Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Posts

New posts are up over at the Wordpress site. Go see them.

I'll probably be completing the move to the new site in the next several weeks. I'll continue to update here. In the meantime, you might start adjusting your bookmarks to the new site.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I've been playing with a new (to me) program and I've set up a site in case I want to get away from Blogger. You can see it here. I'm not ready to move yet, but I've published a posting at the new site about practical rifle marksmanship.

Give it a read, and tell me what you think about the new site. It's rough right now, but hopefully I can learn enough to move to the new site and get away from some of the problems I've had with Blogger.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Shotgun Shells

I was at Momma's today, bushhogging. When I finished up, she said she found something that Daddy had hidden and she went looking in the closet.

A full box of Winchester Western #6 lead shot in 16 gauge. These fit the Model 12 shotgun that I inherited.

If I'm interpreting the store sticker correctly, these were stocked in September of 1982 and sold for the price of $6.47 at Howard Brothers, a local retailer that pre-dated Wal-Mart. I don't understand why Dad had these hidden. They're still legal for upland game, although not for waterfowl.

These shells are still in fine shape, and there's no doubt in my mind that they'd fire if I loaded them in the shotgun. That's not likely to happen, though. I think I'll keep them with the shotgun to be passed along when the time is right.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Momma has had muscadine vines since she and Daddy moved to Deville. This morning after church we went over to Momma's so that I could diagnose a broken tractor. As my son and I saw what was wrong (belt had slipped off pully), Milady wandered out to the vines with the grandsons and started pickin muscadines. By the time we fixed the tractor, she had picked two gallons of grapes.

This afternoon, she made jelly. I've got ten pints of homemade muscadine jelly behind me on the counter, jelling.

Heh-heh. Life is good.

Friday, July 27, 2007

In the Mail

I find in the mail today, a badge.

This is a replica easily found on the Internet. It seems that the administration of Kansas City at one time decided that they needed an officer to inspect the various brothels that serviced the cowboys who brought cattle in from the drives.

That had to be a good job for a single man. A married man would have had distaff problems holding the job.

I collect badges. Normally non-replica badges from little agencies. I find them at flea-markets and antique shops. Still, this one will find a prominent place in my collection. Thanks, Junior.

Who is Qualified?

We're having an election in October, and a plethora of public officials have to stand for re-election. We're electing statewide officials, and parishwide officials and the campaigning has begun.

The question on everybody's lips is Who's Qualified? In Louisiana, it ain't that simple. Right now, none of them are qualified because the qualifying period hasn't begun. There are a bunch of folks who have announced, but the qualifying period isn't until September 4-6, 2007. Right now none of them are qualified.

Then, it's just a matter of attesting to some fairly simple prerequisites. For example, lets say that Candidate X has announced for Sheriff. He's lived in the parish for the past 20 years, but never spent a day of it in law enforcement. Candidate X's only job for the past 20 years has been running a honky-tonk. On September 4th, he goes down to the Clerk of Courts office and pays a qualifying fee, attests that he has been a resident of Louisiana for two years and a resident of the parish for one year. He signs the form and he has qualified for Sheriff. His name will be on the ballot and if he can get a majority of the votes, he'll be Sheriff.

Now, lets say that Candidate Y has also announced his candidacy for Sheriff. He's also lived in the parish for 20 years, but all of his career has been in Law Enforcment. Lets say that he retired from the City police, then went to work for the Sheriff's office and attained a great deal of success as a modern police officer. Let's further say that some emergency takes him away from the parish during the qualifying period. Due to circumstances purely beyond his control he is not able to appear at the Clerk's office during the qualifying period, pay his fee and sign the form. He is not qualified, and his name will not be on the ballot. Nothing Candidate Y does will change that fact. He ain't qualified.

It sucks. He can run again next time. The lesson here is that being qualified for the job doesn't mean the same thing in politics as it does in the private sector. There is no great career progression for political office. It all boils down to who goes to the Courthouse and pays the fees. If you want your name on the ballot, nothing else matters.

You can see the qualifications for candidates, from governor to constable, here. It's a .pdf form, so be warned.

Hell, in Louisiana, you don't even have to be a Medical Doctor to be the Coroner.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


In the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, it's hard to find ranges where the general public can shoot.

It appears that Fort Polk, LA hosts a MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) range for its soldiers. The website says that it's open to the public. It hosts archery, shotgun, pistol, and centerfire ranges with berms out to 500 yards. The website says:
Hunters and marksmen not assigned to Fort Polk are welcome to use the Wildlife Management area and Recreational Shooting Complex if they follow a few basic guidelines. These rules are designed to make access to available leisure activities more convenient, while assuring the safety of the post population and its visitors.

In accordance with JRTC and Fort Polk Regulation 190-3, unloaded firearms must be separated from ammunition and will not be easily accessible to the driver or occupants. The weapon must be in the trunk of a car, in a truck tool box, camper, or bed. The ammunition must be in a separate location.
The Shooting Complex is open on Wednesdays - Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Shooting Complex can be reached by telephone at 337-531-6591 or 337-531-5350.

I'm going to have to look more closely into this range. I've been wanting to try my hand at shooting past 100 yards.

$3 billion

Three billion dollars. That's a lot of money. Hopefully, enough.

It seems that the Senate, in a weird conjunction of common sense and paying attention to the people, voted to supplement $3,000,000,000 for border enforcement, saying:
“There is hereby appropriated $3,000,000,000 to satisfy the requirements set out in section 1002(a) and, if any amount remains after satisfying such requirements, to achieve and maintain operational control over the international land and maritime borders of the United States, for employment eligibility verification improvements, for increased removal and detention of visa overstays, criminal aliens, aliens who have illegally reentered the United States, and for reimbursement of State and local section 287(g) expenses. These amounts are designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 204 of S. Con. Res. 21 (110th Congress).”

Michelle Malkin is all over it. And Harry Reid even admitted he was wrong.


Newspapers are going through changes. The internet has changed the way we get our news, although there are still people without internet service, or those folks who don't care a whit about the internet.

This post ain't about that. Used to be, newspapers were wrapped with a rubber band. A simple rubber band. A lot of households had a drawer or a bowl or something that collected these rubber bands. No one ever needed to buy a rubber band if they subscribed to the newspaper.

Although I read my news off the Intertubes, my lady still insists on reading the paper with her coffee. She subscribes. I've been going out and getting her newspaper every morning, and I've noticed that whatever the weather the newpaper now comes wrapped in a plastic bag.

I needed a rubber band the other day and couldn't find one in the house. I had to go to the store and buy a bag of rubber bands. In 50-something years, that was the first box of rubber bands I had ever bought for household use.

Thanks, newspaper guys.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


We went antiquing yesterday. My lady and my daughter-in-law enjoy such things, and there are certain items I look for, so I enjoy it too, but not enough to plan it.

We started the morning in Natchez, MS, on Franklin Street, the center of antique shops in Natchez. We quickly learned that the antiques on Franklin Street are priced for a level of consumer that our pocketbooks won't support. While it was fun to browse, the level of the shops there was so very retail. The shop owners were very knowledgeable, knowing the history of most of the pieces. Still, $25,000 for a four-poster bed is a bit much.

After lunch, we went to the Deep South Winery where Milady picked up a case of wine. You can, of course, click on the pictures for a larger version.

Then, we got on Highway 61 and headed south, toward St. Francisville. We stopped in the little town of Woodville, MS and hit a few shops that were closer to our style. We prefer the musty little shops that combine antiques in a flea-market atmosphere. Milady stumbled upon an anitique badge for my trifling collection and my son found some books in a bookrack in the back of one store. We tried to quibble, but quibbling wasn't on the menu. Posted price was posted price, so we made our decisions and traveled on.

If Charleston is considered the birthplace of the Confederacy, then Woodville is one of the incubators. Woodville, MS touts itself as the boyhood home of Jefferson Davis.

In St Francisville we stopped at a lovely old church with a magnificent cemetary. We took snapped some photos as we refreshed ourselves among the stately oaks and contemplated the lives of the people populating the graveyard.

Then, we took the ferry from St. Francisville back to our side of the river and turned north, for home. A case of wine, some trinkets, a couple of books and a chance to spend the day with my son and his wife. It was a good day.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I'm an Eagle Scout. I've built a lot of campfires in my time. Eagle Scouts pride themselves on being able to build a fire in any weather, any conditions with nothing more than what we find on the ground and two matches. We're tested on it. The test is often in less than what one would consider ideal weather conditions. You only get to fail this test once. One tip is that preparation is 95% of fire-building. Don't strike the match until you've gathered everything you need, have sorted your firewood into tinder, kindling and fuel, and have everything close at hand.

I've even used something called a featherstick.

Yet, until this morning when I went over to the LawDog's place, I had never considered using steel wool as firestarting material.

Go thence, and be enlightened. He'll even teach you to make a featherstick.

One old Eagle tip. If you're ever in the deep woods, lost, in the rain, cold and miserable. If you can find a cedar tree, you're in like Flint.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Liquid Alox

Back when I started casting bullets, Lee Precision sent me a little bottle of liquid in an order for a bullet mold. Lee Liquid Alox.

Alox, of course, is one of the ingredients in the NRA standard bullet lube, which is 50% beeswax and 50% Alox. It makes a great stick bullet lube that has been used by thousands of cast bullet shooters to shoot millions of bullets.

Alox is a proprietary name of the Lubrizol Company. They make it in a variety of properties for a variety of purposes. Mr. Lee buys Alox in barrels and packages it in the familiar little bottles that he ships all over the world. Over the years, we who wonder about such things have decided that Lee is probably buying Alox 2138F and repackaging it in those little 4 oz bottles.

I've used Liquid Alox since I cast my first bullet. It works. Purely and simply, it works really well. The downside is that it's messy, in that to use it you dip or dunk the bullets in it, then set them out on a piece of wax paper to dry. It dries overnight into a waxy coating that sticks to the bullet. When I am casting pistol bullets, I normally shoot them "as cast" with no sizing. After the bullets have cooled, I put them in a zipper bag and squirt a little Liquid Alox on them, then knead the bag till they're all coated. Then I pour them out on a piece of waxed paper and let them dry on my bench. I've got a bunch out there right now, drying.

Rifle bullets get pushed a little harder than pistol bullets, so they get two coats. After casting, I apply Liquid Alox like I do for pistol bullets. After they're dry, I seat a gas check then apply another coating of Liquid Alox to cover the sized bands. After they dry, they're ready to load. I'm able to drive cast bullets over 1800 fps through my rifles without leading.

Many shooters have tried to make a better bullet lube, hoping to extend their range, or get that extra velocity, or induce some property that is important to them. Bullet casters are experimenters and I wouldn't give a hoot for a bullet caster that hasn't at least once tried to improve on his lube. There are many published recipes on the web and there are many secret recipes for bullet lube. Some are wonderful, some are not. It's the quest that's important and the furthering of knowledge that's important. The do-all, magic formula that lets the bullets fly at light-speed, with extreme accuracy is the quest.

For day in, day out use, I've been unable to improve on simple liquid Alox.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Half Shaft

PawPaw is going to be mechanic-ing today. Stepson's girlfriend has a Dodge Neon that needs a half-shaft. I'm going to walk stepson through the process. It ain't rocket science, but it is mechanics.

My second son is an ASE certified Dodge mechanic. He considers Neons as disposable cars. I tend to agree with him. He doesn't want any part of this job. Not because it is beneath him, but because he does them for a living.

I'm really not looking forward to this job.

Friday, July 20, 2007

.264 Winchester Magnum

If you crawl around gun shops long enough you get the inside track on some deals. My favorite counterman has told me that there is a rifle in hock that I might be interested in. It is a Remington 700 Sendero, with that good Remington fluted barrel, mounted with a Leupold 3X9 VariXII scope. He tells me that the rifle will be out of hock by the middle of August and that if I want it, he can guarantee me a very good price on it.

Well, hell. Decisions, decisions.

The .264 Winchester Magnum is one of four magnums (.264, .300, .338, and 458) introduced by Winchester during the late 1950s. It was designed as the ultimate long distance big game cartridge. In its most standard load, it throws a 140 grain bullet at 3100 fps with a muzzle energy (ME) of 2850 ft/lbs. This is good ballistics, but it takes 77 grains of powder for that velocity. It isn't a terribly efficient loading, yet it is certainly a flat-shooting cartridge and uses those wonderfully efficient 6.5 mm bullets.

The .264 Winchester Magnum has a reputation as a barrel-burner. With the powders available when the cartridge came out, I don't doubt that it had trouble with barrel erosion. With the good powders available today, barrel erosion shouldn't be much of a problem. In the old days, the barrels started burning out somewhere past 1000 rounds. If I buy this rifle, I probably won't shoot it more than 20 rounds per year. Even if I shoot 50 rounds per year, it would be 20 years before I'd need to rebarrel it. One of the kids would probably have it by then.

The 6.5mm cartridges never really caught on with American shooters, yet the bullets routinely offer good ballistic coefficients and great downrange performance. Guys who like the 6.5 like them a lot. Remington recently anointed a 6.5 wildcat, making it a factory cartridge based on the .308. They call it the .260 Remington and my sister-in-law used one to take a nice deer last year.

However, my .30-06 shoots a 150 grain bullet at almost 3000 fps using 52 grains of my surplus 4895, for a ME of about 2800 f/p. Sighted 3" high at 100 yards, it's just 4" down at 300 yards. 300 yards is the outside limit of the range that I'm going to pull the trigger on a game animal.

Any deer hit with a 6.5 bullet at 2850 f/p versus a .30 bullet at 2800 f/p ain't going to know the difference. It won't matter a whit to the deer.

Yet the question remains. Do I want that Sendero? In the end, it'll really boil down to the price. Sometimes, a good deal is hard to pass up. Then again, I might just save my pennies and wait on the next deal to come around the corner.

What do y'all think?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More on cast loads

jpg asks in Comments:
Question: Have you ever weightd the contents of that 2.2 cc dipper? I have a couple of scales but no Lee dippers. And my insulin syringes only hold a max of 1 cc ;-)
Yeah, jpg, I have. The short answer is that the 2.2 dipper holds 27.5 grains of my lot of surplus 4895. Your mileage and your 4895 might be different.

However, 4895 is really easy to use for reduced loads, using either cast or jacketed bullets. The Hodgdon site tells us that:
For years, H4895 has been the top choice by cast bullet shooters. For this type shooting, loads are reduced even more than the hunting loads listed herein. To create loads of this type for target and plinking, we recommend our 60% rule with H4895. By taking the maximum charges listed in our Annual Manual with any given cartridge and multiplying it by 60%, the shooter can create a 1500 to 2100 fps load, depending on the bullet weight shown. This works only where H4895 is listed. Do not use H4895 in a cartridge where it has not been shown.
I have found that this 60% rule works with my surplus 4895 as well as canister grade IMR 4895. I can't recommend this practice due to liability concerns, but I haven't gotten in trouble in practice.

The Hodgdon manual lists 46.7 grains of H4895 as the top end load for a 175 grain bullet in 30-06. 60% of that is 28 grains of powder. My 2.2 cc dipper loads really closely to that at 27.5 grains.

Using dippers instead of weighing individual charges makes sense for me on a couple of counts, not the least of which is that powder is hydroscopic, that is, it retains moisture. 28 grains of powder might be different in dry Arizona than it is in humid Louisiana, but 2.2 ccs is the same everywhere, even Texas.

Try cast bullets in your .30-06. They're generally less expensive than jacketed, they are useful as practice and plinking loads, and even as hunting loads when the hunter limits his shots to reasonable ranges. There is something satisfying about taking an animal with a bullet you cast yourself, in a cartridge you loaded yourself.

Shooters that make cast bullet loads for the .30-30 tell us that the 311041 at 1750-1800 fps does just fine when used on whitetailed deer. My cast loads with the 30-30 gives me an average 1880 fps out of my 20" carbine. That same load gives me an average 1794 out of my 22" barreled 30-06. From either rifle, it's a good load for 125 yards, which is plenty of range for the north Louisiana woods. If I need a beanfield gun, I'll take something else.

Richard C. Reid

You may remember Richard C. Reid, the shoe bomber who tried to take down an American Airlines flight with a bomb in his shoe. Reid pled guilty in 2002, but in his statement, said that:
After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stating, "I think I will not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country

He's been sentenced. In 2003. If this is old news to everyone but me, I apologize. I had never seen the transcript of sentencing. The presiding Judge, William Young, sentenced him to three life sentences plus 110 years, then gave him a verbal smackdown in the sentencing statement.
You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

You can read the whole thing at the Snopes page dedicated to Urban Legends.


I was bushhogging yesterday at Momma's house, cleaning up some tall grass and briars in a couple of acres that are infrequently used. Several years ago, Daddy planted pine trees on that area and I was about 80% finished when I got the exhaust stack of the tractor tangled up in some limbs. The tractor in question is a small International 244. It's a 24 horse tractor with a 3 cylinder Mitsubishi diesel.

I managed to stop the tractor before any irreparable damage was done to the tractor or myself. I say irreparable because I managed to break the exhaust stack. Well, hell!

Those of you who have driven small tractors across brushy fields and lots know that somtimes limbs strike the exhaust stack. In most cases, the limb bends and the tractor proceeds and no note is made of the incident. In one case out of a thousand, the limb doesn't bend, the exhaust bends and the old welds break and the limb catches the driver across the forehead. It's exciting if you don't get on the brake quickly enough. In this case, my cap was brushed from my head and managed to take a trip through the bushhog. It was an old cap. I retrieved it later, some the worse for the experience.

So, now this morning I have to find a muffler shop that'll put together what I ripped apart. I better get busy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

311041 Loads

Regular readers know that I like the Lyman 311041 bullet in the .30-30 WCF. I keep a couple of hundred cast and ready to go and when my supply gets low, I cast some more. The 311041 is a bullet that falls from the mold at a nominal 0.311 inch. I lube it with Lee Liquid Alox, add a gas check and size to 0.309, then lube it with Liquid Alox a second time. Ready to load in the case, it weighs 173 grains.

This morning, after I was finished bush-hogging at my Mothers place, I set up a target at an estimated 75 yards. I say estimated, because I know where the 50 yard mark is in that pasture and I walked past it about 25 yards.

I took out the Winchester 94 that lives under the seat of the truck and loaded it with my cast load of a 311041 over a 2.2cc dipper full of surplus 4895 with a CCI primer. This load gives me an average velocity of 1877 fps, with an SD of 22.7. It is an accurate load when I do my part.

That's one four shot and one five shot group with a sight adjustment. The last group is above the target, which is about where I wanted it. My ballistics calculator tells me that this load should be good for deer out to 175 yards, which is a lot farther than I'm willing to shoot at a deer with iron sights.

The next target is the same load, just in a different caliber. It's the same 311041 bullet with the same 2.2cc of surplus 4895 and the same CCI primer. It's loaded in the .30-06 caliber. This load will be shot from the Remington 760 with the red dot sight. It gives me an average 1794 (Sd 33.8) from the 22 inch barrel on that rifle.

I need to move that sight left four clicks, but otherwise, it's ready to go. That load from that rifle should be good out to 125 yards or so. I believe that the red dot sight helped shrink the group size from what it would have been with iron sights. The load lost a little velocity in the transformation from .30-30 to .30-06 but either of them are capable of dropping deer sized game at 100 yards.

For the record, both these targets were fired from a standing supported position, not the bench. I'm through with the bench until the hunting season is over. I'm confident that I have two winners here. Now I only need to do final sighting with the bolt guns and I can quit obsessing over the firearms and loads and start obsessing on getting my hunting area ready for the season.

We've got about 105 days before the start of the deer season.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rainy Monday

Whaddya do when it's a rainy Monday afternoon and you're tasked with entertaining two young boys?

That's simple, start puttering on the bench. In a few minutes, they'll come and ask to help.

That's the elder one helping me by flaring brass for .45 ACP reloads. His younger brother helped by decapping 50 rounds. When you're doing batch processing, it helps to have a couple of young'uns doing mindless chores. They're not ready yet for capping or charging or seating bullets, but the time will come... the time will come. In the meantime, they're learning to operate the press under adult supervision. Afterwards, a supper of chili dogs, some day old birthday cake, and I sent them home all sugared up.

I'm sure their Momma appreciates it.


Here's why they'll never win. In California, the gun-fearing-wussies (GFW)in their heavily Democratic legislature have so crafted a law that defines an "assualt weapon".
12276.1. (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following:

(1) a semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:

(a) pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
(b) thumbhole stock.
(c) folding or telescoping stock.
(d) grenade launcher or flare launcher.
(e) flash suppressor.
(f) forward pistol grip.

Yet, some California shooters have crafted a stock for a common hunting rifle that complies with the law and allows the shooters of California an opportunity to enjoy the firearms that our Founding Fathers protected and our hunting brethren in many other states enjoy.

They call it the U15 stock and it does away with that most frightening, child-killing, bullet spraying, part of the rifle: the pistol grip. For your edification and appreciation, I show you the California legal hunting rifle.

While waiting for gasps of appreciation and cheers of adulation to die down, I'll mention that this stock modification makes the common AR15 legal in California. It isn't a bunch of gun-nuts trying to get around the California law, it is a bunch of shooters trying to comply with the law. You'll notice that the rifle in question doesn't have a pistol grip stock. Nor does it have a grenade launcher or a flash suppressor. (That thingy on the end of the barrel is a muzzle brake.)

It is ugly as a Tuesday hangover, but it certainly complies with the law. No longer will California shooters be made an instant outlaw by possessing a dreaded pistol grip. Pistol grips, as you know, are designed to instantly change the mental fortitude of a reasonable sane person into one who would stalk schoolyards and rob banks. People possessing pistol grips might even conduct drive-by shootings. It's all about how a rifle is designed, not how it's used. And, the stock is reasonably affordable, just $228.00, plus shipping. I can see that they're going to sell a boat-load of these things.

Bushmaster and DPMS ought to contract it as an accessory that can be added at the factory. Were I the marketing guy for Bushmaster, I'd order a couple of hundred and ship the completed rifles to stores all over San Francisco.

I'll close with a quote from the unstoppable Kim duToit, where I got the story.

Monday, July 16, 2007

5:00 Monday

**UPDATE** I was wrong. Senator Vitter says he's going to Washington to do the important work that Louisiana needs him to do.
Vitter didn’t take any questions and preemptively answered any questions about a possible resignation by saying that he was eager to continue his work in the U.S. Senate.
Original Post below:

Your Right Hand Thief links to an article that says our Senator, David Vitter is going to make a statement at 5:00 p.m. today from Metarie, LA.
Vitter, R-La., scheduled a Monday 5:05 p.m. CDT appearance in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, where he was to issue a statement. It was unclear whether he would take questions.
Hell, I wouldn't take questions. I'd simply resign. Hopefully, Senator Vitter will do the same.

Then, our governess, the Queen Bee herself, could appoint a Senator until we could get an election going. We have a statewide election in October. That would be plenty of time for the players to get ready. Qualify in late August, run in October, runoff if necessary in November.

I've never been much of a political pundit, but I put the odds at 60-40 that David will resign this afternoon.

It would be the right thing to do.

In a couple of hours, we'll know if I am right.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Red Dot sights

I've been playing with a low-end Simmons red dot sight. I've never had any experience with these type sights and I thought it was time to get acquainted. The price was certainly right, under $40.00 at Midway USA.

I mounted it on a Remington Model 760 pump action rifle in .30-06. .30-06 is a fairly serious caliber, a benchmark of rifle cartridges. I wanted to test the sight against recoil with a common cartridge. It has held up well so far, with the sight holding zero after a hundred or so rounds of ammunition.

This is not a scope, it's a sight. It is not designed for precision work, but for quickly shooting at targets of opportunity. The red dot subtends 5 minutes of angle, which is 5" at 100 yards. The sight has 11 settings for brightness on the rheostat, which makes the sight useful during bright sunshine and during total darkness.

Using the sight on a police range, I was routinely able to make head shots at 50 yards on a man-sized silhouette. I had the rangemaster turn the target away, then present it for two seconds. I put the rifle at the low ready position and when the target presented itself, I came to the offhand unsupported position and fired one round. Head shots were easy in the time allowed. Two seconds. The target reset after two seconds. If I had tried this at 100 yards, I'm confident that the shot would be successful.

This isn't a precision scope. It is a quick sight. The red dot presents itself against the optical plane and once adjusted for the ammo used, it is a simple matter to place the dot on the target and squeeze the trigger. It is very fast.

Parallax, you ask? Oh, there's plenty. The red dot moves around as you look through the sight, but your brain (that magnificent ballistic computer between your ears) tries to center the red dot through the sight. I suspect that at 100 yards, it might have as much as 24 or 36 inches of parallax, so I took some photos to show how the sight works.

Here's a photo through the sight. The red dot is out of center and is high in the sight. It appears against the base of the tree in my neighbors yard.

This photo shows the sight out of alignment with the red dot at 8:00, almost out of view. The red dot is nearly obscured by the body of the sight, yet it is still on the base of the tree.

Here, the dot is low in the scope, yet it still presents against the base of the tree. The rifle wasn't moved as I shot this series. I took these photos against a stationary rifle. I feel confident that if I had to engage that tree, the bullet would have hit the target, even if I didn't center the sight in the picture.

However, our brains try to automatically center a dot in a circle. So, a quick movement, the dot would center and the shot would be made. It takes longer to write about it than to do it, and I find this sight to be extremely fast.

This sight would probably be just the ticket for fast snap-shooting at short range, in a still hunting scenario where the targets present themselves quickly. It doesn't take the place of a good scope, and shouldn't be interpreted to be the best sight for deliberate, long range fire. However, many times shots present themselves at ranges under 125 yards and this sight might be useful at the beginning and end of the hunting day, and in deep woods where a front sight isn't always visible.

There is the problem of batteries, though. I'm still using the original that came with the sight, but I'm careful to turn the sight off when I'm not carrying the rifle. Good practice would probably demand that I obtain a couple of spare batteries before hunting season.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


We hosted a birthday party today for my mother-in-law, the unsinkable Miss Reba.

She turned 86 and she's still getting around and keeping her own house. Two years ago she broke her wrist working in the yard. Then, she fell while digging a ditch and was stove-up for a while. But, she's all healed and doing well.

She's still enjoying a toddy, occassionally.

I hope when I'm 86 I'm still able to hoist a magnum from the ground to my waist. And I hope Miss Reba continues the same exercise plan for many, many years to come. Miss Reba got clothes and jewelry and candles and bottled spirits. Not a bad birthday at all.

For today, a number of us cooked and we gathered at PawPaws house for the festivities. We had beans and tater salad and green salad and grilled chicken and sausage and pork tenderloin. It's been all cleaned up now, the kitchen is straight and the guests have departed. The grandsons are still in the pool.

Pawpaw needs a shower and a nap.

Happy Birthday, Reba.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Gene Hill once wrote that rain may be the oldest sound to reach the porches of man's ear.

As I write this, a glass of tea sits at my elbow. My head and shirt are wet and it's raining outside. What the weatherman calls a local thunderstorm. It's a gentle rain, pattering on the concrete outside, cooling the afternoon and settling the dust.

I like rainstorms like this, whether I am in the woods or in town. The world seems to take a breath and get under cover while the rain rearranges the day. The lightning crashes and the rain falls in sheets only for a little while, then settles into a gentle dousing, wetting everything thoroughly. Were I a paleo-hunter-gatherer, I would adjust my schedule, looking for game in the sheltered areas that exist in every woods. I'd move slowly, letting the rain hide the sounds of my movement and stopping frequently, scanning the gloom under the conifers for my prey. On the morn, I'd track for half a day, knowing that all the tracks are as fresh as the rain.

As it is, I am a modern suburb dweller, so I stand under my carport and drink my tea, watching a honeybee take refuge under the bumper of the truck. I'm intrigued because I haven't seen any evidence of beekeeping here, yet standing on the concrete drying her wings, sits the undeniable evidence.

The wind is out of the west and the rain is moving slowly east. It'll be over soon.

Budget under the knife

I see that Governor Blanco has cut $65 million from the state's $30 billion budget. She targeted such things as:
The governor late Thursday issued vetoes to House Bill 1 that actually don't affect many projects or programs. The largest cuts, $46 million and $18 million for barrier island work, could be restored if the state sells the remaining portion of a tobacco settlement instead of waiting for tobacco companies to pay it over the next 20 years.
I see she also veto'd $40,000 for the SugArena and $75,000 for scholarships for the Southern University Marching Band.

Before we start thinking that the Governor is getting all conservative on us, we've got to remember that $65 million dollars is not even a quarter of a percent of a $30 billion budget. $65 million sounds like a lot of money, and I'm sure I could live on it without too much trouble, but $65 million for a state government ain't much money.

It's a start, but it ain't much.

School Daze

The Town Talk reminds me today that we have one month left before school starts in Rapides Parish.

Classes for students begin on August 13th

Well, hell.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Don't call the Thunder

There is an old saying, "Don't call the Thunder, unless you're willing to ride the lightning." It's always seemed to me to be very analogous to "Men in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks."

Poor old David. He got himself caught involved in prostitution. He apologized. The blogosphere went frothy. It seems David campaigned as a conservative, family values sort of guy. Then not one, but two madams have named him as a client. This morning, it sucks to be David Vitter.

If his wife has forgiven him, then I'm apt to forgive him. Sexual dalliances being what they are, I understand the nature of forgiveness and reconciliation.

There are others though, that ask other questions.

Did he commit a crime? Short answer, yeah, solicitation of prostitution is a crime, although a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions and not prosecutable after one year.

Did he lie to us when first confronted about it? Yeah, he did. Much like Clinton lied about his blowjob.

Did he sire a child out of wedlock. I don't know? Is he paying child support to anyone?

There are some that maintain that David's whore-chasing was all prior to his legislative career, and that's where the problem comes for me. David Vitter called the thunder when he began his legislative career, following Bob Livingston's revelation of sexual misconduct. As we're reminded by Michelle Malkin:
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) first got his start in Congress after replacing former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), who “abruptly resigned after disclosures of numerous affairs” in 1998. At the time, Vitter argued that an extramarital affair was grounds for resignation.
Well, if an extramarital affair is grounds for resignation, then soliciting prostitutes is more fertile ground for resignation. Then, David called for Clinton to resign after the infamous Lewinsky scandal, saying:
“I think Livingston’s stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess,” he said. [Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 12/20/98]
Dammit, David. If sexual escapades were grounds for resignation in 1998, they are grounds for resignation in 2007.

I am disappointed in my Senator. Severely disappointed. I don't think that a person's sexual inclinations should be political fodder. I don't think that what goes on in any given bedroom is fair game for the political rodeo.

However, when David began his career, he called the thunder. I hope he's ready to ride the lightning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


It seems that my brethren are going through training. I got recertified in June.

Long-time readers of this blog know that I am an SRO at a school in Alexandria. I don't normally talk about law enforcement in this blog, except in a broad-brush manner. While I'm happy to talk about the career and I'm happy to tell stories from my past, I don't talk much about the job at hand for the same reasons I don't talk about the day to day activities of a marriage. I'm too close to it to be objective.

However, the Town Talk covers it, and these guys do one of the most thankless jobs in law enforcement. You won't find an SRO being named LEO of the year. You won't find an SRO getting a promotion for doing the job. It ain't blue lights and high speed chases. Most of the time, the job is fairly low-key.

It's like being a sheep dog. Watching a herd. Knowing that you can sit on that hill all year, overlooking the herd and have nothing happen, but that without warning you might be in the fight of your life because someone is trying to hurt your sheep. No one is going to hurt my sheep. Not on my watch.

The training is important, not so much for the skills that are imparted but for the mental activity that accompanies it. Some call it wargaming, some call it brainstorming, I call it "What If?". What if someone gets out of their car waving a gun? How will I respond? What if someone tries to take the principal hostage? What a goblin is just around the corner with a baseball bat? I spend a good portion of my day playing "what if" as I walk the halls. It's a good mental exercise and the training helps me understand the appropriate response.

I'm glad that the guys and gals are going through the training. It's a blessing for them and a blessing for the kids they'll be watching in another six weeks.

Vitter and the Madam

I see in the Town Talk that David Vitter's telephone number was found in old records of the D.C. Madam. David may have been patronizing prostitutes. The Senator says:
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said in the statement. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

For myself, I know that there is no activity more corrosive to the trust that bases a marriage than adultery. If David's wife can forgive him then the matter is properly between them. I don't have a dog in that hunt.

Monday, July 09, 2007


It was Monday all day today. We started off by fulfilling a promise to the congregation that I would go somewhere and buy eight new tables for the church hall. So, by 10:30 we had the tables delivered to the church and Momma and I were drinking soft drinks at her table. I went home for nap time.

After the nap I mowed for an hour on the empty lot beside the house. Then Milady decided that the red-brown pavers were soaking up too much heat and were tough on the grandkids feet. (This from a woman who used to walk barefoot across the black asphalt streets in LaSalle Parish). These pavers lead from the pool to the pool house. Milady wants light colored pavers there. So, PawPaw took up the red-brown pavers and moved them to a sandy area adjacent to the pool. Tomorrow at daylight I'm going to get up and go buy some light-colored pavers to put down so that the kids can walk from the pool to the crapper without harming their delicate little feet. That should take most of the morning.

PawPaw got his exercise today, moving pavers out of the way so I could put down more pavers. It's an exciting life.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


My buddy Junior reminds me that we have 104 days before the start of the muzzleloading deer season in Louisiana. Archery season begins before that.

In the heat of July, it's hard to think about deer season, but you're likely to have a better season if you begin preparation now. This is nothing hard, or onerous, just common-sense ideas to make your opening day a truly memorable affair.

Decide on your deer load. If you reload, it's time to pore over the load charts and targets you've been shooting and decide on one load per caliber for each game animal you're likely to chase. If you don't reload, still settle on one brand and loading.

Sight in your rifle using that load. Then, get away from the bench. Practice from field positions you're likely to use. For Louisiana's pine woods, I'm going to practice snap shots at 50 yards, and I'm going to practice deliberate shots at 100 yards. If I were hunting Idaho, or Missouri, or Kentucky, I'd practice the shots I'd likely use in those locations.

Practice with your hunting loads. If you can only afford one box of ammo, practice with 15 of them and save the other five for hunting. Those five shots will be plenty if you are ready for the hunt.

If you can't get to the range and practice as much as you'd like, (and who can?), then practice at home with a safe rifle. Make the rifle safe and practice sighting on something that won't cause the neighbors to get squirrely. I stand in my carport and sight on a stop sign at the end of the street. I crank the magnification all the way up and practice holding the crosshairs on that sign. At nine power, it is amazing how much muzzle wobble is apparent in the sights. Practice your positions and try to use your sling. Practice getting the sling into a hasty firing position and getting the crosshairs on the target. I've been doing this for two weeks and it's amazing how much better I was than when I started.

Start gathering gear. Find that hunting knife and make sure it's sharp. Get out your compass and walk around the yard with it. Find your hunting hat. If you want or need new boots, now's the time to start breaking them in. If you need new maps, now's the time to order them.

Hunting season is coming. A little preparation now will make all the difference when that big mossy-horned buck steps out into the light. Get ready.

Live Earth Hypocrisy

It looks like the Live Earth concerts were not a total bust at focusing attention on how humans generate carbon. It turns out that the attractions are generating it at a monumental rate.
The Live Earth event is, in the words of one commentator: "a massive, hypocritical fraud". For while the organisers' commitment to save the planet is genuine, the very process of putting on such a vast event, with more than 150 performers jetting around the world to appear in concerts from Tokyo to Hamburg, is surely an exercise in hypocrisy on a grand scale.
Yeah, I thought so, but some of the numbers are revealing.
The total carbon footprint of the event, taking into account the artists' and spectators' travel to the concert, and the energy consumption on the day, is likely to be at least 31,500 tonnes of carbon emissions, according to John Buckley of, who specialises in such calculations. Throw in the television audience and it comes to a staggering 74,500 tonnes. In comparison, the average Briton produces ten tonnes in a year.
In comparison, my household of three produces approximately 29 tons per year. (Yeah, yeah, we're talking British tonnes versus American tons, but you get the drift. COnverted to metric tonnes, I get a household figure of 26 tonnes per year, which is still under the average.)

When the folks who say it is a crisis start living and acting like it is truly a crisis, then I'll start worrying. As long as they're jet-setting around, trying to get me to reduce my carbon footprint then their whole career looks to me like one huge narcissistic hypocrisy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Guns found in Library

It seems the maintenance man was working at the University of New Orleans library and found a set of guns. The article gives us no clue as to what kind of guns they were.
When a maintenance man was changing light bulbs Wednesday in the University of New Orleans' library, he found two items on a shelf that were obviously out of place: a pair of single-shot revolvers.
I've been playing with guns a long time and I've never heard of single shot revolvers. Revolvers, by their very nature, have more that one shot. The most common revolver is the standard 6-shooter.

The Times-Picayune gets it wrong, not once, but twice when they tell us that:
"If I were going to a gunfight, I wouldn't be going with a single-shot revolver," Harrington said.
I wouldn't either.

This is a simple case of a reporter, having no clue, not bothering to check the facts.

The Library Chronicles wonders if they can be had on Interlibrary Loan?

Wet, Wet, Wet

It's raining outside and has been raining all day long. While it's not as strong as they've been getting in north Texas, it keeps the ponds full and the kids inside. When you've got four grandkids hammering their way through a toy box inside that isn't a sound that PawPaws love. Grandmas love it, but PawPaws just sit near the computer and grumble.

It's rained every day this month. June was one of the wettest on record. North Louisiana is getting its share of rain. I took advantage of a three hour sunshine period yesterday and mowed the grass in the front yard. It was either that, or hire a hay-baler next week.

And, at noon, I'm still in my pajamas, which for me, is decadence overwrought. Nothing to do today but watch the steady, unrelenting drizzle. I do have some .30-06 brass that needs depriming and sizing. I might put on bluejeans and go into the garage. Or, I might just keep my pajamas and watch a movie.

Grandma took the kids to see a movie. They'll be back about noon, when the mommas are scheduled to pick up kids. Grandma works tonight, so PawPaw will be without adult supervision.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Savage Model 10 FLP

I got the Savage out of layaway on Tuesday and gave it to Joey on Wednesday.

His rifle, a Savage Model 10 FLP in .308 Winchester. This is the law enforcement rifle, a heavy barreled, short action, left hand turnbolt. He intends to punch holes in paper with it and maybe do a little hunting, but it's going to be mainly a target rifle. A 500 yard target rifle. It should be uniquely suited to that purpose. The rifle was designed as a police marksman rifle and has good reviews from every source I've found that reviews such rifles. I told Joey that I'd buy the rifle, but that he is on the hook for a scope and mounts. This rifle deserves a good scope.

This is the fourth Savage I've bought. I have two, the standard 111 FHNS in .30-06 and a standard Model 11 FNXP3 in .243 Winchester. Both of mine are capable of good hunting accuracy, in the range of 1", although with my old eyes, 2" off the bench and 3" using hunting positions are more like the accuracy I expect.

My second-son Matt has the 111 FV, basically a heavy barrel long action in 7mm Remington Magnum. Savage cataloged it for one year, several years ago and I was able to find one. Matt's rifle, off the bipod, is capable of 1/2 accuracy with good handloads. We've settled on a load of 64.2 grs of IMR4831 under a 140 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip. Remington brass, CCI magnum primers. This load is the standard for this rifle and the groups keep getting smaller. With less that 200 shots through the rifle, I suspect that the barrel is just now getting broke in and half-inch groups are probably as good as this rifle will do. Still, this is a full-house 7mm Magnum, throwing a 140 grain bullet at 3025 fps. That rifle ain't no slouch, either in the power or the accuracy department.

Joey's got a couple of boxes of ammo for his rifle and instructions on how to break it in. I've got a feeling that this is going to be a very accurate rifle.

One Fly

Our house, our home has a semi-open floorplan. Not as open as we would have liked, but in all things of life we make compromises and in the floorplan of this house, we made a compromise. The way the house is laid out is that the carport door is literally fifteen feet from the back door. The carport door is, like in most American homes, the most used door in the house.

We joke to one another that when the front doorbell rings, there is a stanger outside. Everyone who is not a stranger comes in through the carport. As we've made changes to the yard, we've managed to make our backyard an oasis of sorts. There is a lot of family traffic through the back yard. We entertain there when the weather allows.

Louisiana is host to a variety of insect life, of both the crawling and the flying varieties. There are houseflys in Louisiana and it seems that no matter what we do there is always one fly in this kitchen. As I blog this post there is one fly buzzing about, pestering the crap out of me. I intend to kill the little bastard and yes, I own a fly-swatter. It is on the table next to me as I type.

As I reflect on my life, it seems that the fly has become a metaphor for my personal outlook. Instead of focusing on the fact that I live in a nice house in a Great State in the best country in the world, I sometimes focus on the flys.

Something is always going to pester me, whether actually or metaphorically. I can't ignore the fly, simply because it aggravates me, but I shouldn't let it dictate to my psyche.

There's a moral here somewhere and I'll let someone else figure it out.


I get mine free. I sit on a stool in the carport and my wife or daughter cuts my hair. Sometime the grandkids are around and we get them on the stool too. Three cuts for the price of one.

John Edwards, on the other hand, pays for his haircuts.
For four decades, Joseph Torrenueva has cut the hair of Hollywood celebrities, from Marlon Brando to Bob Barker, so when a friend told him in 2003 that a presidential candidate needed grooming advice, he agreed to help. The Beverly Hills hairstylist, a Democrat, said he hit it off with then-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina at a meeting in Los Angeles that brought several fashion experts together to advise the candidate on his appearance. Since then, Torrenueva has cut Edwards's hair at least 16 times.
Torrennueva has cut Edwards hair at least 16 times. Well, okay. The guy wants a good style. He's got to look good in front of television cameras. I guess he can get a pass on having a professional cut his hair.
At first, the haircuts were free. But because Torrenueva often had to fly somewhere on the campaign trail to meet his client, he began charging $300 to $500 for each cut, plus the cost of airfare and hotels when he had to travel outside California.
Wait a minute. John Edwards, the senator from North Carolina, the hero of the downtrodden, the protector of New Orleans, the guy who says on his website that he wants to eliminate poverty. Well, he certainly is doing his part by paying for haircuts.
Torrenueva said one haircut during the 2004 presidential race cost $1,250 because he traveled to Atlanta and lost two days of work.
$1250.00 for one haircut? Whoa. That would feed a family of four for at least two months. He's eliminating poverty all right! Question is: Do we want to put this guy in charge of the Federal Budget?

$1250 for a haircut is extravagant. Flying a barber from California to Atlanta is decadent. John Edwards is so concerned about his appearance that he flies a barber from Californa to Atlanta. That is vanity run amok.

John Edwards. Vain, decadent, extravagant. That's just his haircuts. Champion of the poor. Can anyone here say hypocrite?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Semi-Annual Trek

I made my semi-annual trek to Alexandria today to buy liquor.

I bought a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon, a bottle of Canadian whiskey, a bottle of rum, and one bottle of pina colada mix. We will use some of these spirits tomorrow when we host a barbeque.

That amount of liquor will be sufficient for my needs until Christmas, when I'll make another trek for booze, probably in conjuntion with Christmas shopping.

It would be really nice to have the option of buying whiskey in Pineville. As you can tell from my purchases, I am not a drunk. I enjoy a bit of whiskey when I entertain. The nannies here in Pineville aren't going to stop me from having an occasional toddy, but they will make me drive across the river.

Of course, they lose the tax money that goes with liquor sales. If I want beer I can buy it here, and I do because I would rather that my tax dollar stays as close to home as possible, but the nannies in charge would rather I drive across the river. I bet that there are thousands of people who feel the same way I do about liquor in Pineville.

The folks who say that they don't want liquor in Pineville don't represent me. Trying to legislate morality never works. Trying to enact prohibition is a fool's mission. We proved that during Prohibition.

I'll continue to travel across the river and take my tax dollars there until the folks in Pineville, Tioga, and Ball wake up and understand that their little communities have changed since 1980. It's time for a local referendum.

Boating on the Red

I wouldn't put a recreational boat on the Red River right now, not for love nor money.

The Town Talk has an article on the problem this morning. For non-local readers, the Red River drains most of north Texas and southern Oklahoma, then it continues southeast and comes through Shreveport and on to Alexandria, where it meets the Mississippi at a place we call Three Rivers.

There have been massive rains in Texas and Oklahoma. Our rainfall here is above-average and the Red River is swollen. It's not at flood stage, but all the locks are open and the river is flowing nicely.

Twenty or twenty five years ago I was helping a friend run a string of trot lines on the Red River in Natchitoches Parish. The river had not yet been locked and dammed and we were working trot lines along the sandbars in the river catching catfish. I happened to look over toward the main channel and watched a gigantic tree with it's root ball float past, headed downsteam. I asked my buddy about it and he said that the river would undercut big trees that stood along the bank. Occasionally one of those trees would lose to the river, topple in, and float downstream. If two or mote trees fell in together, they would move downstream together with the mass and momentum of a locomotive engine.

In short, getting run over by a root ball would be like getting run over by a train.

That is in addition to the increased current, other debris in the water, and the generalized danger of the Red River at full flow. It's not at flood stage yet, but it's handling all the water that it can handle. Boating on the Red is dangerous right now.

Besides, we in Central Louisiana are blessed with lakes. Here around Alexandria/Pineville, I count... a bunch of lakes. There is Buhlow, Valentine, Stuart, Iatt, Saline, Cleco, Cotile, Kincaid, and Indian Creek, just to name a few. There is plenty of lake water around Alexandria for every one to enjoy time on the water.

Let's be safe this Fourth and remember our friends and family overseas. FOr myself, I am cooking for family and friends and will be busy standing over the barbeque pit and drinking whiskey. Happy Fourth, everyone.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mary Landrieu and Immigration

A recent article in The Advocate asks if Senator Landrieu's recent vote wasn't a political vote.
The Landrieu vote is perceived by one expert to be the first sign of a delicate balancing act that she will have to maintain during the next year as she prepares to defend her Democratic seat in a state that Bush carried with 58 percent of the vote in 2004.
Sure it was. Mary is a political creature. All her votes are political.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Mary Landrieu seems to be a moderate. She is political enough to understand who put her in office and she makes sure her vote reflects the needs and opinions of her constituents. I could do a whole lot worse with another person in her seat.

I've had my differences with the Landrieu family in the past and with Mary in the past, but I have to admit she does a pretty good job as one of my Senators. She's not as quick to respond to email as Senator Vitter, or Representative Alexander, but I get updates from her occasionally.

Yeah, Mary's got her faults, but the senior Senator from Louisiana listens to me. That counts for a lot.

Folks who would criticize her should cut Mary some slack. If the Repubs don't field a whiz-bang candidate, she's going to be tough to beat. The way she's been voting lately, she suits me just fine.

LDWF Deer Tag Harvest Card

I was digging though my wallet today and found my deer tag harvest card. Issued by the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries, it purports to keep track of deer harvested and requires that we report this information to the Department at the end of the year.

I need to mail mine in. The instructions on the bottom of the card say that we can report it online, but they fail to give us a web address where we can report the deer killed. I've been searching the site for the past half hour, without success.

It's my considered opinion that a reporting site online for the program simply doesn't exist. I have a long love/hate relationship with LDWF, mainly because they print things on the cards, like "Must be returned after deer hunting season for validation, or submitted at LDWF internet site.", then they never bother to set up the internet site. That is basic incompetence. It is my opinion that most of the people who work at LDWF are basically incompetent. It really is that simple.

But, just because the state is incompetent doesn't mean we shouldn't report the deer we killed. Hopefully, some good biologist can use the data we voluntarily report. Of course, if you were trying to skew the data, you'd just make something up and send in bad data, but I'm not going to recommend that. My card is accurate as to sex, type, date, and parish killed. All the blocks are filled in. I didn't kill a deer last year and my card reflects NONE KILLED.

Be sure to mail in your Deer Tag Harvest Card.

Crappy Phones

We sure have sunk to new lows in this country, the things we'll put up with from our phone company(s).

Remember when telephones were indestructible? You could rip it from the wall, bounce it off the floor, use it to hammer a nail, then plug it back in and get dial tone?

Try that with your cell phone. Cell phones are disposable telephones. You can't soak them in water, or coke, or M&M's, from my certain knowledge and expect that they'll continue to function. They have multiple functions. Some have cameras. I've learned that when you combine functions, like camera phone, you get a crappy phone and a crappy camera.

Today, the Iphone comes out. The ultimate function phone. It's supposed to combine file-management, with motion picture, with Internet, with telephone. I bet it sucks at everything. And people will pay for it anyway. Which really surprises me, because up till recently, I wouldn't pay for a phone. Recently, I paid 29.95 for a cool flip phone that isn't as good as the free Nokia I soaked in coca-cola.

I'd pay for a phone that was rugged. A phone I could drop in the pool. A phone I could drop in my pocket and wade through the swamp. A phone that would survive in a pocket with keys and a pocketknife. A phone that could ride on the motorcycle and slide down the road like a pebble. That's a phone I'd pay for. If I want a camera, I'll bring a camera. If I want a computer, I'll bring a computer. I don't need all that in a telephone. I do need a rugged telephone that will survive all that I and four grandkids can put it through.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Nite

We're back. The ocean is still there, although I saw it through the eyes of children this weekend.

When children first see the ocean they try to put it into perspective, into the perspective of something they know. Their first sighting of the water is excited, overwhelmed, and just a little afraid. Something that big must be powerful. Something that big must be dangerous.

Then, the fear recedes and is replaced with questioning and wonderment and if those questions are answered sufficiently, the adventure with the salt begins.

In this picture, little brother is geared up and headed for the water.

In this one, big brother and Dad whip a floating tricycle to their will.

It's good to be home. We have less than 120 days till deer season.

Friday, June 29, 2007


We're southbound again this noontime, as Milady and I are taking the other two grandkids to Gulfport to introduce them to the beach.

Regular readers will recall we made this trek two weeks ago with one set of grandkids. Now, it's the other sets turn. Then, I will have had enough of the beach for the summer. I love the ocean. I can sit and watch it for hours. I can get out on the ocean and have a good time. What I cannot do is sit in the sand for more than six or seven hours.

Our family took a vacation to Kitty Hawk several years ago, and rented a condo on the beach. I would sit for hours and watch the ocean. It's very calming. Getting out on the beach is more problematic. Here's a picture from that vacation, from the deck of the condo.

I haven't decided yet if I'm taking the computer this weekend, so blogging might be light to non-existent. Y'all have a nice weekend.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Immigration Bill

I understand that in a couple of hours, the Senate will recommence consideration of a bill reforming immigration. That same bill that was killed on the floor of the Senate last week and has been labeled as amnesty. I understand that a decided majority of the American people are against this bill, yet the Senate has turned off their phones, decided to NOT listen to the people, and will vote this morning for cloture.

The US Senate is supposedly the most deliberative body in the world. In the history of all mankind. Their work on this bill has been a mockery of the deliberative process. I place the blame on that at the feet of Harry Reid. From all indications, he's an asshole.

I have written and called my Senators, and to their credit, they've voted to kill this monster whenever given an opportunity. My Democratic Senator, Mary Landrieu and her junior Republican, David Vitter are both congratulated for doing the bidding of the people. Senators represent states. Originally, they weren't elected by direct election, but were appointed by the legislature. Historically, they listen to the people only as it affects their individual state.

If the Senate kills it this morning, good. If they don't, it really doesn't matter.

From my recollection of high school civics, there is another deliberative body that must approve this nightmare before it becomes law, and that is the US House of Representatives. The House is a free-wheeling body whose members all serve two year terms. They're all up for reelection in 2008. Representatives represent the people. Historically, they listen to the people and vote based on the wishes of their individual districts.

As I type this post, at 7:40 on a Thursday morning, I read that pundits are counting votes and peering into crystal balls, trying to cypher the vote this morning. It'll be a close call, but will serve to identify Senators who listen to their people. If they vote for this thing, they've turned off the phones and their common sense.

However, it is all for naught. This dog will never pass in the House. It is dead, dead, dead.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ground Hornets

Ground hornets are little burrowing insects that nest underground. They vary in size, but the most common in these latitudes is about half the size of the tip joint of a man's thumb.

I was bush-hogging at Momma's today, trying to knock back some of the 56 inches of forage that Louisiana grows in an average year. A little meadow that fronts the road had overgrown pretty badly during the past two years. For reasons only known to my Dad, he refused to let me mow it, and I learned today he refused to let other people mow it.

Today, Momma directed me to get on the tractor and get that little meadow under control. I always do what my Momma tells me to do. About halfway through the mowing I noticed a bunch of flying insects swarming along the ground in the track I had just mowed. Ground hornets. I gave them a wide berth as I finished mowing.

This evening at dark, I went back to that meadow with a gallon of gasoline, a quart of kerosene and a torch I made from a piece of mimosa branch and an old tee-shirt. I've been lucky dealing with ground hornets over the past two decades and I've learned that the best way to deal with them is to watch them until you can see where they are going into the ground, then liberally soak that area with gasoline.

Carefully get away from the gas, soak the torch in kerosene, light it and pitch it into the gasoline soaked area. WHOOSH! The hornets go away.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear the environmentalists now. Gasoline in the earth! Using fire to control insects! Lemme tell you, it works. I stayed in the meadow till the fire went out. While I was there, I used that torch to make the bag-worms in the pecan trees feel decidedly unwelcome. Burning out bag-worms with a torch is a time honored tradition among the pecan growing set.

I'm going back out in the morning to do some more bush-hogging behind the house and to clean the track around the property boundaries. When I start, I'll tractor out to the front meadow and mow that little patch of weeds that housed the ground hornets. What'ya want to bet that they won't give me any problems?


There are some calls a dispatcher just doesn't want to hear.

Sometime in the early 1980s, a trooper called out on a routine traffic stop on the side of an interstate highway. The trooper obtains the drivers license and the vehicle registration, and somehow, gets himself in front of the vehicle. In the Chevy sedan is one white male and one white female, both in their late 20s.

The driver, knowing that he has multiple felony warrants outstanding, decides to run down the trooper. He guns the engine and starts forward. The trooper, in a remarkable display of dexterity, throws himself across the hood and grasps the windshield wiper with his left hand. With his right hand, the draws his pistol and puts two rounds through the windshield into the chest of the driver. The driver, in his death throes, stiffens his foot, propelling the vehicle forward, across the median, across the oncoming lane and into the opposite ditch, where the vehicle strikes a culvert, ejecting the trooper, who was later found to have a slight concussion and multiple bruises and contusions.

The dispatcher hears this come across his radio.

"Uuuh. Is this thing working?"

The dispatcher answers "Unidentified caller, you are on a police frequency. State your business.

"Uuuh. It looks like the trooper is knocked out and the driver is dead. I've got the radio and the troopers gun. Maybe you better send an ambulance out here."

The dispatcher goes directly into crisis mode, trying to figure out where this citizen is, which trooper is injured, and trying to get resources directed to the location. Then, the dispatcher hears this message.

Uuuh, it looks like the passenger is trying to get out of the car. Can I just go ahead and shoot her now?"

That dispatcher earned all her money that evening.

Contempt of Court.

There's something strange going on in Jena, LA. The Town Talk covers it in an article this morning.

Some background: There were some racial tensions at Jena high school earlier this year. Some white students hung nooses in the tree in front of the school and the black community took it as a threat.

Hanging nooses in trees in front of a school is a dumb idea. It is easily construed as racist and I, personally, have no problem agreeing with the black community that someone should be punished for that behavior. It was divisive, it was uncalled for, it was in bad taste. High school kids tend to run their mouths, calling names and acting like asses. High school administrators squelch that behavior whenever possible, through a number of tactics. These might include having sit-down meetings with entire classes of students, punishing the guilty parties, and reminding everyone of the requirements for civilized behavior.

Sometime later, on December 4th, the mouth-running turned into a fight at the school. The reported facts are pretty sparse but the fight culminated in one student, Justin Barker, going to the hospital for multiple head-thumps. Justin, thankfully, was not permanently injured. Six black students are charged with battering Justin. The first of those six begins trial this morning.

With an all-white jury. The Town Talk reports that of a venire of 150, only 50 people reported for jury duty. Those 50 were Caucasian. The other members of the venire failed to show, and no black person reported for duty. With no black citizens on the jury, the deck is stacked against the black defendant. That isn't to say that an all white jury won't give him a fair trial, it is to say that the presumption of color-blind justice is impossible to maintain. In this case, the jury was stacked by those who failed to report.

Jury duty is the highest responsibility of a citizen to insure that the criminal justice system works like it is supposed to work. To have a fair trial, the jury venire must reflect the racial make-up of the parish. I have known judges to go to great lengths to insure that the jury venire was fairly and diligently drawn from the pool of eligible citizens. I have also known judges who dealt harshly with those who decided for one reason or another to neglect the call for jury service.

Were I the judge, I don't know how I would have handled the fact that 2/3 of my venire failed to show. I suspect that I would have postponed the trial for a week and ordered the Sheriff to round up those hundred citizens who failed to report. I would order a hearing on Wednesday for those citizens to explain to the Court why their failure should not be construed as Contempt of Court. The hearings would be short, sweet, and fairly pointed. Jail time would result for those who failed to convince me that they were not trying to undermine a basic keystone of American jurisprudence. The vast majority of those citizens would be ordered to serve 30 days in jail.

Then, when the news got out that failing to report for jury duty would result in jail time, we would call a new venire and commence trial.

My take on the "Jena Six"? I don't know. I haven't seen the facts. That is what trial is for. Those folks demonstrating in front of the Courthouse haven't seen the facts either.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Camp Boxes

Any of you who have ever done any tent camping probably have an assortment of boxes to haul your gear out into the wild. Some campers try to take all the comforts of home into the woods. Others delight in taking as little as possible into the woods. I've done all types of camping, from riding in a motor home, to starting out on a trek with nothing more than what I could carry on my back. Each type camping is satisfying. I'm not here to disparage any type of camping or outdoor activity.

My grandaddy was a fellow who loved to tinker. When possible, especially when camping, he would tinker together some little item that made a camp more convenient, more comfortable. He liked being in the woods, and he liked roughing it. I knew him in his later years and the type camping he liked to do was the type I call truck camping. He had a little pop-up camper, nothing more than two beds off the ground. His cooking was done outside under a fly that hooked to the little camper. He made two boxes that carried his cooking gear.

Through the weird conjunction of place, time, interest and inheritance, I am currently in possession of those two camping boxes. One, the smaller, is designed to fit around a Coleman stove. In that box, you have just enough room for the stove and a griddle. A small drawer in that box carried cooking implements; an egg turner, some tablespoons, matches, and dishrags. The stove box is the little one on the left.

The other box was for pots, pans, and two washing basins so we could clean up after the meal. There was generally room for some paper plates and bowls. Let's not forget the coffee pot, which you can see peeking out of the larger box on the right. These two boxes both fold out to make tables. The legs fit inside. As much as I've tried to improve on them, these two boxes seem to be the best compromise of durability and portability. Like everything else my grandfather made, they were built to last forever. Each year, I think I am going to have to begin a total rebuild, and each year I am mistaken.

Here they are, folded and ready to load into the pickup truck. The old man wanted these boxes to be one-man portable. They're cleaned up and ready for another the next trip. I do need to hit some garage sales and find a couple of pots and pans to replace the ones that were lost over the years.

That big skillet? It's a whole nuther story. I can cook one pound of bacon and a dozen eggs, all at the same time. It needs a little rehab work right now, but by the time hunting season rolls around, it'll be ready to sit atop a fire.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Just when you think the reporting about the war can't get any worse, we have reports from two American generals who talk about the nature of reporters and the war effort.
"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast." -- Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials - after the fact." -- Robert E. Lee, 1863
We learn, from the most beloved Generals the nature of combat reportings and it seems as if the nature of combat reporting hasn't changed since Sherman and Lee faced each other across the lines.

Most, if not all, of the mainstream media are invested in making the war in Iraq look like a quagmire, a morass, a losing proposition. If you're reading the newspaper or listening to the network news, you are probably convinced that we're losing. The facts as I read them couldn't be further from the truth. While we have to convince the Iraqi people, and more particularly the Iraqi government to stand up and take responsibility for themselves, we still have to defeat Al-Queda and other terrorist clans. It's a hard slog, but we're winning. For a closer look at the battlefield, go see guys like Michael Yon.

At any rate, remember what Sherman and Lee said about battlefield reporting.

Hat tip to the Danes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I went fishing today, for probably the first time in two years. The sadness of it all is that one reason we bought this house is that it sits on a private lake. I have a small bateau boat that used to belong to my grandfather. His initials are still in the bow, and the nature of aluminum boats is to last forever as long as they are reasonably maintained. This boat was made in the mid '60s in Lebanon, Missouri, by the now defunct Appleby Manufacturing.

At any rate, I got out on the water today, and fished topwater plugs for bass. I caught three and played catch-and-release with them. If I don't keep them, I don't have to clean them. It was nice to be on the water.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The list

From Rivrdog, I got a list in the mail, 32 Things Cops wish People Knew. One of them made me chuckle.
29. If you think you can fan all the pot smoke out of the car before we smell it, good luck.

You know what dope smells like, right? It's an odor that is highly distinctive. Much like cigarette smoke is highly distinctive, the odor of burning marijuana, once learned, is never forgotten. The surprising thing is that I think marijuana smoke smells good, like a fresh-mown yard smells good. It's a nice, clean, natural odor to my nose. I like the smell of burning marijuana. If you've ever burned hemp rope, then you know the odor. It smells a lot like burning rope.

The legal problem is that because marijuana is illegal, and we can't use illegal activity in Court, sometimes we're asked in Court if we know, to a certainty, what burning marijuana smells like. Marijuana doesn't come with a seal of approval, or with a USDA label, so knowing what you have in your hand is really marijuana can be hard to articulate in a Court of Law. Except for the wisdom of the United States Army.

In April of 1975 I was a young, fresh, newly-minted lieutenant, undergoing training in Armored warfare at Fort Knox, KY. The Army had a drug problem and was trying to eradicate that problem. Young lieutenants were often the first-line against illicit drug use and were called to testify in Courts Martial. The Army decided to teach all its young officers the smell of burning marijuana. The Army obtained a quantity of good marijuana, tested it for purity and assigned medical officers to instruct other officers in a closed setting. We all filed into a class room, where armed MPs locked the doors. The medical officer then hand-rolled a number of pharmaceutical grade marijuana cigarettes and passed them around, lit, for us to sample, smell, touch, and taste. After an hour, those same MPs loaded us in buses and vans and took us home. High as kites.

I can testify to a certainty that I was taught to identify the odor of burning marijuana by the US Army at Fort Knox, KY, in April, 1975. I have so testified on numerous occasions.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Yesterday, the tomato, the butter beans and the corn were on the plant. The potatoes were in the ground.

Today, they were on my plate. Fresh butter beans, sweet corn cut from the cob, new potatoes boiled and set in a cream sauce. Icy cold sliced tomato. Along with a cornbread and a glass of sweet iced tea, it doesn't get much better than that.

June seems to be the time for fresh vegetables. Here in the United States, they are available almost year-round, but June is the time when the garden's bounty comes in full and rich and tasty.

No, I don't garden. I did for many years, and just haven't the interest these days. There is, however, a wonderful produce stand just up the road.

Now to while away the afternoon. I have to get back on the mower, but that will be in the cooler hours before dark.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Rifle

Every so often, I realize that I haven't had to spend money on one or the other of my children. I have trained my children to be self-sufficient, independent adults, but from time to time they need a little help, and like every parent I help my children.

When I realize I haven't had to spend money on a kid in a while, I make it worth their while. With my kids, I offer to buy them a rifle, within reason. We set the value of the rifle and I let them pick it out, then I order it.

My son Joey is a Junior in college. He's done it all himself, except that Dad gets calls occasionally to help out with books or supplies. Last month I realized that he hasn't asked for anything in the past year or so, so I called him and asked what king of rifle he might like, as a reward for being self-sufficient.

He called me back in a week or so. His request was certainly reasonable. The Savage, in .308, encased in the marvelous Model 10 action, and more specifically, the LEO version. Because Joey is a dedicated southpaw, he wanted his in the incomparable Model 10 FLP. It's a heavy barreled .308, weighing 8.5 lbs empty and dry. The action is pillar bedded, the heavy barrel is floated all the way back to the barrel nut. It sports the incomparable Accu-Trigger. The synthetic stock has an extra swivel stud in case he wants to mount a bipod.

I took some money to my favority counterman and ordered one. It came in today. The counterman called me and told me that it has arrived and has created quite a stir in the store. It seems that some other southpaws were there when it was unveiled and offered to buy it immediately. He told me it is on layaway in my name and I only need to show up with the balance to claim it. I told him I'd pick it up in the middle of July, in time for my son's birthday.

Joey's older brother, Matt, has one of these in 7mm mag. It seems that for one year, Savage offered a heavy barreled varmint model in 7mm Remington Mag, and that was the year that Matt had earned a rifle. It shot like gangbusters from the start and groups have shrunk as the rifle broke-in and Matt got used to shooting it. That rifle routinely turns in 0.5 MOA work and yes, I've got the targets to prove it.

It'll be interesting to see how Joey's rifle shoots.

Congressman Alexander on Immigration

Congressman Alexander responded to my Immigration letter, this morning sometime after I accused him of lacking basic courtesy to constituents. He replies:
More importantly, passage of S. 1348 would pose a danger to America. Many illegal immigrants that would be granted amnesty from this bill are terrorists. This bill weakens national security by ignoring the threat posed by amnesty. Some illegal immigrants want to come to America for the jobs and benefits, some want to harm America.

Rest assured, I will use my position on the House Immigration Reform Caucus to ensure that if and when a counterpart to this bill is introduced in the House of Representatives, it does not pass. America deserves nothing less that the defeat of this, or any other bill that provides amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Very Good.

Many pundits have noted that many in Congress want to pass the Immigration Bill, Senate 1348, but the voters are overwhelmingly opposed to it. The voters are demanding accoutability on the issue and continued pressure on our Congressmen will insure that this bill is strongly defeated.

We've heard from Senator Vitter and Congressman Alexander on the issue. Where is Senator Landrieu?

Basic Courtesy

My Momma taught me basic courtesy. Here in the Deep South, there are certain basic courtesies that have been taught over the years. The list is too long to articulate here, but that doesn't change the requirements. There are certain societal courtesies that show if a person is skilled in the social graces.

One of those rules is very simple. If a person writes you a letter, you are bound by convention to respond to that letter. I'm not certain how email falls on the scale, because much of what I receive in my inbox is spam, unsolicited mail that is not of a personal nature. I routinely delete spam. Some of my email is unsolicited communications from readers, commenting on posts here or articles I've written for my other website. I make a dedicated effort to reply to those emails.

Under the rules as I was taught, to fail to respond to a letter is rude. A corollary to that rule is that a gentleman is never rude accidentally.

In the last post, I noted that I had written my Congresscritters a letter and that Senator Vitter had responded. Congresscritter Alexander and Congresscritter Landrieu have not yet responded. In comments, Oyster reflects that Congressman Jindal has not responded to a missive filed in April.

At my parents knees I was taught that nobility is defined by a person's actions, that great privilege demands great responsibility. The closest thing we have to a ruling class is our elected officials, who, by their very nature, are our ruling class. However, the Founding Fathers required that they work for us; that we could send them packing through the ballot box. Their oath is to the Constitution, but their fealty is to the people who put them in office, the voters.

When a Congresscritter fails to respond to one of my letters, I can only surmise one of two things: 1) they think my letter is spam, an unsolicited communication of no value. If they believe this, they are wrong. Their job is to gauge the feelings of their constituents and reflect those constituents to Congress. They may disagree with the voters on particulars of issues, but they should at least have the courtesy to respond to the constituents. They are not a ruling class, they are representatives of a section of this nation. They are servants of the greater whole. Or, 2) they have no basic courtesy, no understanding of the social conventions. If they are accidentally rude, they have no business representing me. If they believe they are too good to respond to my (or Oysters) letters, they have no nobility.

And they wonder why we hold them, generally, in such contempt.