Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fish Fry Today

Well, the fish fry is over, we ate till our belly-buttons were tight, then sat around and visited for several hours.

Catfish, french fries, hush=puppies.  The ladies made broccoli salad and cole slaw.  PawPaw was the fry-master today.  I know my way around a fish cooker, I've been frying fish for nearly four decades, and I've just about learned how to do it.  There is no real secret.  Good, clean fish, good seasoning, slice the filets thin, roll it in seasoned cornmeal, and fry it in hot oil.  Use a thermometer and keep your oil between 350-400 degrees. I don't know why some people have trouble with this.

Grand-niece Rachel is a starving college student at ULM in Monroe, LA.  I was very surprised and pleased to see her get out of the car.  Rachel is a joy, and it appears that she likes fried fish.

All told, I fed fourteen people this afternoon, and still had fish left over.  Several of the guests took fish plates home.  It was a great day with greaat people.

Memory Lane

Who remembers this guy?  He showed up on a birthday card that Belle got.

That's Quick Draw McGraw.  I used to watch his show when I was a kid.

Saturday Morning

Belle's family has a lot of birthdays in March, and today is in fact Belle's birthday.  Her side of the family is gathering here on PawPaw's acre, noonish, to celebrate together.  I'll be frying catfish on the patio, with french fries, hush-puppies, and coleslaw.  BYOB.

I've been at it since daylight, prepping and getting ready.  Taking a break right now, to catch my breath before the guests start to arrive.  The weather-weeenies are predicting a chance of a shower.  Hopefully, it'll go around us so that I don't have to move everything into the garage.

On yer mark, get set.  GO!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Blinging a Gunbelt

Belle gets a new gunbelt for her birthday, and the next thing I know, a package arrives from  Conchos.  What good is a gunbelt without conchos?

I told her to measure carefully, to place them where she wanted them.  Then we very carefully punched the holes.  That's cowboy bling.

Old Time Repair Shops

When I was growing up, television was relatively new, and was a substantial investment, a fair portion of a weekly paycheck.  TV repair shops littered the landscape.  Indeed, my own father fixed TVs for a while in the family storeroom.  He put up a bench and made a little side money fixing television sets.

Those old repair shops have gone the way of the dodo bird.  Foe rhe most part, consumer electronics are disposable; if something breaks, you throw it away and buy another.  The time of fixing TVs is long gone.  But, there are still a couple of old-time repair shops around that can do stuff that was once the province of any good electronic repair shop.

One such repairman is a guy I'll call Ricky.  Ricky runs a repair shop that specializes in audio=visual equipment for a local governmental agency.  When I have an issue, Ricky is the easy answer.  He doesn't always tell me what I want to hear, but he'll give me the straight scoop.  Ricky likes old guns, so we trade expertise and talk about the time when things got fixed, rather than thrown away.

You'll remember earlier this week, when I bought my portable PA system.  I showed it to RIcky, and he noticed the two plugs on the back of the unit for attaching it to a battery for 12 volt power.  He told me about a shop downtown that sold little electronic parts.  "Go there and get two banana plugs and two battery clips.  Come back here and we'll build a power cord so that you can hook it to a battery."

So, I went to this shop he told me about.  Stepping in through the door was like stepping back 40 years. Dusty, musty, lots of shelves and bins.  I found the proprietor and told him what I was looking for.  "Ricky sent me."

"Okay", he said and started looking in bins.  In just a few minutes he had found banana plugs, one red, one black, but he was having trouble finding battery clips.  Then he remembered that he was using them as clamps for a gluing project.  He disappeared into the back of the shop and returned in just a minute, with two battery clips, one red, one black.  I gave him a $10.00 bill and out the door.

At Ricky's shop the next morning, Ricky plugged in his soldering iron and let it heat while he found a piece os suitable scrap wire.  In ten mites, he had soldered the banana plugs on one end and the battery clips on the other.  In the space of an couple of hours, I had a custom made, professionally crafted power cable for my PA system.

I didn't have to wait on Amazon, or go to a box store wondering if I could find what I needed, just talk to two old craftsmen who knew their business.  In many ways it was like stepping back into my grandfather's shop, or my Dad's shop.  When we lose these guys, either trhough the economy, or normal mortality, the country will have lost a treasure.

We Get Mail

I found this in my inbox after I got home from work yesterday.
  Hello Major D,
  I really liked your article about the pressure washer attachment, thank you.  I am a Yankee living in NH.  I escaped NY in '96 after spending my life in that cesspool.  After my wife had passed away I met a wonderful Lady in NH where I was working erecting a printing press.  I was a machinist for 43 years specializing in the printing industry.  A strange twist of fate let us meet.  Life sometimes is kind in that way.  We have been married 21 years this September. Your blog is an every day must.  Denny or Major D. thanks for a daily reminder of family value and camaraderie.
dthed in NH

Well, hell!  Thanks for reading my poor scribblings, and thanks for letting me know that someone in the frozen north reads my stuff.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cleaning a Patio

Like many of you, PawPaw has a patio.  We spent a lot of time out there.  Cats, dogs, visitors, kids and grandkids, we like to hang out on the patio.  I've expanded it twice over the years, and it catches a fair amount of debris.  Every so often, it needs a good, thorough cleaning.

Also like many people, I have a small, residential pressure washer.  Mine runs 2.3 gallons per minute at 2700 psi.  When I use the pressure washer, overspray is a problem.  Water splashes everywhere, normally throwing debris on walls, support posts and ceilings.  That ain't good, because I've got to wash everything two or three times before I'm finished.

So, I cast about for a solution.  As it turns out, they make this thing called a surface cleaner. The one I bought looks like this:

It clips on to the end of the wand with a standard quick-disconnect. Overspray is virtually eliminated.  Underneath, the device has a rotating nozzle where water sprays out in a high-speed circular motion, lifting dirt and grime off the surface without blowing it on to your walls , ceilings, or fences.

Here's a video showing it in action.

This thing works as advertised, and has the PawPaw seal of approval.  Our patio is approximately 10 X 40 and I gave it a thorough surface cleaning yesterday.  From the time I started moving furniture until Belle gave it her approval was about 90 minutes.  Not a bad job at all.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Terror In London

The news feeds just lit up about a terror incident in London.  Some bozo drove over pedestrians, the got out of his vehicle and stabbed a cop.  Said bozo was launched into eternity for his efforts.

The Daily Mail describes the bozo as a "middle-aged Asian", which I understand is politically-correct lingo for one of the adherents of the Mohametan sect.

Other sources tell us that this event happened one year after the Brussels attacks last year.

It doesn't take much to connect the dots on this one.   However, until I learn more I will refrain from calling this the latest Islamic Terror Event.

Pawn Shop Crawling

AI am always enamored of a good pawn shop.  Regular readers know this; many of the things I look for, I start my search in a pawn shop.

I've been looking for a little, portable PA system.  Something that runs on both battery and AC power.  In Cowboy Fast Draw, we can run our ranges on 12 volt power or AC, and that's a plus.  A fully charged marine battery can run our range electronics for a weekend.  A little PA system is useful for safety briefings and shooters meetings, and while AC power is normally available, having a battery otion is nice too.

We can buy these things on Amazon, or at Sam's club in the $100-150 range, but I thought that I'd start my search at my favorite pawn shop, to see what Johnny had available.

I got Johnny out from behind his desk and told him what I was looking for.  Compact, lightweight, on wheels, with a collapsible handle.

"I may have just what you're looking for," says he, as we head toward the pawn counter.

Sure enough, he pulls out something that looks like this.

Mine is marked POLAROID, but I'm sure that it's made by the same Chinese outfit that makes lots of consumer electronics.  We tested it,  It has a USB port, Bluetooth, and a host of features that I'll probably never use, but it does have a standard microphone jack and while it doesn't have an internal battery, it does have jacks for 12v power.  It should suit my needs perfectly, and it cost considerably less than a brand-new comparable units from the local big box store.

A couple of banana plugs and alligator clips and I'll be able to hook it to a battery.  It should serve our needs just fine.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


So, my cousin calls. (Actually, consin-in-law, but we don't dither about family).  The conversation goes something like this:
Me: "Hey, Cuz, what's up?:
Cuz: "where do you buy shotgun primers?"
Me: Precision, Reloading generally.  Why?"
Cuz. "I'm out, and I need to order some."
Me: "Well, that's where I get mine, unless I find a sale."
Cuz: "Yeah, but the Haz-Mat charge eats me up."
Me: "Yeah, but if you make a big order,"
Cuz: "I don't need that many primers, just three thousand or so."
Me:  "Find someone to go halves with you, and split an order."
Cuz: "Okay.  This catalog is two years old.  Reckon the price has changed?"
Me, (thinking, Catalog?): Yeah, you might want to call them or go online."

So, Cuz may be more low-tech than I suspected.  I put the phone away, thinking "Catalog?? Who uses catalogs anymore?"  Evidently, Cuz uses them.

So, several hours later, I'm moving around and the phone rings.  It's Cuz again.
Cuz: "Hey, we've got six-thousand primers coming."
Me: "We?  Whaddya mean, We?"
Cuz.  "You  and me!  Three thousand each.  - - Oh, you owe me a hunnderd dollars."
Me: "Oh, so now I have to come up with a hundred dollars."
Cuz: "It's okay, I know where you live."

Cousins.  We've all got them.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Accuracy Matters

In our game, accuracy isn't built in.  We shoot single action revolvers with fixed sights and wax bullet ammo, not a good combination for nit-picking accuracy.  MOA isn't even in our thesaurus.  A hit is a hit, and that's all that matters.  Speed is important, because whoever hits the target first gets the winning shot.  But, that qualifier above "whoever hits the target" is the important thing.

It's a truism that as the speed increases, the hit ratio goes down.  In this game, we rate a shooter by speed.  If most of his hits are in the 3/10ths range, we call him a 3-shooter.  If most of his hits are in the half-second range, we call him a 5-shooter.  Almost every gunner, when they begin this game, quickly gets down to below a second.  That a big milestone, and normally happens after the first or second practice session.  I say "most", because some folks have trouble putting it together, but vast majority get down under a second fairly quickly.  After my introduction to the game, I was stuck in the 7s for a year or longer.  Now, during practice, I'm hitting in the 6s and flirting with the 5s.  This is my second year in this game.

In this game, only hits matter, and while everyone likes to go fast, it's not always the quickest who brings home the trophies.  Sometimes, the very expedient of hitting the target will take you to the winner's braket, and that was never more apparent than yesterday, at the Southern Territorials in Amarillo, TX.

I didn't get to attend, but some very good friends were there, and FaceBook lit up as they got to the finals.  I knew the manes of most of the shooters, but one name, J.B. Steele was a mystery.  I asked Belle if she had heard of J.B. Steele, and no, she had not.

Plain Jane, our current national champion, was live-streaming the finals, and I was surprised when I heard the announcer calling times.  "We've got no hit on lane five, but a .763 on lane 6"

I told Belle, "Come watch!  There's some guy in the finals shooting 7s."

I full-screened the computer, and we watched.  Against very fast shooters, there was J.B. Steele, We watched in awe as he put away some very good shooters.  He just stood there calmly, against the best in the sport, hitting the plate with monotonous regularity, and getting three winning shots before the other guys.

Our finals matches are double-elimination.  You've got to lose twive before you're out, and as the fast shooters faded away, there stood J.B. Steele, hitting the plate and sending the fast guns into the bleachers.  As the match progressed, we learned that J.B. Steele is a brand-new shooter and that this was his first sanctioned shoot.  Then it came down to the last two shooters.  J.B Steele was clean, and Parttime had one X.  Parttime is arguably the fastest gun in Texas.  He's also a staunch competitor, a heck of a nice guy, and a personal friend.  Of course, I was rooting for Parttime, but I had to gie J.B. Steele his due.  He had stood there against some very good guns, and put them away, one at a time.

And, it finally came down to the last shot.  Paartime had beaten Steele once, so they switched lanes to do it again.  Each competitor had one X, and this match would decide it.  The drama was high, and the sension was thick.  J.B.Steele was on fire, and Parttime was hitting quick.  The match came down to a 2-2 matchup, and on the final shot, both shooters hit the target.  Partime did it a little quicker, and got the blinking light.

Congratulations, Parttime on becoming the Southern Territorials Champion.  But, congrats to J.B. Steele as well.   It was a solid performance against very good shooters, and proves what Wyatt Earp said famously so long ago.  "Speed it fine, but accuracy is final."

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Congratulation to Marshall's Daughter, the new ladies Southern Territorial Cham[ion.  Marshall's Daughter is a shooter out of Richmond, TX, and a leader in the Lone Star Gunslingers.  She's a heck of  competitor, a great person with her whole family in Fast Draw.

She gave me an X last year at the Southern Territorials..  We were shooting in the same bracket, and when the gunsmoke cleared, she had beaten me.  I didn't take it personal, because as she always does, I got a big ol' smile and a great hug.  That's the way we do it in Cowboy Fast Draw, shooting against friends.

She has the blingy-est gunbelt in the Southern Territory, and every time I ssee her I ask if she's added any bling to it.

Congratulations, darlin'. We love you here in Louisiana, and hope to see you in Natchitoches next month.    Oh, and if we're in the same bracket next month, I owe you an X.

Officer Down

An East Baton Rouge parish sheriff's deputy was fatally shot last night, conducting an investigation.
A Louisiana sheriff's deputy was fatally shot late Saturday night while conducting an investigation, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police confirmed.
We're still sorting out the details.
 Bryan Lee, spokesman for Louisiana State Police Troop B, told reporters Saturday night that the slain deputy was one of two deputies who were carrying out an unspecified investigation at Classic Cuts, 1962 Oneal Lane. Shots were fired shortly before midnight, Lee said.

Our prayers are with the family of the slain officer and the East Bton Rouge Sheriff's Department.