Thursday, April 27, 2017

Eliminating Overreach

President Trump has ordered Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study regulations and investigate federal overreach in the school systems.
“Previous administrations have wrongly forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dictates for what our kids are taught. The time has come to empower teachers and parents to make the decisions that help their students achieve success.”
This is a great idea.  I've been working int he schools for the past 13 years and I have seen time and time again how federal whims and caprices have thrown schools into frustration and stresss.  Sometimes it is something as small as interfering in theschool lunch menu.

Personally, I think that we should get back to Readin', Writin', and Rithmatic.  Technology, of course, and every high school should have a shop class.   Those simple basics have served our country well for many decades.

Texas State

Thursday afternoon, late, after work, Major D, Blue Eyed Belle and Akarate Zach are throwing the gun bags in the car and heading for Silsbee, Texas where we will participate in the Texas State Championship of Cowboy Fast Draw.

We will be shooting at Camp Waluta, the home range of the Big Thicket Bushwackers. I'm not sure how many shooters we will have, but we had 80 at Louisiana State, and weren't expecting that many.  Texas State is a much older competition, so we should have that many or more.

At any rate, Thursday afternoon late, we're packing the van and heading to Texas.  We will try to post during the weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Intolerance

There's something weird going on in the American political sphere.  I'm reading that Ann Coulter is scheduled to speak t UC-Berkeley and the local constabulary is expecting riots.  Really?
As the Berkeley Police Department gears up for yet another showdown between First Amendment supporters and violent "anti-fascists," questions have arisen regarding the mayor's ties to a local anti-fascist group. Ann Coulter vowed to move ahead with a planned speaking engagement at the university on Thursday after her speech was canceled due to security concerns.
Has the American Left become so insecure that they resort to violence and intimidation whenever they are presented with differing viewpoints?  Universities are exactly the proper place to explore differing viewpoints, practice tolerance, and challenge rigidely held beliefs.  It seems that the folks from California have forgotten that.

That's a damned shame.

Kids

Sunday morning at the match, I was cutting up a poster with 100 squares on it for a drawing, to give away a gun, and some door prizes.  I needed someone to draw the names out of the bucket, and I saw a little girl run past. She's the daughter of two of our shooters.  Under ten years old, pretty little girl, precocious and full of life   I figured she'd be perfect to draw the names, and while I was cutting up the board, Dad wanders by.

"Hey, Buck" I called out.  "That little girl of yours.  The middle one?"

He stopped dead in his tracks.  "Omigod, what did she do now?"

"No, no, nothing like that," I told him.  "Can I use her today during the awards to draw some names out of a bucket?"

"Yeah, sure," he says, "But when you called me I thought she was in trouble."

Kids are like that sometimes.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dumpster Diving

One of the hazards of police work is dumpster diving.  Sometimes you've got to go inside a foul dumpster to retrieve vital evidence.  It's normally the rookie's job to go inside, and I haven't done it since the mid '80s/

Until an hour ago.

I got off work today, called the dispatcher to go 10-7, (out of service) and walked over to the van to go home.  We took that van to Natchitoches this weekend, ad when I opened the sliding door, I noticed some stuff that could be thrown away, so I grabbed it and tossed it toward the dumpster.  I watched in horror as my van keys sailed in a nice arc into the dumpster.

Crap, crap, crap.  I went back inside, found my buddy who has ladders, and went dumpster diving.  Luckily, the dumpster was used for office refuse, and my keys were easy to find.

But, it brought back some not-so-fond memories of other dumpsters I have dived in the past.

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Done!

The Louisiana State Championship of Cowboy Fast Draw is in the record books.  It was a wonderful experience, and the City of Natchitoches was a gracious host.  It's now in the record books and we look forward to the rest of the competition season.

We had weather.  All kinds of weather.  When we got to the park on Thursday to set up, we were under sunny skies, humid conditions, and warm temperatures.  As we set up the ranges, before too long, we were sweating like cane-field mules.  Water was a precious commodity, and we were losing it by the bucket-full.  Before dark , the ranges were set and the shade tarps erected

Friday morning dawned off sunny and hot.  We had plenty of shade and lots of iced water in 5-gallon coolers.  We started with a warm-up match which lasted till about 1:00, 1:00, took a short break, then shot the Shootist category.  For those unfamiliar, the Shootist category is for the long-barreled revolvers.  Nothing shorter than 7.5 inches need show up on the line.  It was hot and muggy all day.  Even though the shooters brought coolers with their own drinks, the water coolers were a constant gathering place.  We drank over 20 gallons of water from the coolers on Friday.

After shooting, a group went to the Mariner's restaurant on Sibley Lake for a meet-and-greet.  We toasted old friends, greeted new friends, and ordered from a sumptuous menu.   I went with the oyster po-boy, but I'm told that the stuffed flounder was delectable.

Saturday at sun-up, it was muggy and overcast.  The weather man was calling for rain.  We began the main match under threatening skies, and it soon became apparent that we were not going to finish the day dry.  However, the little ran squalls were small and light.  We got through seven rounds of competition before we called a halt at about five p.m.  the leadership sat down to do a little in-progress review.  As we talked, the bottom fell out and we watched it ran from under a cover.

Sunday morning, grey skies, a breeze, and temps hovering around fifty degrees.  We started the bracket matches and everyone wished that they had brought a jacket.  Poor Belle, during the bracket match, was so cold that she couldn't cock the hammer on her Piettta (and yes, her guns have lighter springs installed).  She warmed up enough that during the next round, she was able to shoot, but with morning temps hovering in the high 40s, it was quite a contrast from Friday.

By mid afternoon, we were shooting the finals under sunny skies and pleasant temps.    Congratulations to Whiplas, from Texas.  He is our Men's Chapion.  The lovely Plain Jane (ad nthere ain't nothing plain about Jane) is our Women's Champion.   A young gal who calls herself Texas Diamond is our Annie Oakley champion, and a fine young fellow we call Dash is our Billy the Kid champion.   Great competitors, all of them.  We gave out a host of other prizes, too many to list here, but each of them significant.  Then we hugged necks, shook hands, and started breaking down.    In several hours, the trailers were loaded and we rolled out of Natchitoches, leaving nothing behind but our footprints and our loose change.

I'd like to thank everyone who made this a success.  The list would be long, and I've thanked them personally.    I'll put some pictures up later, after editing, but this week we hardly have time to wash our laundry, clean our guns, and get packed back up.

Next weekend, it's Texas State.  Belle and I, along with Zach, will be on the road to Silsbee, TX, where the Big Thicket Bushwackers will host the Texas State Championship.  Just about the time I catch my breath from this weekend, it'll be time to do it again in Texas.

Here's a couple of photos coming out early.


That's a group photo of the assembled gunfighters in Natchitoches, LA.

And here's one f Blue Eyed Belle and Major D, taken Friday morning.

See y'all on the line.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Morning

Five months of planning, working, plotting, and preparation come together today.  In several hours, we'll start the cars and head to Natchitoches, LA.  Our permit says that we can start setting-ip at 1:00 pm in the city park.  For anyone who needs a GPS address, go to 400 Amulet St, Natchitoches, LA then look down the hill.  The parking lot is on the corner of 5th and Amulet.

I'm humbly grateful at the amount of participation so far.  We have over 50 pre-registered and as late as last night, I was getting notifications on Facebook of folks coming that we had not suspected were coming.  As this is my first time hosting a titled, sanctioned shoot, I suspect that this is not uncommon.  That some folks just decide at the last minute to drive across the country.  We have shooters coming form as far away as Virginia and Nevada.  The bulk of the shooters will be from Texas, and Oklahoma but many states will be represented, including Arkansas, Georgia, and Missouri.

At this stage of the game, I only have a few wishes for the remainder of this operation.

1.  That all the participants travel safely to the venue.
2.  That the team continues to work smoothly and that we work through the inevitable glitches
3. That everyone has a good time, with goodwill and friendly competition.
4. That we show off the City of Natchitoches to the shooters and we show the color and excitement of Cowboy Fast Draw to the City of Natchitoches.
5.  That everyone returns home safely.

It's show time.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Socialsm

Socialism has failed in almost every country where they tried it.  It just doesn't work, but that doesn't stop strong-men from ruling with an iron fist.  One recent example is Venezuela ruled by a tyrant named Maduro.  Food shortages plague his country along with civil unrest.    When your country runs out of toilet paper, there is something seriously wrong with the economy.  Such is the travails of living under socialism.

It looks like Maduro has guns, though, because he believes in the adage left to us by Chairman Mao. It seems that Maduro is ready to arm about 400,000 "militia members".  As Hot Air reports:
These so-called militias have been in place since the regime of Hugo Chavez, but not on this scale. They also shouldn’t be confused with American militias from the revolutionary war era. Far from being patriotic citizen soldiers who stand ready to set aside their farming implements to defend their homeland from invaders, these are the thugs who receive favorable treatment for remaining on the good side of the socialist regime and making sure none of their neighbors get out of line.
No, these are reliable thugs, who get preferential treatment from the government.

This is what socialism looks like, and why our 2nd Amendment is so important.

Weekend Weather

Like many of you, I'm a weather watcher.  It's been my experience that as good as the weather-weenies are at forecasting, they simply can't start to firm up the forecast until about three days out.  There is too much of the butterfly effect, and the weather is one of those things that is almost impossible to predict with any degree of confidence past about four days.

I'm watching the weather for this weekend, because we've planned a rather large outdoor event.    And, I'm watching the weather.  When I want a quick-and-dirty idea, I click on Accuweather.  And, there is the forecast this weekend for Natchitoches, LA.


That doesn't look good for Saturday  There is a chance of a thunderstorm.  But, chances are like probabilities, and further data is needed.  So, I then click over to Weather Underground.  Here's that three-day prognostication.


That gives me a little better idea, and that blue area on the bottom of the map is the chance of rain.  And, if I click on that area of the map, I get an expanded view that looks like this.


That's Saturday, in Natchitoches, LA.  The rain chance is still there, but it never gets over 50%, although it approaches hat magic number.  Is it going to rain on our parade?  Heck, I don't know, but neither do the weather forecasters.  My idea, based on my experience with weather in central Louisiana is that there are probably going to be pop-up showers across the area.  Local events that might rain on one acre and leave the next pasture bone-dry.

I am cautiously optimistic at this time that the weather will cooperate.  All indications ar that Saturday will have a  less-than-half chance of rain, as part of a weak front passing by, and that Sunday will dawn-off clear and cool.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

That Naval Armada

You remember that naval armada that was headed foro Korean waters last week?  Yeah, not so much.
As worries deepened last week about whether North Korea would conduct a missile test, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior.
The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.

Dude!  Really?  hat's messed up.  And, I doubt we can blame it on the Navy.  Oh, wait... yeah we can.