenient ant hill.  We'd let it cool, then dig it up, wash the dirt out of it, and the kids could see the intricate little tunnels that the ants dug.  The kids learned from the exercise and I eradicated one ant hill.  Win, win.

It seems some guy is doing this with aluminum, which is still cool.



All the usual disclaimers apply.  Don't try this at home, molten metal is hot, your mileage might vary.  Don't pour molten metal into your boots, keep away from children, etc.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fundamental

Last November, the voters of Louisiana approved an amendment to our state constitution making possession of a firearm a fundamental right, subject to strict scrutiny.  What does that mean?  We're still figuring it out.  Two days ago, though, the Louisiana Supreme Court offered a narrow opinion that sheds some light on the question.  Mr. Justice Clark, writing for the majority, said:
After reviewing the statue under a strict scrutiny analysis, we hold La. R.S. 14:95.1, as applied to a convicted felon still under state supervision, does not unconstitutionally infringe upon the right to bear arms secured by article I, section 11 of the Louisiana Constitution. The district court’s ruling that La. R.S. 14:95.1 is unconstitutional is reversed. The district court's ruling granting the defendant's motion to quash the bill of information is reversed. This matter is remanded to the district court for further proceedings. 
So, it appears that our convicted felon law still applies to persons under state supervision.  Will it apply to those folks who have completed their sentences?  We don't know yet.  That question and others will have to work their way through our court system for clarification. Those questions will make life interesting for the police and prosecutors, but we're up to the challenge.

Let Freedom Ring.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In Other News

In other news, water is wet.  My thanks to JWF, who links to this article, where Kathleen Sebelius tells us that she wants an investigation into the botched ACA (ObamaCare) rollout.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a blog post early Wednesday that she is asking the department's inspector general to investigate the contracting process, management, performance and payment issues that may have contributed to the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov.
Really, Kathleen?  You need an investigation?  I can tell you what contributed to the flawed launch.  Management.  You screwed up.  You screwed the pooch on the rollout in an unbelievably incompetent manner.  You had three years to get this right, and you botched it.  You, dear heart.  The singular you.  You yourself were responsible and it's a rolling disaster that some wags have dubbed The Fail Fractal.

The very first lesson of management I ever learned, Kathleen, is that an organization will do what the boss checks.  Evidently, you didn't check.  You didn't manage, you didn't cajole, problem-solve, or lead.  Worst, you let your boss find out about it through the news cycle.  You screwed up, Kathleen.  You.

You deserve to be cashiered, Kathleen, and probably tried for malfeasance.  The only saving grace (for you, not the rest of us) is that your boss failed, too.  It's like a huge onion of fail, with more fail as you peel layers.  So, here's what happened, Kathleen.

The President failed to properly supervise you.
You failed to properly supervise the managers under you.
Those managers failed to properly lead their units.
Those units failed the American people.

There's no need for an investigation.  This is a management failure, purely and simply.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bad-Teries

It's easy to tell a cold snap, because vehicle batteries die.  A month ago, my daughter called me and told me that her car wouldn't start.  She was in the Wal-Mart parking lot, so I grabbed some tools and went to her assistance.  Sure enough, a quick look at the battery revealed it was five years old, so I put a battery in her car.  Easy-peasy.

Two weeks ago, I tried to start my work car without success.  Lifted the hood, saw that the battery was six years old, so I went to the parts house and bought a battery.  Such is my karma.

An hour ago, Milady called me.  She's stuck at work, the Explorer won't start.  She purchased that vehicle brand-spanking new in the autumn of 2009.  That battery is four years old, and Ford probably didn't put a five-year battery in that vehicle.  Guess what I'm doing this afternoon?  You guessed it.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Neutered Cat

The little cat that adopted us went to the vet's today for neutering.  It's one thing to be adopted by a cat, it's something else entirely to find a litter of kittens living under your deck.  My daughter-in-law works at the vet office and got us a deal on a neutering job, and I'm very grateful for that.  The cat's a little groggy, so we'll leave it in the carrier until Milady gets home in another hour.


The cat is in no particular distress, but I bet that it is no mood to play, and Beau is worried sick about his cat.


They've become fast friends, and Beau can't figure out why that cat won't come out and play.  He's going to worry himself (and pester me) until Milady gets home to release the cat.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday Song

Chloe Agnew, of Celtic Woman.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's been a crazy week, with house guests both human and pet.  It's been fun, but crazy, and the dog has had plenty of playmates.  This morning he looked at me as if to ask what's happening next?


I don't know, pup, we'll just have to see.  As long as we're keeping family sheltered and safe, we're doing good.  Things should get back to normal really soon.  Whatever normal is.  That's subject to change at any time.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Knife Rights

Knives and the Second Amendment.  By David B Kopel, Clayton Cramer, and Joseph Edward Olson.  It's .pdf file, but it's worth the read.

Remember

Today is the 72nd anniversary of the day that the United States found itself finally, irrevocably, embroiled in Word War II.   When the naval forces of Japan launched the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Today was a defining day for my father's generation, just as the Kennedy assassination was a defining day for mine, and the September 11th attacks were a defining day that my children will always remember.

Today is a day that will live in infamy.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Cold Day

It's been cold today.  Rainy, drizzly, a clammy cold that sinks into your bones.  The weather snapshot doesn't tell the whole picture, because it doesn't show how miserable this type weather makes us in subtropical Louisiana.


Normally in December, it's not this cold.  Many times on Christmas Day I've worn a simple long-sleeved shirt and slacks.  Tonight we're cold and the temps will get under freezing, odd for this early in the winter.  I'm glad that we didn't get the ice that was predicted earlier this week.  Louisiana doesn't do well in an ice storm.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Two Sleeps

Instapundit leads me to an article on the history of sleep, where for much of our recorded existence, we've slept twice a night.  Generally two or three hours, then wakened, then gone back to sleep until morning.
His research found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk. We used to sleep in two shorter periods, over a longer range of night. This range was about 12 hours long, and began with a sleep of three to four hours, wakefulness of two to three hours, then sleep again until morning.
Cool!  I do that sometimes, going to bed early, then waking for an hour or so, then falling back to sleep to await the morning alarm.  Milady and I do this frequently enough that we call it "vampire-ing".  As in "I vampired for a couple of hours last night.

As I understand the article, sleeping eight full hours is a fairly recent invention, since the time that electric lights were invented.  It seems that our forefathers thought that sleeping twice per night was perfectly common.

Cool!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Mule

As far as I can recall, I've had the Mule about seven years.  The choke cable has become quite stuck, which is problematic when you're trying to start it on a cold morning.  Also, the designers at the Kawasaki plant tried to make it easy to use the choke cable, but they routed it so that it's a huge pain to replace.  So, I started casting about for a quick fix.

On looking at the engine, I realized that the choke lever and cable points directly to a body panel.  A quick disassembly of the choke cable, a quick hole punched in that body panel, and a short section of mild steel rod, and I can pull the choke from the driver's seat.  After the engine is started simply releasing the loop in the  rod releases the choke, since it is spring operated.  Easy, peasy, about a half-hour job, including figuring out just exactly how I wanted to route the rod.  It may not be beautiful, but it's certainly simple and workable.


Here's a picture.  Sorry about the focus, it's getting darker, earlier.

It ain't pretty, but it's darned sure workable.  When I grab that little ring and pull, the choke opens.  When I release it, the choke closes.  Now, maybe I can start it when it gets cold.  Until I can find a choke cable.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Sleet?

The weather weenies over at Weather Underground are calling for ice pellets (sleet?) for Friday night/Saturday morning.  Really.

Of course, this is right at the bitter edge of their forecasting powers.  Friday night is 72 hours out, and I've never seen a weather man that could predict what is going to happen in three days with any degree of certainty.  Still, a "wintry mix" storm would be quite early for these latitudes.  I can't ever recall icy precipitation in Central Louisiana in December.

We'll see.

Abolish the TSA

Professor Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, has an article at USA Today, where he makes the case for defunding the TSA.
The 9/11 attacks worked because they caught people -- used to theatrical hijackings that didn't kill anyone -- by surprise. Once Americans figured out this new game, which took, as Todd notes, only 109 minutes, they put an end to it by themselves. The creation of the TSA didn't do any good, and it costs a lot of money, and it does a lot of harm. Put an end to it.
Oh top of Reynolds excellent reasons, the TSA has become an overgrown parasite, existing in the public eye solely as a hindrance and a bother.  Regular readers here have long known of my contempt for the organization and their abuses.  For newer readers, I'll link to my own post from November 2010.
I'm renewing my objection to the TSA in general and calling on my Congressman and Senators to defund the TSA. Completely defund it.
I agree with Professor Reynolds that the TSA should go away.  Either defund or abolish, but it should become a tarnished memory of government over-reach.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Speed, huh?

Drudge is all over some guy named Paul Walker who was killed in an auto crash yesterday. I've never heard of the guy, but evidently he was a pop culture guy in a movie called "Fast and Furious".
Investigators have been unable to find evidence of a second car in the accident that killed popular "Fast & Furious" actor Paul Walker on Saturday, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman said Monday.
I'm not a traffic accident investigator, and I certainly haven't been on the scene, but I can pretty much tell you what caused this crash.
 Speed was a factor in the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office said. A 45 mph speed limit sign was attached to the light pole knocked down by the Porsche.
Really?  Speed was a factor?  I bet if the car had been standing still, it wouldn't have been involved in the accident.

Again, I'm not a TAI, but I bet that there are very few calls involving parked cars and light poles.  Of course speed was a factor in the accident.  Speed was a factor to the point where the car was in flames when the cops got there.

Speed was a factor?  Really?  Imagine that.

Busy.

Life intrudes on blogging, sometimes.  I'm not neglecting y'all, I'm just taking care of family.  It's good, it's just busy.  Really, though, if I'm going to be busy, now's the time for this to happen.  The job is very calm and stable, so it's not like I'm juggling multiple requirements.  We're getting ready for Christmas with all the dynamics of the season, For the past several weeks, just about every time I think things are going to settle into a routine, something changes and I'm back at square one.  It's interesting.  I can't wait to see what's going to happen next.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Song

In my mind, I'm always going home.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog and cat continue to play on the back patio, enjoying a sunny spot that warms the November air.


The cat is bad about taking it vertical, climbing where the dog can't go.

If you ask the dog where the cat went, he's liable to look at you as if to say "I'm not sure.  She was here just a minute ago."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Don't Take Your Eye Off These Putzes

Not even for a second.  That's the advise of Instapundit, when he links to PJMedia, who reports that gun-control advocates are quietly building support for another bill.
Thompson said the bill protects rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by providing an exemption on background checks for firearm transfers between family and friends.
“You won’t have to get a background check when you inherit the family rifle, borrow a friend’s shotgun for a hunting trip or purchase a gun from a buddy or neighbor,” Thompson said.
It further bans the creation of a federal registry and makes the misuse of records a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It allows active duty military to buy firearms in their home states and the state in which they are stationed, authorizes the use of a state concealed carry permit in lieu of a background check to purchase a firearm and allows interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers.
That doesn't sound bad at all, does it?  Until you realize who's pushing the bill.  And we've been lied to by these bozos  before.
 “So we’re going to pass this law,” Schumer said. “We are going to finish the job and pass background checks and then move on and do other things we have to do to get guns off the streets and stop gun violence.”
Yeah, right, Chuck.  Tell me just exactly again how you intend to get guns off the street?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Afternoon News Dump

Evidently, it was Black Friday today.  Drudge tells me that the search for the all-holy deal is getting a little rude.

Mall mayhem...Suspected shoplifter shot after dragging cop through KOHL's parking lot...Brawls...Woman uses stun gun in shopping fight...Man stabbed over parking spot...Shopper Kicked Out Of WALMART For Filming Fight...Man shot walking home with big screen...Shoppers Trampled In Race For $49 Tablet...SALVATION ARMY kettles stolen...REPORT: Profit margins jump for sales 'hoax'...
Really?  Someone stole the Salvation Army kettles?  Stun Gun?  Stabbed over a parking spot?

I'm glad I wasn't out there today.

In other news, Milady trotted down to the Dollar Store today and invested in real estate.  She bought a cat-house.

I've always wanted to own a cat-house.  Now I can say that I do.

Hunting with Dogs

When I was a young scrapper, Thanksgiving was a closed day for deer hunting.  In fact, it separated a split in the season, the earlier portion for still hunting only, and the later portion for hunting with dogs. The still hunt season closed on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the dog season opened the Friday following. In those days, hunting with dogs was a popular past-time and many hunters kept dogs for the late deer season.  Indeed, for many years, I'd eat lunch with the family, then we'd head north to Minden, LA where I hunted the whole weekend with my good friend Melvin, whose family kept deer dogs.

In effect, we'd ring a large portion of the forest with hunters, as many as two dozen or more, then two men would drop the dogs and follow them through the woods.  If the dogs jumped a deer, the chase was on, and it was considered poor form to miss a running deer.  It was considered even poorer form to let the dogs get past you if you were a stander.  I suspect that the deer season was closed on Thanksgiving to keep the hunters near the house on this most American of holidays.

Nowadays I hunt in Area 2, as defined by the Louisiana hunting regulations.  I also note that Thanksgiving is an open day, and the dog season doesn't begin in Area 2 until December 4th.    In most of Louisiana we now have deer leases, posted land, and the large timber companies no longer have open land.  Hunting with dogs is proscribed on most private land, and has fallen out of favor.  But, there was a time where I'd gather with  hunters on the Friday after Thanksgiving and hunt deer with dogs.  Sometimes we'd have a good day, and we'd stack deer up in a pickup truck like cordwood.

I never remember any of that meat going to waste.   The rules were simple.  If you were a hunter, you had a right to a portion of the game.  If you wanted to donate your portion, there was always a family nearby in dire financial straits who would gladly skin, dress, and butcher those deer to fill the family freezer.

So, on this Friday after Thanksgiving, as you read this, I'm sitting on a stand in Area 2, but I'm not hunting over dogs.  We're all a bit poorer, because we don't spend much time hunting deer with dogs.  It was a gand tradition, and like all traditions, it's passed with our time and circumstance.

Good hunting.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday Song

I heard this one on the oldies station, coming home from the Thanksgiving feast.  Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.



Y'all have a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prepping

Today is the final prep for Thanksgiving.  I've got to run to the store to pick up a few items, fill the truck with fuel, and drop by Momma's house to hug my sister.  She flew in from Knoxville yesterday and I want to see her before the hectic that tomorrow will  become.  We're all gathering on the family property tomorrow to share a meal and fellowship, then we'll retire to the pasture for a little target practice.  That's been a family tradition for several years, and as family changes we're never sure which traditions will change, or what the next year will bring.

Traditions change slowly, over time, and when we look back we see that what was once tradition is now simply a memory.  As families grow, and blend, and change, traditions change.  What we did when I was a child is certainly different than the way we do things now, and what my grandchildren experience in their youth will change as they grow and mature.  That's the nature of things and we cherish what we had and what we have, knowing that nothing lasts forever.

So, to each of you, I pray that you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.  That you experience the tradition that suits your situation, and that next year will find your traditions complete and fulfilling.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Teaser

I'm watching a grandson today on a cold, rainy Tuesday in November.  Nothing much happening around the casa today, except that we've got to go shopping after while to restock our larder.  PawPaw is going to make a big gumbo later today because a cold, rainy November day demands a gumbo..

The kiddo is watching cartoons in the toy room, and PawPaw is surfing around the intertubes.  It seems that Nosler is bringing out a brand-new, whizbang cartridge.  The .26 Nosler.  According to their teaser, it's a non-belted, long action cartridge that will launch the 129 grain Accubond at 3400 fps.  Surfing around the usual forums doesn't reveal a great deal about the new cartridge.  Nosler is keeping the information close-held until the SHOT show roll out, and I can understand that they're trying to create buzz.  I get it.

Some folks are wondering if they'll use the .375 Ruger cartridge as a base for their new cartridge.  It seems to fit the criteria.  Non-belted, plenty of powder room, fits in a long action, etc.  Maybe so, it ought to hold a lot of powder.  Shades of PO Ackley and Charlie Newton, there's nothing new under the sun.  Many of the wagging tongues say that it's bound to be a barrel burner, but I suspect that this won't be a cartridge where people worry about their barrel throats.  Two kinds of shooters don't.  The first is the long-range target crowd, who regularly change barrels anyway.  The second is the pure FUDD hunting crowd, which aren't high-volume shooters.

Before you get your shorts in a knot, I readily identify with that FUDD group.  For example, my .30-06 gets shot maybe 20 times per year.  A few three shot groups to verify zero, then whatever I burn during the hunting season.  If my -06 was a barrel-burner and only good for 1000 rounds, at 20 rounds per year, I'd have to change the barrel every 50 years. Hunters simply don't care about throat erosion.  Nosler might be on a good thing with this new cartridge, or in five years it might just be an interesting footnote.  We'll see.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Honor Band

Milady and I are traveling to Baton Rouge today, with a host of family.  Our grandson, Michael was picked to play in the Louisiana Music Educator's Honor Band, Symphonic Band, as 1st chair Trombone.  He's a high school junior and we're thrilled at his accomplishments with the trombone.  As a junior, it's quite an honor to be chosen as 1st chair, and he deserves the honor.

The old saw about how you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice.  I've heard him practice solidly for hours.  He's got a rare musical talent, with the drive to turn that talent into a reality.  Scholarship offers are already coming in, and he's starting to pick his schools.  As a senior next year, he's way ahead of the curve.

At any rate, his concert is today, so we're traveling to Baton Rouge to listen to him toot his own horn.  If anyone is interested, the concert is at the Crowne Plaza Executive Center, Baton Rouge, LA at 2:00 pm.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Morning Dawg

It got cold and rainy yesterday, cold for these climes, and we've been spending time indoors.  The dog wanted to play "Don't Look At  The Camera", so getting a reasonable snapshot was interesting.


That will do, I guess, but I'm not sure how to caption that one.  Feel free to caption it in comments.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Off

Finally, I'm home, in my tennis shoes, wearing jeans.  It's been a long week.  I estimate I've worked nearly 60 hours this week, the majority of those before today, which only accounted for my standard 8 hours.  Just Damn!

It's not that the job is physically demanding.  It's not.  People offer to swap jobs with me every day.  I tell them that the job isn't hard, in fact is a really great job, right up till the moment it sucks.  And if the job ever goes to SUCK, it will go that way in just a few seconds.  But, this week is over and I'm looking forward to the weekend.

I've hooked the Mule to the truck, and partially loaded it with things I'll need in the morning.  Reports from the deer lease indicate that the rut might be starting to kick in, and I intend to be there before daylight.  In another hour, I'll go buy a pizza for Milady and myself, then commence with Happy Hour.

Proceeding as Forseen

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen, which isn't a terribly prescient prognostication.  It's as plain as the nose on your face.  Earlier this week, I predicted that the roll out of the employer mandate would cause grief for the current ruling party, set as it was to roll out just about the time that voters choose their representatives.
Your next huge problem, Mr. President, is coming next October, when the employer mandate rolls out. That market is a lot larger than the individual market and will impact a lot more people, on an order of magnitude.  If you botch that implementation, Congress will probably become bright red,
And look what was being reported this morning.
Health and Human Services plans to delay the start of the second year of Obamacare enrollment by one month to allow insurers more time to set rates after assessing their plan experiences during 2014, a department official said Thursday night.
Isn't that amazing, what with the mid-term elections happening about that time, HHS has decided to move the mandate back a month.  Can they be more politically predictable?  If I were Kathleen Sebelius, I'd be trying to corner the market on tar, feathers, and rails like Homeland tried to corner the market on ammo.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Commemorative

It looks like the US Postal Service is enamored of the recent rollout.  They're rolled out a Forever stamp.

And a commemorative set.


Hat tip, Instapundit.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Tinkerbell Defense

In light of the ongoing train-wreck that is ObamaCare, the president thinks that the Republicans should share the blame for the political disaster because they didn't support it enough.
“One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure,” Obama said at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting in Washington. “We obviously are going to have to remarket and rebrand, and that will be challenging in this political environment.”
Uuuh, no, Mr. President.  The problem you have is that your namesake law was passed without any Republican votes whatsoever, it was fully funded through its own funding mechanism and you had three years to properly plan and prepare for the rollout on the day that the law set to roll out.  You knew this was coming, or you certainly should have known.  The date was set three years ago.  The fact that the Republicans griped and grouched about it had absolutely nothing to do with the botched rollout.  That was yours all along.  It's your law, you screwed up, and you're continuing to screw up.

Your next huge problem, Mr. President, is coming next October, when the employer mandate rolls out. That market is a lot larger than the individual market and will impact a lot more people, on an order of magnitude.  If you botch that implementation, Congress will probably become bright red, and your lasting legacy will be one of myopia, hubris, and breathtaking obtuseness.  Not to mention sheer incompetence.

Good For You, Harry!

It looks like Harry Reid wants to change the rules on filibusters.
A senior Democratic aide told The Huffington Post on Wednesday that there's "a greater possibility" that Reid will hold a vote this week instead of waiting until after the Senate comes back from recess in December. The proposal that Reid is planning to put on the floor would strip the minority of its ability to filibuster executive and judicial nominees, but wouldn't apply to Supreme Court nominees.
I think that will work out great, Harry.   Go ahead, make it easier for a majority to overrule a minority.  You'll enjoy that when it's your turn to be in the minority.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

.22 Ammo Prices

I went by Academy Sports during the hour between work and more work, and bought some sock hats to keep my noggin warm.  While I was in the store, I wandered over to the ammo aisle and inquired about .22 long rifle ammo.  They had it in stock, limit two boxes per customer, so I asked for my ration.  The guy handed me two boxes of Remington Thunderbolt ammo, 50 round boxes.  I didn't ask about the price, but headed to the register.  $2.29 per box, which comes to just 4.5 cents per round.  They're still rationing ammo, but the prices are getting more reasonable.  I was pleasantly surprised, especially as I got out of Academy for less than $12.00.

Oh, just for the record, I'll be working a lot of hours this week.  The school-house is trying to close for Thanksgiving, so they've scheduled lots of things this week.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tee Shirts and Price Match

I went to Wal-Mart this afternoon to buy some tee-shirts, then started just looking around.  I found a 2-pack of PNY Sd cards, 4gb, for $13.88.  On a lark, I took out my cell phone and scanned them on Amazon.  It came back at $10.00 on the phone, and when I went to the checkout line, I showed the cashier my phone and she called her manager over.  He said to give me the price match.

Score!  Two Sd cards for $10.00.  That isn't bad at all.  Who says you can't quibble at Wal-Mart?

I came home later and researched Wal-Mart's price-match policy.  It turns out that they don't do price-match on internet pricing.  But what the heck.  It worked this once, and I've got some spare Sd cards for the game cameras.  .

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Natchitoches

Natchitoches (Nak-u-tush) is a little town in north-central Louisiana.  It's just like tens of thousands of other little sleepy towns all over our country.  Good people, a small college, a local historical society, but it's got one thing that other little small towns don't have.  Fairly deep history.

In 1714 a group of French soldiers came up from somewhere (New Orleans hadn't been founded yet) and built a small fort to garrison as a bulwark against Spanish expansion.  They called it Fort St. Jean Baptiste, and it was poised against the eastward expansion of the Spanish, just 20 miles up the road at Los Adaes.  For some reason, Natchitoches "stuck" when other settlements were abandoned, giving Natchitoches the distinction of being the oldest continual settlement in the Louisiana Purchase.  It's older than New Orleans, and has the distinction of being vaguely French, but not too French.  It's founder was a French Canadian, from whence the Acadians, who populated south Louisiana later came..  It's a point of distinction to trace lineage back to an ancestor who garrisoned the fort as the tip of the French spear.

I went to college in Natchitoches, at Northwestern in 1973.  I graduated in 1975, went into the Army, then came back in 1980 to raise my family.  Natchitoches is a great place to raise a family.  I left Natchitoches in 2001, for all the right reasons and moved closer to my childhood home, fifty miles south.  Still, I have lots of friends and a soft spot in my heart for that little town with the strange name.  I am told that they're celebrating their tri-centennial next year, and I'd like to pass along congratulations.


Happy Birthday, Natchitoches.

McAllister Wins

Political newcomer Vance McAllister has beaten State Senator Neil Riser for Rodney Alexanders US 5th District seat.  And when I say beaten, I mean with 60% of the vote.  Think about that for a minute.  Let it sink in.  This was McAllister's first political race.  McAllister's not a politician, he's a businessman.

And all the cards were stacked to make Riser the winner.  Riser had the governor's endorsement, the seat seemed to be Riser's for the asking.  We know that Riser was in on the details of Alexander's retirement from Congress, because the day after Alexander announced his retirement, Riser campaign signs started showing up.  How many people can get campaign signs designed, printed, and installed in 24 hours.  Not many.  Riser was able to get it done, if you believe that he made the decision to order signs when Alexander announced his retirement.

A 60% win over an entrenched political machine is huge.

Vance appealed to several constituencies.  He appealed to the working man, he appealed to the anti-politician crowd, he appealed to those who dislike Governor Jindal.  Some will say that McAllister's election was a rebuke to the Tea Party, but I don't buy that.  The Tea Party is fairly undefined, but in its inception it was a backlash against taxes and the political crowd.  The only political rally I've ever attended was one where Rodney Alexander was booed from the stage by folks who attended the rally.  The Tea Party, as defined by lots of folks, is an unaffiliated conservative movement representing low taxes, small government, individual freedom and personal responsibility.  The fact that the name has been co-opted by politicians doesn't change the fact that a lot of folks like me identify with the movement.

Still, congratulations to Vance.  He ran a good race and took advantage of a number of different things to put together a winning campaign.  He can attribute his win to a backlash against government as much as he can to the endorsement of the Duck Commander crowd.  Willie Robertson helped him win, but that wasn't the reason we sent him to Washington.

And, one word of caution.  We're watching you.  The power and influence in Congress is heady stuff, but if you forget who sent you, we'll send your ass packing without explanation or remorse.  We've got high hopes for you, but don't let us down.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Waiting expectantly for a chicken nugget.


Some say I spoil that dog, but when we go to a restaurant, I make sure that he gets an order of chicken nuggets.  And some fries if there are any left over.  It's part of his payment for watching over the place.

And he loves him some chicken nuggets.  He can't decide if he likes them best from McDonalds, Burger King, or the fried chicken joint.  Tonite, he got some from Red River Grill, and he didn't turn up his nose at them.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Voting Day

It's Saturday morning, and normally I'd be in my deer stand.  Except for a couple of things. First, I'm not mad at those deer, I'm going to give them a break today..  Second, Milady and I made other plans today and in a few hours we're going to get in the car and head east, toward Mississippi.  We're going to spend the day in Natchez, LA, look at something different, play together the whole live-long day.  And it's voting day.

Before we leave for our play-day, we're going to vote.  We're electing a US Representative today, for the US 5th District and because that's the only thing on the ballot, it's going to be a low-turnout vote.  In elections like this, every vote counts.  I've seen small rural elections turn on one vote.  I've also looked at balloting for different types of elections, and I'm amazed at the people who vote once a year, or once every four years.  Sometimes small elections, like this one, have less than half the registered voters show up at the polls.

We had one election recently, where the locality had 8500 registered voters, and they were voting on a vital economic initiative and less than 2400 people actually showed up to pull the lever.  What's up with those other 6000 people?  Too busy?  Too apathetic?  Too stupid?  Well, those 6000 have no reason to complain if they didn't show up at the polls.  They let other people make the decision for them.

Go vote, Louisiana.  It's important.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Legalizing Pot

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, last year Washington and Colorado both passed initiatives that legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  The regulatory regimes were supposed to be regulated in "a manner similar to alcohol".

For the record, I'm not advocating for the legalization of marijuana.  I've heard the arguments on both sides, and I'm simply not convinced.  However, the voters in those states were convinced and they passed the proposition.  Now, the state is trying to figure out how to deal with it, and it looks like they're going to tax the living hell out of it.  Which is fine, except that the free market is at work.
The upshot of such actions is predictable and depressing. Colorado lawmakers are banking on about $70 million a year in taxes from pot and their Washington counterparts have projected new revenues of $1.9 billion over the first five years of legalization. There’s just no way that’s going to happen if a legal ounce of pot is double the price or more of back-alley weed. Even the most stoned pothead isn’t that easy to scam.
Taxes have to be seen as fair on luxury, or sin items (and marijuana is definitely considered one or the other) or people will find a way around them.  The linked article says that a legal ounce of marijuana, after the tax man gets his bite, might be as much as between $482 an ounce and $723 an ounce.  The black market is going to love those prices.

If you're supposed to regulate it in a manner similar to alcohol, the most consumers would expect to see packs of Alcapulco Gold pre-rolled, right next to the Jack Daniels on the likker store shelves.

Again, I've heard all the arguments, and I'm not convinced, but it looks like the state tax-man is going to do his best to suppress the pot that the voters want.  Let Freedom Ring.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Surreal Administration

If anything, the Obama administration got more surreal today, when our President announced that if you like your plan, you can keep it.  His "fix" raises more questions than it answers, not the least of which is; does he have the authority to do this?  He's been telling us for a couple of years that it is the law, and it's settled, and the more we go into the roll-out, we find that he seems to be able to delay implementation or ignore provisions of the law that he finds politically damaging.
There’s one problem—the President’s promise that his new “plan” can allow people to keep their plans is just as flawed and false as his original “like your plan/keep it” pledge. The law itself is clear: Obamacare’s new benefit mandates—the requirement to cover all individuals with pre-existing conditions, the new “essential benefits,” and mandates increasing the percentage of health costs insurance plans must cover—all take effect on January 1, 2014.
If it's the law, the President can't change it, he can only work with Congress to modify or amend it.  With all the other problems of risk pools, and insurability, and  the tax that the Supreme Court found in the law, it seems to me that the individual mandate is still taxable under the law, and the folks who don't have insurance will be accountable for that tax next year.

This President seems perfectly comfortable in modifying law that was passed by Congress, that he signed and that was upheld by the Supreme Court.  That's not what I was taught in high school civics class.  The Congress makes the laws, the President implements the laws, and the Courts interpret the laws.  It appears as if this President believes that he can ignore the law when it suits his own political purpose.  That is a horrible precedent to set.   Yet this President seems to set horrible precedents almost daily.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Woes

If you've been watching the news, you know that ObamaCare is taking hit after hit.  HotAir is all over it, hit the link for the full run-down, but it looks like the Democrats in the Senate are in full uproar, including my own Senator Mary (hack, spit) Landrieu, who is offering a bill that will only increase the rate of spin.  The bill is in a death spiral, enrollments are in the toilet, the website is a total debacle, and the numbers are abysmal.  Other than that, the president is having a great week.  It looks like Iran is going to get the bomb, the economy is stuck in the doldrums, and ... well, hell, why go on?

This is turning out to be the best November evah!  With leadership like we've got, it's amazing we lasted this long.

Locally, I just got a call from the Neil Riser campaign.  Our idiot congressman, Rodney Alexander decided to retire before he was primaried, so we're having a special election.  Given Louisiana's jungle primaries, where everyone votes and the two highest candidates go to the general election, we have a choice between two Republicans.  Neil Riser and Vance McAllister.  Neil is a classical Louisiana politician and has been groomed for this position.  Some say that the timing of the special election was set by the Statehouse Crowd to give every advantage to Neil.  Neil was supposed to take it in a walk.

Except for one thing.  Vance McAllister is a successful businessman and he decided to throw his hat in the ring, having never been in politics.  He promptly picked up some great endorsements, including the endorsement of the Duck Commander clan, the Robertson family.  MrAllister has never run for anything, so he's not a career politician, and he's spending his own money on the campaign, so he's not beholden to anyone.  I like Vance and I intend to vote for him on Saturday.  This is going to be a low-turnout vote, so it will be interesting to see the polls on Saturday night.  The vote from the individual precincts should tell us a lot about the demographics of the race.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Mess of Bream

Looking at my daughter-in-law's blog site, I see that my grandson (one of several) has learned to fish for bream.  They're living on family land, and fishing a pond that my father built.  Evidently, it's full of fish and the other grandad taught him how to fish for the tasty little fish.

That's a pretty good stringer of fish for the first time out.  Hopefully, he took good notes because it's a skill set that will keep him occupied for a long time, probably the rest of his life.

Up the little hill, in the barn behind the young'un is my father's shop.  My son has been working in there, blending his knowledge of old time woodworking and my Dad's tools to craft a piece of furniture for his family.

It's good to see a kid fishing the pond, and a family member using the shop.  I am glad that piece of land is continuing to educate and shelter our family.  The circle continues.

Geese Overhead

Standing at my duty post, the air crisp and clean from the cold front that's passing through, I heard geese and watched a flight of small geese (blues and snows) flying down the river.  Classic chevron pattern.  As usual one side of the Vee was longer than the other one, and I thought about that for a minute and decided that I might pass on the knowledge of why geese fly like that.

Do you know why one side of the Vee is always longer than the other side?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Henry V

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:  Act 4, Scene 3

It's been a long time since I stood with several others and took an oath of which I have not been relieved.

Happy Veterans Day.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shooting Fruit

We've been listening to the grandkids, and we were concerned that they might not understand the power and potential of a firearm.

Let me explain.  Our family likes guns.  We like them a lot, and we shoot them every chance we get.  Paper targets or steel, or for that matter, clay targets with the shotgun, but that doesn't properly, visually, energetically demonstrate the power available with a squeeze of the trigger. The grandkids in question are adolescent, already safe with firearms, but we became concerned that they might not be fully familiar with the actual result of putting a bullet into something soft and squishy.  Hence, a demonstration was in order.  We accomplished that this afternoon.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to the grocers and bought a cantaloupe and a couple of spaghetti squash, each just a little smaller than the human head.  Today, we loaded the adolescents in the pickup and went to our private range.  We explained what we were going to do, then set the cantaloupe on a stump about five yards away.  I shot it with a common .45 ACP 230 grain hollowpoint.at a range of about five feet.  We were immediately all hit with the splash from the cantaloupe exploding.  The top half simply exploded because I hit it a bit high.  Then I shot a spaghetti squash at the same range.  We autopsied the groceries, explaining the similarity between them and the human anatomy.

When I looked at the boys, their mouths were open in stunned shock.  That's good.

They all like shooting my rifles.  And, they're perfectly capable of hitting what they see.  So, we walked some groceries out to about 50 yards, then got out the rifle.  A common, standard .308. The Ugly rifle. I let the boys lay down on the ground and take shots at the produce.  A cantaloupe explodes nicely, and the spaghetti squash is likewise disturbed when a rifle bullet plows  through them.

They each hit their target and I'm proud of them for that.  Laying on their bellies like real marksmen, they put the bullets where the bullets should have been put, then they looked agape at the results.

The ride back to the casa was fairly quiet.  "What did you learn?" I asked.

"Those things are dangerous."

That's just exactly what I was trying to portray.  Those things are dangerous.  Used properly, used safely, they are a source of great joy and pleasure.  One moment of carelessness and you'll have a moment that you regret forever.  I hope the lesson stays with them, and they learn a new respect for the power they command.