Friday, January 31, 2014

Finally Friday

It's Friday again, and we've actually thawed out.  All the bridges are open, all the traffic is moving, and the temps warmed up to the 60s.  Today at noon, I put my jacket in the car and wandered around with shirt-sleeves the rest of the day.

After work, I drove to Academy Sports because my daughter wants hot-pink shooting muffs for her birthday.  I found those then went to the counter and asked about .22LR.  The guy gave me two 50-round boxes.  Remington Thunderbolt .22LR at $2.29 per box.  That's just over 4.5 ¢ per shot, not bad at all.  All those guys who bought all they could buy at exorbitant prices, and hoarded it, are learning that .22 ammo is a commodity, and the price rises and falls with the market.  Just like speculating in gold, or land, or diamonds,  the price rises and falls based on supply, on demand, and on manufacturing.  We still can't buy bricks of it at the local hardware store, but it's available.  I walked past the centerfire counters and they were well stocked as well.

Ih another hour, Milady and I are heading to the auction.  The owner of the auction house got his license problems sorted out, and tonight is the first auction since before Christmas.  I'm looking forward to it.  We'll see what is on the block.  I love a good auction, and I'm not looking for anything in particular, but it's always fun to see what he's put up for sale.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Comes the Thaw

It looks like we're thawing out.  I was surprised to be off work today, the major bridge across the river was still closed and before daylight, many of the bridges were treacherous.  I talked with my lieutenant, and stayed home, as the schools were closed.  At about noon, I declared cabin fever.  I haven't moved off this acre in three days and I was getting squirrely, so Milady and I at noon ventured forth to find sustenance at a new eatery that has opened across the river.

As we approached the bridge, the ramp to the interstate was still closed, and traffic was limited to one lane, that put us off downtown.  We moved along the city streets, ate lunch, then headed back toward our side of the river.  Just as we approached the bridge, we noticed crews working removing barricades.  Traffic was flowing cautiously over the river and everything seemed to be getting back to normal.  I'll be at work tomorrow, after having been off those three days.  It appears that the interstate highway over Alexandria is now open and regular commerce commences.

Hopefully, the snowpocalypse of 2014 is over and we can get back to more rational weather patterns.  Snow around here is a once in a ten-year event, and we've been shuttered twice in the same seven days.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cool Commercial

It looks like Budweiser released it's Super Bowl commercial a little bit early.  If you like horses and puppies, you'll really like this one.



You gotta love any commercial with pups and horses.

Hat tip to my sister, Frannie, who led me to it on Facebook.

Snowpocalypse

It looks as if temps might warm up to the over-freezing mark today, but here in central Louisiana the temps are still in the 20s.  We're starting to thaw out and traffic is starting to move.  PawPaw is off work today because the schools are closed, but Milady went in to work because patients need care.  The layer of ice covered by a layer of snow is being especially resistant to thawing.

Hopefully we've seen the last of this for awhile.  My windshield has a good coating of ice, and I'm chagrined to learn that I don't own an ice-scraper.  That's something I'll have to remedy soon.  For many years I kept an ice scraper in every car, but in recent years I've gotten out of the habit, because we haven't needed them.

Milady's vehicle is kept in the garage, so de-icing it isn't necessary, but PawPaw's ride lives in the driveway.  That's the way the pecking order works.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sleet

Now is the winter of our discontent.- Richard III, Act 1

The weatherman has been spot-on with the forecast.  I awoke this morning to signs of freezing rain, in that my car was frozen shut when I went outside to retrieve the blood-pressure meds that I picked up at the pharmacy yesterday.  Just about daylight the sleet started.

Some poor soul is creeping along, trying to get home.  That haze you see in the photo is tiny little balls of ice, falling from the sky.  The black asphalt road is white, and everything is slicker'n monkey-snot.  Milady is trying to decide if she needs to go to work.  She's a medical professional, and she'll call her doctors as we get closer to the workday.

There are those of us who don't get to stay home on wintry days.  Police, firefighters, doctors and nurses, soldiers in their foxholes and sailors on their ships.  Utility workers, the guys who keep the power coming, all those folks report for duty.  Work has to go on, and for those folks I am truly grateful.  PawPaw once had a job like that, rain or snow, or hurricane, the duty day rolled along.  I'm glad I'm beyond that duty schedule.

**UPDATE** Ten minutes later, the snow has started.  So far, the weather-weenies are spot-on.

Those white streaks in the photo are snow flakes.  Just frikking lovely.

**UPDATE II ** At 10:00 a.m., it's coming down heavy.


Jane is home, after her Docs closed the clinic.  We're hunkered down and ready to ride it out.  I've taken some meat out of the freezer, and later I'll be making a big pot of chili.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bohica.

It looks like we're in line for another winter storm event.  The Polar Express continues, bringing freezing precipitation to Central Louisiana.  From NOAA.


Tonight A slight chance of rain before 1am, then a chance of freezing rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Northeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Tuesday A chance of freezing rain before 7am, then sleet likely between 7am and 1pm, then snow likely after 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 28. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Tuesday Night Snow likely, mainly before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%
They've closed Rapides Parish Schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly because they believe the bridges and overpasses will still have ice on Wednesday morning.  In addition to Rapides Parish, most of the parishes to the south of us have closed schools.  They're expecting ice along the I-10 corridor, which doesn't bode well for south Louisiana.

PawPaw went to the grocers and stocked up on supplies.  I think that as far north as we are in the warnings, we're in pretty good shape, except that all the roads and bridges are going to freeze.  I"ll sit home and watch the weather for the next couple of days.  We'll get over this one, too.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Morning Dawg

The big story this week was the snow, which is a once in a decade event for us.  I have a 30-year-old daughter-in-law who has never seen snow, and several grandkids who have never seen snow, so a snowfall of any magnitude is huge news in these parts.  The dog has also never seen snow.

And, he wasn't really sure what to make of it.  It didn't scare him, but he was curious.  He also learned quickly that it is colder than he likes.

Hopefully, we've seen the last of snow for a while.  I know I've had my fill.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Just Wrong

My good friend Jerome Scott sent this one to me.  He tells me that he spewed Dr. Pepper when he saw it.

That's just wrong.

Snow Update

It looks like we got two or three inches of snow, and it's gotten light enough for some photography.

The dog's not sure what to make of it.  He's okay with it, but thinks it's strange.  He's right.  Snow in these parts is really strange.

Of course, folks are starting to drive, and Louisianans are totally screwed while driving in snow.  Mud or rain?  Yeah, we're good at those, but snow is outside our experience.  Just up the street from our house is a red light, and the entrance to the highway.  That highway is four or five feet higher than the parish road, so there's a slope.  Lots of folks charge up to the light, then get stuck on that little slope.  Like this guy.
See the little red light beside the bush?  Some guy is on the roadway, but his tires are spinning like crazy and he can't make that little incline.  He spun his tires through an entire cycle of the traffic light then decided to back down the hill, turn around and go home.  Don't be that guy.  Stay home till the snow melts off the roadway.
We're gonna get over this.

Snow

Here in the Deep South, snow is truly an event.  I've got grandkids who have never seen snow, and I'm certain that the Dawg has never seen snow.  I just now walked outside and found an inch or so on the ground and on the vehicles.  This is a once-in-a-decade event..


Schools, of course, are closed, and from my view of the highway, no traffic is moving.  Central Louisiana is shut-the-hell-down until this stuff melts.

Friends and family from the Frozen North might think it is strange that a small dusting of snow will shut us down, but most folks have no idea how to drive in this mess.  For myself, I'll be content to stay home today and take pictures.  I might not see this again for another ten years.  If glowball warmening kicks in, I might not see it again in my lifetime.  This isn't going to last long.  Temps tomorrow are predicted to be in the 50s.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sibling Rivalry

I've been following a post on The Firing Line forum about the relative advantages of the .30-06, vs its offspring, the .308 Winchester.  So, the title of this post isn't really about siblings, so much, as about offspring.  This discussion has filled internet forums, and circulated around campfires since the .308 Winchester was standardized, back in 1952.

I admit that I'm a fan of both cartridges, and the intent of this little discussion is not to get involved in the parentage or lineage of the .308 Win.  I know that it came from the original  T65 cartridge, and I know that Winchester standardized it as a sporting cartridge before NATO adopted it as a military standard..  I also know that for all practical purposes, the military's 7.62X51 cartridge is a virtual substitute and that SAAMI says they can be used interchangeably.  That's not the purpose of this discussion.

I also know that I'm a fan of both cartridges.  The old .30-06 Springfield has been around a long time, and lots of military and sporting arms have been chambered for it.  Likewise the .308 Winchester, which to my paltry attempts at research, the shorter cartridge seems to be supplanting the older, longer cartridge in popularity.  So, when we talk about which cartridge is best, we have to ask; "Best for What?"  There's the rub.

Which leads me to this article, written by German Salazar, a noted NRA competitor.  In the article, he looks at the argument, and tries to decide which cartridge is best for his purposes, which is NRA prone Highpower competition.  He uses identical rifles and accumulated data over the course of several years, and he comes to some interesting conclusions.
In the Long-Range matches, the spread between the cartridges is a little bigger, reflecting the increased importance of ballistics when the range gets stretched to the maximum. So even with the same shooter firing all the rifles, the differences become more pronounced. Many modern-day competitors look down on the .30-06 as a long range cartridge, but I'll definitely say that if you want a good shooting cartridge with excellent barrel life and a huge choice of components, you can't do much better than the .30-06 for all around use.
I'm not a high-power competitor, nor do I shoot F-class, or any of the long range games.  I'm a hunter, plain and simple, a guy who can't see farther than about 250 yards on his deer lease.  Yet the campfire discussions continue. Which cartridge is better?  And I admit, I've got both of them and use both of them.  I've come to know and trust them both.  Yet, after all the discussion, with the newer powders and better bullets that we're blessed with, I really think that the difference between the two cartridge is the difference between Eenie and Meenie.  For most practical purposes, it just doesn't matter.  I don't think that a whitetail deer, nor yet a mule deer, nor even a bull elk would be able to tell the difference at 300 or so yards.  So, for the practical sportsman, what's the difference?

Not a whit.  It's only in the rarefied air of serious competition, or military sniping that the difference comes into play, and even in those situations, the two cartridges under discussion are always being supplanted by newer, more whiz-bang cartridges designed by folks who make money at such things, or for whom the difference matters.  We sportsmen are a fickle lot, and we'll jump on the new bandwagon whenever it rolls by.  Reference the success of such cartridges as the .260 Remington, or the 6XC.

I'm sure that in this puny blog post, I'm contributing to the debate, but I'm scribbling here more to link to Salazar (who has another great article here), more than anything else. I'm convinced that American sportsmen today are living in a golden age of riflery.  We're blessed with factory produced rifles that are more accurate, more durable, and more affordable than anything that was available 20 years ago.  It really doesn't matter which cartridge we use, simply because the rifles, the powders, and the bullets we have available to us today are so much better than the same equipment that was available to our fathers.  Every thing else is either an intellectual exercise, or marketing.  Use the rifle you've got, practice, take time to lay on your belly, or squat on your haunches and learn to shoot the rifle.  It'll do what you want it to do.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gumbo

Gumbo is a Louisiana staple, a savory stew of local meat, fish, or fowl, a good gumbo is Louisiana comfort food.  I've eaten gumbo in many locations, to include Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, and even had friends from Chicago make gumbo for my sampling. I've eaten gumbo made by Minnesotans. I've eaten gumbo in almost every town in Louisiana, and when I go to a new restaurant and view the menu, if there's gumbo available I'll ask for a cup as an appetizer.  I love gumbo in all its regional varieties.

The most common restaurant gumbo is chicken and sausage.  It's a staple, and it's easy to judge chicken and sausage gumbo.  I've eaten good gumbo and I've eaten bad gumbo but today I sampled a truly wretched concoction that was billed as gumbo.

A buddy of mine was stepping out for lunch and asked if he'd like me to pick up something.  As I'm tied to my duty post I appreciate the effort to keep me fed and when he told me that he was going to a local drug store that also has a lunch menu, I was intrigued.  He told me that gumbo was on the menu today I gave him some money and thanked him for his continuing efforts to keep me nourished.

I should have saved my money.  The roux was "green", not properly prepared, the chicken was full of gristle, that must have been the oldest rooster in the pen.  The sausage was cheap, they should have saved a few more pennies, and simply cut up hot dogs to add to the mix.  The rice was lumpy.  The seasoning was very poor, with little flavor and even less onions, bellpepper, or celery, all of which are described in Louisiana cooking as The Trinity (which should give some indication of their importance).  They were only notable because of their absence.

All in all, it was was the most horrific rendition of gumbo I've seen in many years, truly execrable, with no redeeming features except to serve as a benchmark of truly horrible Louisiana cooking.  The gumbo at the Missouri State Fair was better, and that's saying something.

The chef at that establishment should be pilloried.  That was the worst gumbo I've ever eaten.  So there.

Diaper Dave Running for Governor

I see that our disgraced Senator, Diaper Dave Vitter has decided to run for governor.
Sen. David Vitter’s announcement Tuesday that he will run for governor of Louisiana in 2015 marks the latest chapter in a remarkable comeback story for a politician who was once embroiled in a high-profile prostitution scandal.
In the rest of the country it might be a remarkable comeback story, but here in Louisiana, no one of any weight wanted to run against him, and here in Louisiana, sexual scandals don't get the air time that they might in other parts of the country.

Dave's problem is that he'll probably have two heavy-hitters running against him in the primary (which, in Louiisiana isn't really a primary at all).  I'm told that our current Lt Governor, Jay Dardenne is running, and it wouldn't surprise me if state Treasurer  John Kennedy threw his hat in the ring.  Both Dardenne and Kennedy are smart men, strong politicians with good name recognition.

The Democrats will probably field a few candidates as well.  I hear that state rep John Bel Edwards is running, but Mitch Landrieu is also a strong contender from the New Orleans side of the house.  Mitch, or course, is the brother of our other US Senator, Katrina Mary Landrieu.  We hope to send her packing next year.

Louisiana elects a governor in the autumn of 2015, and our current governor Bobby Jindal is term-limited.  This should be an interesting electoral season in Louisiana.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Daddy's Stuff

We lost Dad in 2007 (Has it been that long?), and recently during a move, Momma came across some stuff she thought I might like, so I went today to see about it.  Scouting memorabilia, mostly, with some odds and ends that we all collect when we live a full life.

One piece in particular caught my eye, and when Momma showed it to me, I wasn't sure what to make of it.  It looked old, last century old, and for the life of me I couldn't figure it out.


It's a scale of some sort, but a brief examination didn't tell anything about it.  I got it home to my bench and looked at it under the loup.  It's marked H.Boker & Co, Germany, and it's calibrated from 0-50.

But, I couldn't figure out why it had so many hooks.  Then I flipped it over.  Another calibration scale on the other side was calibrated from 0-400.  I'm assuming that the calibrations are in pounds.  It's riveted construction, and is marked Not Legal For Trade.



So, I went to the computer and started Googling around.  It's an H. Boker Buffalo Hide and Fur Scale, marketed during the late 1800s to trappers and hunters who wanted to market their hides.  The smaller hooks, obviously are for the smaller weights and the larger hooks for weighing bulk hides.  Ingenious little device, because the spring gets thicker through the bend, so that it can be used for both ranges.

Still, I wonder what the old man was doing with it?  Mysteries abound.

The Ebay asking price is $100.00, and AuctionZip tells me that one sold recently at auction for $50.00.  No matter, this one's not for sale.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hamburgers

No pictures of this one, but you've all seen a hamburger.  This morning early, I decided that I was hungry for a good hamburger, and it's Sunday, and the kids were coming over for lunch, and the weather was beautiful, so I decided to fire up the charcoal pit and cook burgers.

So, I made a list and headed to the grocers.  Buns, lettuce, tomato, some cheese for those who like it, and hamburger meat.  Good hamburger meat.  I was feeding ten people, kids, grandkids and Milady and I.  So, I bought 5 lbs of good ground chuck 80/20.  Got home and hand-flung those burgers, then coated them with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  That was it.  The burgers averaged 1/3 pound.  I cut up the tomato, and an onion, then started the fire. Let it burn for an hour, to get a good bed of coals.  Then, just about noon, I put that meat on the grill.  Closed the lid, watched the smoke pour out of it.  After about 10 minutes, raised the lid, flipped the burgers, closed the lid again.  Ten more minutes, then lined the kids up to get a burger.

Those who wanted to experiment decided to put a slice of cheese on the burger while it waited the last minutes on the grill.  We had American and Provolone.  I'm told that melted provolone is really good on a hamburger.

A good bun, fresh veggies, and good meat, cooked on a hot charcoal fire.  Nothing on the meat but salt and pepper.  A nice handful of potato chips, and I opened a cold beer.  That was the best darned hamburger I've eaten in a while.

Sunday Morning Dawg

We've been through the cold snap earlier this month, and today is a beautiful 50F outside. Milady was commenting yesterday that it's about time for the dog to get a grooming, but I'm wondering if he can wait another couple of weeks.  We've got February to live through, and getting a hair-chop might be cold on the mutt.  Of course, as long as he can play in the sun, he'll be warm enough.

After reviewing that picture, it might be time to call the groomer.  I'll try to remember to get him an appointment.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Dance Time

This joyous news out of Alabama.  It seems that a goblin came into a Dollar Store, threatened to shoot everyone, then started herding them into a break room.  A brave citizen decided he had gone far enough, drew his firearm and shot the goblin in the chest.
Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. told WSFA-TV that the gunman held a cashier and customer at gunpoint, forcing them toward a break room area. It was at this point that the customer reportedly drew his firearm and shot the suspect one time in the chest. The entire incident took less than five minutes, police say.
The gunman was pronounced dead on the scene.
The sheriff said the customer is not currently facing any charges over the shooting death, however, investigators are working to confirm he had a valid concealed carry permit. Open carry is legal in Alabama, but a permit is required to carry a concealed handgun.
That's all we need to know about that.  A citizen stopped what might have been a terrible tragedy, and one less goblin is wandering the streets.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going outside to do my Happy Dance.

Blogger = Press

Interesting opinion coming out of the 9th Circuit, where they held that blogging is entitled to the same protections for libel as traditional journalists.  The opinion is here.
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: 
It seems that Greener's Law applies here, and some wags have suggested updating the old quote for the digital age.  Don't pick a fight with someone who buys bandwidth by the gigabyte.

Let Freedom Ring.

Friday, January 17, 2014

.44 Special / .44 Magnum

Those of you who read this little blog know that I'm a fan of the .44 Special.  I was over at this forum, discussing the .44 Special and Uncle Nick sent me to the SAAMI drawings of both the .44 Special and the .44 Magnum and pointed out something that I had never noticed.

According to the SAAMI drawings of both cartridges, the loaded maximum length of the .44 Magnum cartridge is 1.610 inches, while according to the drawing for the .44 Special, the maximum length of that cartridge is 1.615 inches.  The Special is longer than the Magnum by 0.005 inches.  That's interesting, because the Special case is shorter than the Magnum case by 0.125" (1.285-1.160).  That's interesting because the Special case is shorter, but the maximum allowable COAL is longer.

I had never looked at the drawings side by side and compared them.  This brings all sorts of questions to my mind, and I'm going to have to ponder on this for a while.  Is it possible that there's more powder space under a Special cartridge than there is a Magnum cartridge?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Salmon Croquettes

Today I had a yearning flung on me, so on the way home I stopped to pick up the fixings for one of my favorite foods from my childhood.  Salmon Croquettes.  Momma used to fix these occasionally, and I loved them then, I love them now.  They're fairly easy.



Salmon Croquettes
1 can pink salmon - 14.75 oz
1 roll Ritz crackers
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 large egg
Salt and pepper, of course

In a large bowl, crush the whole roll of Ritz crackers.  Powder them.  Add the salmon, the chopped onion and the egg.  Salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.  Divide the mixture into six portions and form into patties.  Fry in a flat skillet with a little oil until golden brown.

I'm going to serve them tonight with potatoes au gratin and steamed broccoli.

Friends from the PacNorWest might turn their noses up at canned salmon, but it's easy to find here, inexpensive, and with just a little preparation makes a darned fine meal.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The New School

Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame has written a book, The New School, which talks about education, from K-12 through college.  I haven't read it, nor bought it, but The Blaze gives us some quotes about the book.  I think that this quote is remarkably interesting.
there are a lot of people who benefit from keeping teens infantilized. That includes people in our ever more expensive K-12 education system. What’s more, as we’ve increased the amount of money going in, there’s been no corresponding increase in learning. One reason for that is that a disproportionate amount of money has gone into administration, rather than teaching. [According to a report titled The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America's Public Schools] “Between 1950 and 2009, the number of K-12 public school students increased by 96 percent. During that same period, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school employees grew by 386 percent. Of those personnel, the number of teachers increased by 252 percent, while the ranks of administrators and other staff grew by 702 percent — more than 7 times the increase in students. These education administrators don’t teach; if anything, they create excess paperwork for the people who do…This is one reason more money hasn’t improved things: it’s not going to teaching but to paper pushing.” (pg. 67)
That matches my experience exactly.  In the ten years I've been in the school system, there has been a noticeable increase in administrative personnel, who tend to put more work on the teaching staff.  

I may have to buy Professor Reynold's book and drop a copy on the superintendent's desk.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Old Man Car

Last March, I bought a car to save miles on the truck.  Literally a brother-in-law deal, I bought a 2001 Mercury Gran Marquis from my brother-in-law.  It served them well for several years, and suddenly became an extra car.  I was looking for an extra car, so I made the deal.



Almost immediately, the Check Engine light came on.  I went by Auto Zone and got it checked.  Something about insuffecient coolant temperature.  So, I flushed the radiator, got all manner of nasty coolant out of there, and re-filled it with good antifreeze.  It ran, it started, it did everything that a car was supposed to do, but it had an annoying miss, and the engine temp gage stayed way down in the cool range.  So, I asked around, did my research, and found a mechanic that several friends vouched for.  Just before Christmas I took it to him, and he checked it, told me that a couple of sparkplugs were misfiring.  I told him I'd bring it back after the first of the year.  Sure 'nuff, on January 2nd, I pulled it into his shop.  He said he'd call me later that day.

He called in the late afternoon, found another problem.  The valve cover gaskets were leaking, and throwing oil into the coil packs.  I needed to change the valve cover gaskets, so I told him to go ahead.  Evidently, that's a major job because he gave me a major estimate.  A little Googling and I found that changing the valve cover gaskets on a Ford 4.6L engine ain't like it used to be.  It used to be a 20 minute job on the old engines I once worked on.  Now, you've just about got to disassemble the engine, or all the crap on top of it, just to get to the valve covers.

Okay, I told him.  Do it.  About two days later he called back, asked me to come by the shop.  I went by the shop and he showed me that when he took the valve covers off, the timing chain was loose.  Very loose.  The guides were gone.  Decision time.  I gritted my teeth and told him to continue.  New chains, sprockets, guides, tensioner, everything is brand new in the front of the block.  I cried, paid him his wage, and brought the car home.  Running fine.  Took Milady out and the Check Engine light came on.  And the water temp gage on the dashboard was way down to the cool side.

Well, hell.

I took it back to him today, and he put his little code reader on it.  Insufficient coolant temperature.  The thermostat is stuck open.  The engine never really gets to operating temperature.  He commences to telling me how easy it is to replace the thermostat.  Ten minute job.  Any fool can do it.  Then I notice that there is an auto parts store 50 yards from his shop.

"Look", I says.  "You gave me a good screwing on that last job.  How about a reach-around on a thermostat?  I'll buy it, and you install it.  It's an easy job, remember?

"Yeah," he says. "We can do that.  Go buy a thermostat."  One 10mm socket, ten minutes later, we were done.  The engine temp gage got nicely in the middle of the range and stayed there all the way home.

Hopefully, my car is fixed.  I love that car.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Morning Dawg

With the end of the temperatures in the teens, the weather has moderated a bit, and just yesterday, PawPaw was wearing a tee-shirt on the back porch.  Saturday morning temps were in the low 60s and the sun was shining brightly.  The dog decided to play chase with the cat, and they were all over the place.

Up and down, across the porch, out in the yard, and across the deck.

 Tag!  You're it!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's Over

Not completely, but the hunting season is just about over.  The stuff that normally goes to the woods is out of the truck and the rifle is soon to get it's ritual cleaning.  Not that I understand why, because I didn't fire it  once this season.  The barrel is as clean now as it was the first week of November.  However, not all is lost, because when hunting season is over, the shooting season commences.  I was just looking at my bench and I've got a fairly large number of blem bullets to load for the .308 for plinking.  I'm about out of loaded 25-06, so that needs to be done.  I'm woefully low on handgun ammo.  I'm down to my last two hundred rounds of .38 Special, and .45 ACP.  I've only got about 80 rounds of .44 Special, and I'm plumb-out of .44 magnum.  I haven't shot the .30-06 at all since June, and it's time that it got the chance to go to the range.

I'll have to start checking with the USPSA club and see when they've got the next matches planned.  Hunting season mught be over, but shooting season is right around the corner.

I need to get busy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Labor Force Participation

If you've been paying attention to our president, you know that the recovery is fully in force, and that things are getting better.  Until you get behind the numbers and see what's really up.  Hot Air leads us to a chart by Sean Davis that shows the difference between the unemployment figures touted by the administration, and the actual labor force participation.  As folks get discouraged and quit looking for work, they "fall out" of the unemployment numbers, but they're still not working.

The official unemployment rate is under 7%.  The actual labor force participation is stuck at about 11%.  Hot Air makes the point that if several million more people get discouraged and quit looking for work, we'll be down to a 5% unemployment rate, the lowest rate in decades.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Aliens Exist

A little palate cleanser for a Thursday evening.  I don't know how I missed it, but a former Canadian defense minister is on record as saying that he knows aliens exist and walk among us  Video at the link.
.“[I’ve] been getting from various sources [that] there are about 80 different species and some of them look just like us and they could walk down the street and you wouldn’t know if you walked past one.”
Really?  If that's so, where do they come from?
 The segment then ventures into the incredulous when Hellyer begins to list where they’re coming from. It turns out that our alien visitors come from near (one of the Saturn moons) and far (the Pleiades and Zeta Reticuli star systems). Oh yeah, and they get here via a portal in the Andes mountains in Peru.
 I knew that there was something about those Andes mountains.  A portal there.  Yeah.

I'd say that's a definitive answer to a question we've all wondered about.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Is It A Good Idea?

I've got to admit, I've got a lot of mixed feelings about Colorado's experiment with legal recreational marijuana, both from a law enforcement perspective and a libertarian perspective.  I've been a cop for 33 years and I've enforced the marijuana laws without rancor or prejudice.  I've arrested people for possession of marijuana, among other things, and I'm not sure what the long-term implications are, either as a legal matter or a social experiment.

However, I'm reading all I can about what is going on in that fair state, and I'm wondering about the implications, both from a tax standpoint, a black market standpoint, the social costs involved.  How are the cops going to deal with intoxication?  What are the ramifications?  I have to admit, I don't know.  However, that's one of the beauties of this great country, that a state can decide to do something revolutionary and the rest of us can watch a bit and try to see how it works out.  That's Federalism, and I'm all for federalism.

This is going to be interesting.  Hopefully, we can learn something from this experiment.

Bloomberg Giving Up?

That's the question that Hot Air asks.  It seems that with the Senate midterms coming up later this year and the House being fully roiled every two years, the Democrats have decided that having an outfit like Mayors Against (Some) Illegal Guns targeting Democrats who are squishy on gun control is a bad thing.
Halperin added that, while there are many Democrats in the Senate up for reelection this year, they all enjoy some advantages; including strong fundraising, weak Republican challengers, and incumbency itself. These incumbents, he insisted, may hang on in November in spite of six-year midterm headwinds, but attacking these Senate Democrats from the left could imperil them by reducing the base’s enthusiasm.
The Dems are asking Bloomberg to hold off on Dems in red states (Like our own Senator, Mary Landrieu, who enjoys a good rating from the NRA), go silent for now on the gun issue, and try to keep the Democrats in their seats.   So, it's a political consideration.  Keep the Dems in power and hope for better headwinds on gun control later.

I don't think for a minute that Bloomberg is giving up on gun control.  However, I'd like for someone to ask him if his bodyguards are armed.  Bloomberg's not against guns, he's just against my guns.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Compromise

Dick Metcalf (bless his heart) is whining about double-crossing us.  Yeah, really.  You remember Dick?  He used to write for Guns and Ammo magazine, and got handed the pink slip in November.  Fox News reports that he's feeling a little bit banished.
Metcalf, a longtime writer on firearms and U.S. gun culture, saw his association with Guns & Ammo terminated in November -- he also had a T.V. show co-produced by the magazine -- after he wrote a column titled, “Let’s Talk Limits: Do certain firearm regulations really constitute infringement?”
Yeah, well, when you write about increased firearm regulations in this time of a massive push for regulation, you're liable to feel a little backlash.

The New York Times covers it too.
His experience sheds light on the close-knit world of gun journalism, where editors and reporters say there is little room for nuance in the debate over gun laws. Moderate voices that might broaden the discussion from within are silenced. When writers stray from the party line promoting an absolutist view of an unfettered right to bear arms, their publications — often under pressure from advertisers — excommunicate them.
“We are locked in a struggle with powerful forces in this country who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment,” said Richard Venola, a former editor of Guns & Ammo. “The time for ceding some rational points is gone.”
They're all "whaa-whaa" about the thought that one senior writer would get handed his papers for suggesting that gun rights aren't absolute.  We know that they're not absolute, we're painfully aware that gun rights aren't absolute, but then we come to the crux of the matter.
“Compromise is a bad word these days,” he said. “People think it means giving up your principles.” 
Oh, please, Dick.  You know better than that.  In a compromise, I give a little and you give a little and we come to a working agreement.  Then it's over, and we get on with our lives.  We live within the agreement and it never again becomes an issue.  Tell me what the other side of the argument is willing to cede, Dick, and maybe we can talk about compromise.  However, my side giving up things, over and over again, isn't compromise, it's incrementalism.  If Metcalf is too stupid to understand that, he's too stupid to write for a magazine that I'll read.

You want to compromise, Metcalf?  What are you willing to give up?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Pork Loin Roast

This has to be the simplest recipe I've ever stumbled across.  Pork Tenderloin Roast.  I tried it during New Year's and it came out so good, I cooked another one this morning for the church.

Pork Loin Roast
Ingredients:
1 10 lb pork loin
Water.

Seriously, that's the whole ingredients list.

Prep.
Preheat oven to 350 F
Cut pork loin in half, into two 5 lb pieces.  It makes it easier to handle
Put each piece in a pan (I use steam-table pans)
Sprinkle liberally with Tony's (both sides)
Add about 1/3 cup water to each steam pan
Cover well with aluminum foil.

That's two five-pound pork loins sprinkled with Tony's, ready to be covered.  Seal with aluminum foil.  You want that water to steam, and keep them from drying out.

Cooking.
Slide them into a 350 oven for 3 hours.  Don't look at them.  Try not do drool on yourself while the roasts cook.
Remove from oven after three hours.  Slice into serving pieces.


That's the same two roasts, sliced and ready to take to a church pot luck.  Serves about 25-30 people.

This is the easiest recipe I've worked with in a while, and it is very pleasing to those that like pork.  Very pleasing indeed.

Here It Comes

I awoke this morning and wandered outside with my coffee, as is my habit.  Not bad, temps in the 50s, but high clouds moving overhead.  Then I came in and checked AccuWeather for Pineville, LA.  Here it comes.
Not too bad today, but tomorrow the wind will be biting.  RealFeel of 5F?  Holy-moly, I'd better get out  the long woolies.  I feel bad for you guys up in the Frozen North, and we're going to get a taste of it down in sub-tropic Louisiana.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's cold out there this morning.  Cold for Louisiana, cold for the rest of the nation.  The dog has heard about the tribulations of the family members in the frozen north, and gives them the following exhortation.

Hunker down somewhere warm, near your water bowl and your food dish.  Stay safe until this weather passes.  This  is not the time to be playing outdoors.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Stadium, or Couch

That's the question that this article is asking, and one I've talked about with friends, family, and associates.  Should we pay the toll to watch a game in person, or sit at home (or in a local sports bar) and watch the game?
In the latest evidence that the sports in-home viewing experience has possibly trumped the in-stadium one, ticket sales were slow for the first week of the National Football League's marquee stretch of games.
Well, yeah.  It's a no-brainer.  Let's talk about the choice.  The only real experience I have with big stadiums is with my beloved LSU Tigers, but I'd rather sit at home than go to the stadium.  Why?  It's simple.

I have to drive to the stadium, a 100 mile drive, then I have to find a place to park and walk a mile to the stadium, then I have to stand in line with my expensive ticket.  If I have nose-bleed seats, I have to crawl up into the top of the stadium, brave the weather, and watch the game through binoculars.  If I want something to eat, a hot dog is $5.00 and I'm going to buy one for everyone in my party.  It's easy to drop $100.00 on concessions at a Division 1 college ball game.  Then, after the game is over, we do the whole thing in reverse, crawl down from the stadium, walk a mile to find the car, then drive home 100 miles.  Yeah, I want to do that several times a year.

Or, I can sit home on the couch, or at my local bar, watch the game free-of-charge, and enjoy the company of like-minded friends and family, with magnificent front-row seats and instant replays.  The company is great, the seats are magnificent, the climate is controlled, and do you know how many hot dogs I can make for $100.00?  It's a no-brainer.   I don't care if I ever go into another stadium for a big football game.  It's not worth the time, money, nor effort.

Now, if college (and NFL) ball, get the tickets down to $5.00, with a dollor hot dog, I might fhink about going to their overpriced, inconvenient stadiums, but until then, if I want to sit in bleachers, I'll go to the ball park and watch my beloved Bolton high school.

Arctic Chill

The big news nationwide is the arctic chill that's settled on the nation.  My brother in Vermont is facebooking about sub-zero temps with windchill in the -25 range, and my ex sister-in-law in Minnesota is complaining about a predicted ice storm with sub-zero temperatures.  It's damned cold in the frozen north.  I feel for those people, and I'm glad that I have a warm house in sub-tropic Louisiana.  Then Milady cautions me about our near-range forecast, and I click on AccuWeather to find this joyful forecast.

Oh, joy, we're expecting lows in the teens next week.  With possible showers one of those days.  Now, I admit that AccuWeather can't seem to read a clock, and I'm never sure what day they're talking about when the low temp is published.  But, I see Sunday, low 22, Monday, low 17, Tuesday, low 24.  If we get rain anywhere there, the bridges will freeze over and all traffic will come to a screeching halt.  Louisiana doesn't react well to icing simply because we only have to deal with it once every decade.  We haven't had any wintry precipitation since before I put the pool in, in 2007.  It's been seven years or longer since we've dealt with icy conditions.

To my loved ones in the Frozen North, I pray for your sanity.  I'm glad I wnterized the pool last week.  It looks like the next few days are going to be quite a ride.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Magpul Moving

I see that Magpul has finally announced their move.  From the press release, it looks like they're moving manufacturing to Montana, and corporate to Texas.
The company is relocating manufacturing, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Magpul is leasing a 58,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility during the construction of a 100,000 square foot build-to-suit facility in the Cheyenne Business Parkway. The Wyoming relocation is being completed with support from Governor Matt Mead, the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS.
Magpul is moving its corporate headquarters to Texas. Three North Central Texas sites are under final consideration, and the transition to the Texas headquarters will begin as soon as the facility is selected. The Texas relocation is being accomplished with support from Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Economic Development Corporation.
When Colorado passed the ban for standard magazines, it made Magpul's continued existence there problematic, in that they couldn't sell their product to the residents of the state where they were located.  I do notice that the Colorado that banned standard magazines is also the same Colorado that recently legalized recreational marijuana use.  Interesting juxtaposition, that.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Remington Pistol R-51

Surfing around this morning, I see that Remington Arms is introducing an updated design of an old pistol, the R-51.  The old Model 51 was a Pederson design, made from 1918 to 1927, in .32 and .380 ACP.  The new R-51 is an updated design and is rated for 9mm+P.  It looks to be a slim design, and thoroughly de-horned.
Yep, it's a single-stack 9mm and it looks like it's fairly slim.  You can read all about it at The Fiream Blog, where the blogger got a chance to wring one out.  The most interesting item on the little pistol might be the MSRP, which is set at $389.00.  Under $400 for a new single-stack?  That's amazing.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Hunting Hat

A proper hunting hat is a very individual sartorial choice.  Based on individual needs, climate, terrain, and temperature, the hunting hat might simply be a billed baseball cap, or it might be a fur-lined cap with ear flaps, made of natural or synthetic materials.  For years I wore a standard baseball cap, but learned that I needed a brim that would keep rain off the back of my neck.  (Yes, folks, it rains in Louisiana.)  While I'm not apt to be out in the driving rain, I might certainly find myself in a sudden shower, or more likely in a misting rain.  I don't like ear flaps, generally because as I've approached my dotage, I've become increasingly more deaf.  I don't hear things that I used to hear, and I don't need anything covering my ears.  If it's that cold, I'm going to build a fire.

However, several years ago I found a hunting hat that suits me to a tee.  Right down to the core.  It keeps my head warm, is fairly stylish, and sets the proper tone for an old man in the woods.

It's some sort of outback hat, but the manufacturer's tag is lost to the ages.  It's in some sort of camouflage, which I don't find absolutely necessary, but which seems to be de rigeur for hunting hats.  Still, I wish I knew who made it, because I'd order a half-dozen in various colors or camo patterns.  Still, I understand that the hunting hat is a very individual choice.  For me, that outback is the proper hat.