Monday, April 30, 2007

Grass Roots

Those of us who watch such things have been watching Chicago, IL, wherein Mayor Daley is beginning to confiscate lawfully owned firearms from otherwise law-abiding citizens.

I am told that the Illinois Legislature is considering such a bill to make the bans statewide.

Then, along cones Pike County (scroll down), who says:
"Now, Therefore, It Be And Is Hereby Resolved, that the people of Pike County, Illinois, do oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, and deem such laws to be Unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority."
That doesn't mince any words, does it? The county co-sponsors say:
One of the two Pike County Board Members who sponsored the Resolution, Robert Kanady, says he hopes the measure would "be the spark that lights a cannon heard all across the United States."
The other goes farther:
"The issue here is not politics, the issue is freedom. Freedom began in this nation more than 200 years ago, when small groups of people like us, in towns even smaller than ours, gathered together to tell the King who tried to rule them from a huge city an ocean away, 'Enough is enough!' Freedom will only survive today if we have the courage to do the same."

In closing, he offered: "In this room tonight we are not conservatives; we are not liberals. In this room tonight we are not Democrats; we are not Republicans. In this room tonight we are Americans."
Hooray! for Pike County.

Monday Morning

I see in the Town Talk that the Legislature has convened.

Lots of stuff to talk about, lots of stuff to deliberate. This is an odd-numbered year, so this session of depravity is supposed to focus on budget and financial issues. We voted on that a while back, but legislators have no will power. They can't help themselves. They have to do what they think best.
Every-other-year fiscal sessions were created so lawmakers could take an in-depth look at revenue and expenditure matters without the disruption of the myriad issues that are introduced in regular sessions. But because most lawmakers are not on the committees that handle tax-and-spend issues, revisions have been made to allow an unlimited number of local bills, and each of the 144 lawmakers can introduce five bills of a general nature.
See what I mean? We voted to limit them, then they go ahead and ignore it.
When the House and Senate convene at noon today for the 60-day session, they likely will face more general issue bills as they will fiscal ones. The number of bills pre-filed -- 897 in the House and 322 in the Senate -- is well below the number filed in 90-day sessions, but many of the issues ould be hot.
It's depressing, isn't it?

But, the biggest fight is going to be over the money. Surprisingly, Louisiana has a surplus, so we should be happy to get our money back, right?
On one side are Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Democrats who support her budget proposals to meet many of the state's serious needs, especially education and highways, and on the other are Republicans and conservative Democrats who want to give money back to the people and businesses that paid it to the state.
Y'all grab your pocketbook. It's gonna be a wild ride.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Total Wreck

The pool installation continues. My yard is a total wreck. You can, of course, click on the picture for a bigger view.

That pile of bags and boxes in the top left is all the chemical and pumps and accessories we ordered.

The pool is about half-full of water. They're slowly filling the pool with water, and backfilling the hole with wet sand. Every so often, they'll stop and check for level. The contactor ran out of sand late Saturday afternoon and called a halt till Monday morning.

Tomorrow, the electrican comes out to hook up all the wires. I'm pretty good with electricity, but I'm paying a guy to hook this up correctly. The contractor tells me that he'll be ready with the pumps and plumbing when the electrician gets here.

So far, I'm impressed with this contractor. We're using Pleasure Pools out of Natchitoches, LA. No website that I can find, but the guy is in the Yellow Pages. He installs Viking Pools. So far, I have been really impressed with his knowledge, leadership of his crew, and willingness to to the job right. He's been on-time for every stage of the installation and has kept me up to date with problems. This guy is a professional and it is a pleasure to work with him.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Disarming America

The Toledo Blade put up an op-ed column about how the gun banners would go about disarming America. Reading it is like reading a manifesto of overthrow. By this time the Constitution is in the toilet, the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments are no longer in effect.

What amazes me is not that some people think like this. What amazes me is that they printed it. From all accounts, the writer some kind of madman, but read a paragraph of his column.
Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.
That's just the hunters. Wait till you see how he treats the rest of us.
The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.
Isn't that charming? His words; random, cordon, search, seized, prosecuted. Doesn't that sound like a lovely place to live? Sounds rather Nazi-ish doesn't it?

He goes further:
Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."
That sounds fairly benign, doesn't it?

This is his plan, and the plan, I'm sure, of most of the gun-banning left. I'm glad they published it here, so we could all see it. He missed a step, though, when the cordon and search operations are ambushed, when the America that I know rises up and refreshes the tree of liberty.

I swore an oath years ago, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I have not forgotten that oath. In some forums, some pundits discuss the "tipping point", or that set of circumstances that would compel a free people to throw off the yoke of oppression. I am certain that the scenarios described above would be well past that tipping point.

Once that point is reached, all bets are off. The gun-banners may not like the America they've created.

Pool - Day 2

The pool came in today, on a truck. I came home to watch them set it in the hole. Fiberglass pools come all in one piece.

Tomorrow morning I have to get busy stringing electrical wire.

Wood vs. Metal

This article over at The Town Talk gets my interest running.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Metal bats will be banned in high school baseball starting this September in the nation's largest school system after the City Council on Monday overrode a mayoral veto of the bill. The measure outlaws metal bats under the theory that they produce harder and faster hits, risking injury to young players who have less time to react. Opponents, who include Little League Baseball and sporting goods makers, say there is no evidence metal bats are more dangerous.

In all my youth, baseball was a constant. Whether we were playing a dirt lot pickup game that ran to dozens of innings with no one keeping score, or whether we put on uniforms and played in an organized league, or whether we lay awake at night, listening on a transistor radio to a faraway voice calling the play-by-play, baseball was a contant.

For many years, before I was allowed to own my own guns, my favored possessions were my catchers mitt and my baseball bat. The catchers mitt was modified by my Dad. He took it apart and stuffed it with insulation till it resembled nothing so much as an overstuffed pizza pan. You couldn't catch a ball one-handed, but you had enough padding there to stop a freight train.

The bat. A wooden Louisville Slugger, marked 30 on the butt. It was an official Dixie Youth model. It finally went away several years ago when one of my sons was swinging away during a game and broke it. Yeah, he got on base, but the bat never made it back to the rack. There is nothing like the CRACK of a wooden bat that makes me turn and look.

I've watched a lot of baseball these last few years, and the metal bats just don't do it for me. The PING of the bat loses something. I understand that baseball is dangerous and wooden bats shatter. I've seen lots of bats break and scatter across and infield. Mostly, when they had been modified in some way that made them illegal for use.

Now, New York is citing a study that says metal bats are more dangerous, give the ball too much speed and don't give the infielders enough reaction time.

We've all seen it. The pitcher winds up and delivers his fastball. The batter swings and a line drive launches back at the pitcher. The pitcher has two choices, but generally reflex throws the gloved hand at the ball and more often than not, the pitcher catches the ball. The crowd cheers or moans, depending on their loyalty, but tears well in the eyes of the pitcher.

Not because he has made a magnificent catch, but because it hurts like hell. His hand is on fire and the bones have been pulverized, clenched in an unshakeable death grip around the ball. It's a touching scene, but one we'll draw the curtain on.

I, personally, have always preferred a wooden bat. What think you?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Digging Day

This morning at work, I got a call from Milady. She was quite excited. It seems there were men in the back yard preparing to dig a hole for the swimming pool. When I got home, this is what I found.

I wasn't expecting them for another week. This increases the slope on my craziness curve, because there are a few things I wanted to get done before they started digging. Too late.

Oh, well! We've wanted a pool for a lot of years. In another week, I'll have one.

BAG Day Gun

I was a little late for my BAG day gun, for a variety of very good reasons. Most of those dealt with a dearth of cash. However, the last couple of days I have been looking at a Remington Model 760, in the very satisfying .30-06. I'm thinking of qualifying with it in June, just to give the range officers fits. I can claim with some authority that my rifle is the dressed-up version of the police rifle.

My version has a serial number from the first block of numbers (1,000 to 541,000) and mine is the BDL variety, with the basketweave stock. The Remington page puts my rifle manufactured sometime during 1966 or 1967.

As it sat in the pawn shop, it sported a Simmons 3X9 scope and someone had taken the iron sights off of it. The barrel was dirty but the rifling looked good all the way out to the muzzle. The counterman and I rummaged around in a box behind the counter and he found an Eagle brand 10-round magazine for the rifle. He threw it in as part of the purchase.

The price? $350.00 out the door.

Spring Squirrel Season

I see that Louisiana is going to have a limited spring squirrel season.

It ain't the wide-open season that we get in October. It's limited to private lands and selected WMA's. Go to the LDWF website for particular information. I note that the bag limit is three and possession limit is six.

They don't have to worry about PawPaw being in the woods for this season. I don't like swatting mosquitos, which is why I never got hooked on turkey hunting. Swatting mosquitos is bad enough in November. I've camped with the Boy Scouts in the summer and while I love camping in general, and love the Boy Scouts particularly, the mosquitos put a damper on my enthusiasm for being in the woods during the spring and summer.

Junior is going in for a cat scan today, and I'm worried about my buddy. I don't know what they're looking for, but I've said my prayers and if any of you could help by saying yours, I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tell Me it ain't So!

This isn't news. It's titilating, for sure, and it is probably judicial misconduct. And I suppose the locals should cover it, before they send copies of the story to whatever Judiciary Board exists in the mountains.

I'm recalled of a particular judge in a small county court who would routinely fix traffic tickets for young, attractive college coeds who appeared before him. The secret, it seems, to such preferential treatment consisted of showing up before court, going into chambers in a short skirt, and pleading the case in alone. Behind closed doors. Hizzoner was even known to recess court if a particularly stunning young lady appeared in court with a ticket.

I don't agree with it, y'all. Before you clog up the comment box with vile invective, know that I don't approve, I just report.

Then there was the time that the DA's wife came to the office late one night and caught her husband, the local DA, in flagrante delicto with his secretary. She sent them both to the hospital by firing one round at his butt with .22 ratshot.

Both of these types of story can probably be attributed to urban legend. The reason legends come into existence is because there is a shred of truth to them. The shreds of these truths are known to those persons who lived in Chinquapin county during the late '70s. It's said that power corrupts. There are few people more powerful in a small town than the local Judge, DA, and Sheriff. If you live in a small town, you've probably heard stories like this. In one version or another, they're probably true.

Today was time for a Judge story and a DA story. Maybe sometime soon I'll tell you a Sheriff story.

Monday, April 23, 2007


What a weekend. After the posting last Thursday, I got into Friday, then Saturday and Sunday turned into a free-for-all of honey-do lists and grandkids.

We got a lot done. The pool house is functionally complete. By that, I mean that the sheetrock is installed, floated, and painted. The moulding trim is installed. The air-conditioner is installed and working, as is the sink, toilet, and lighting. All the electrical work is complete.

We still need to do some cleaning and decorating, but the pool house is basically done. JUst in time for the swimming pool crew, which should start work in the next week or so.

I see I missed a few things over the weekend. The Blue Angels lost a pilot.

I'm looking for a carbine in .223 or similar caliber that I can use as a patrol rifle. It's a search I make from time to time, but and when I find the particular rifle I'm looking for, I'll get it.

I called one shop this morning, and when the gun guy got on the phone, I asked him. "I'm looking for an evil black assault rifle with high capacity magazines that shoots dum-dum bullets."

"We don't have anything like that." he said.

"What do you have?"

"We've got a couple of ARs, a .30 cal carbine, and a Mini-30 on the shelf."

I told him I'd be in later this week.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The price of the Toys.

Some used to say that the only difference between men and boys was the price of the toys.

I used to say that HD stood for Hundred Dollars, rather than Harley Davidson. It seemed like every thing that went wrong with the motorcycle cost $100.00.

Drive a tractor? Any competent tractor mechanic can set you back $500.00 just cleaning his fingernails.

My buddy Rivrdog has boat troubles. Something about a commode not flushing. Personally, I'd be tempted to drop overboard with a short section of coat-hanger and a flashlight and see if I couldn't get that sea-cock cleared, but I'm just that kind of guy. Course, Rivrdog lives way up in the frozen North, so the rivers might not be warm enough to swim.

Anyay, he claims that BOAT means Bring Out Another Thousand. Go yonder and commiserate with him.

Law Dog speaks.

What he said.

I agree. They're damned liars, all of them.

Gallot is an idiot

From the La newspaper News-Star, we learn that State Rep Rick Gallot D-Grambling, is going to introduce legislation to tighten up gun regulations on state college campuses.
Gallot's bill would close a loophole allowing students to have firearms in their dorm rooms, though University of Louisiana System rules already forbid the practice.

The existing law prohibits students and non-students from having a gun or dangerous weapon on school property or in other firearm free zones. However, the law allows students to have firearms in their dorms or while going to or from a vehicle to a dorm room.
Which means that only the criminals on campus will have access to guns.

Brilliant! Gallot goes further, saying
"I submit to you this is not a Second Amendment issue," Gallot said. "This is a school safety issue."
That's just exactly the problem they recently had at Virginia Tech. The only guy there with a gun was the criminal.

I submit that college students are adults and should be treated like adults. If a college student is 21 years old and meets the other requirements for a license, he or she should be carrying a concealed weapon. If the student is under 21 and wants to keep a shotgun in his or her dorm room, that is no one's concern but the student and the parents.

When I was an undergrad at NSU in Louisiana, we routinely kept hunting firearms in our dorm rooms. No one thought anything of it. I was surprised to learn that firearms aren't permitted on campus. I guess I should tell my student son. - - Naah, he's a good kid with a good head on his shoulders. Some things aren't the administration's business.

This is not a school safety issue, this is a personal safety issue.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Tommy Denton, on Sunday past, had an editorial in the Roanoke bird-cage liner.

In it, he comes out in favor of ....
Be clear: I do not advocate the "outlawing" of firearms. I understand and accept the disciplined practices of hunting and sport shooting. I do advocate a strengthening of restrictions on the proliferation primarily of handguns, through requiring a state-approved purchase permit, periodic relicensing to demonstrate proficiency and safety awareness, and registration through a law-enforcement agency. These seem reasonable conditions for a civilized society to impose in the interest of public safety.

I wrote him at and told him that:
Be clear, I do not advocate the "outlawing" of writing instruments. I understand and accept the disciplined practices of penmanship and letter writing. I do advocate a strengthening of restrictions on the proliferation, primarily of journalists, through requiring a state-approved competence permit, periodic licensing to demonstrate proficiency and public policy awareness and registration through a law-enforcement agency. These seem reasonable restrictions for a civilized society to impose in the interests of public safety.

Tommy Denton is an idiot.

The inestimable Mrs. duToit has struck a nerve:
Over 30 human beings have been added to the death toll, caused by gun control, and your side’s continued efforts to turn America into a nation of victims, instead of a nation of responsible adults. On the contrary, anyone who watched the events in Virginia and thinks that one more law would have made a difference is delusional.

Like Clockwork

**Update** Oyster found a link that didn't work. It's fixed now, I think. Also, LawDog has a good take on the tragedy. With 22,000 people on the campus and one lone shooter, it seems like someone should have been able to get behind him and knock him out... or a dozen folks swarm him and take him down. Mindset is everthing in a situation like this. Don't go quietly into the soft night.

Like Clockword, there are groups calling for stricter gun control in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

It is not my intention to dance in the blood of the slain, yet I note that other voices are calling for greater restrictions on freedom and I cannot stand by and let those voices go unchallenged.

If there is one thing I've learned in 25+ years of law enforcement, it is that a law abiding person cannot understand the criminal mind. Most violent crimes are senseless, and the more violent the crime, the more senseless it is. The rational mind cannot make sense of something that is by definition senseless. Bad things sometimes happen to good people. That is the nature of humanity, the nature of living, and the nature of the dichotomy between good and evil. As much as we decry the violence, we can't prevent it, except at a very basic, personal level.

There are already calls for more gun control. In the days and weeks ahead, there will be those persons trying to understand how this chain of events started and how one person was able to do so much damage in so short a time. As far as gun regulation is concerned, there are only one of two possible scenarios about how the still unnamed gunman obtained the pistol he used.

Scenario One. He obtained the pistol legally at some time prior to his actions. There was nothing in his background to alert authorities that a problem existed or that the pistol would be used for anything but lawful purposes. More stringent gun control would not have helped prevent the crime under this scenario.

Scenario Two. He obtained the pistol illegally, in violation of all laws. He either stole it, lied on the Form 4473, or in some other way breached the laws of the state to posess a pistol. We can say with some certainty that he breached the laws of the state by bringing the pistol on to the campus. Virginia Tech is a gun-free zone. More stringent gun control would not have helped prevent the crime under this scenario.

Either way, gun control failed to prevent this tragedy. In the days and weeks to come, we'll learn of incidents of pure heroism, like the acts of Professor Liviu Librescu who put himself in harms way so his students could be saved.

THen there is the heroism of Derek O'Dell,
who also blocked a doorway and dodged a hail of bullets to protect his fellow students. Other students joined him, and they successfully kept the gunman from entering the classroom. O'Dell survived with a bullet wound to the arm.

We must, by all means, honor the dead and learn the lessons that this tragedy will teach us. We are still studying the Columbine incident and we have learned things from it that make our schools safer all over the United States. Colleges will learn from this tragedy, too.

We wonder what the outcome might have been if some of the heroes on that campus had been armed? The most basic right of any human is that of self-defense. Gun-free zones make crimes like this very easy for criminals who want to prey on the defenseless.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech

32 Killed, 24 wounded


Breaux bows out

Reading the local newspaper for the first time in ten days, I notice that John Breaux has decided against running for Governor.

Some local pundits are wondering who is going to run as the Democratic alternative to Bobby Jindal?

Way back when I lived in North Louisiana, one of the names commonly associated with politics in that part of the state was Foster Campbell. Campbell is a populist Democrat, and I see that he is running for governor. He's been a presence in North LA politics for twenty years, yet no one south of Alexandria seems to think he's running, or that he is capable of running a statewide race.

Yet, many of the names I see bandied about are unfamiliar to North Louisiana voters. Except for possibly Landrieu and Kennedy, the rest are virtual unknowns from Alexandria north.

It's fixin' to get interesting in the Governors race.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Side Trip

One of the side trips we made this week, the last, the most interesting, and in some ways, the most expensive, was at the Old South Winery, in Natchez, MS.

The Old South Winery is a small (read: tiny) winery that produces wines from the Southern variety of wild grapes called muscadines. Inside the winery, there is a long counter where customers can sample wines before buying. We sampled several varieties while talking to the proprietor. It seems that the winery is licenced as a producer, but is not licenced to sell wine by the drink. It ain't a bar. They can give away a drink of wine, but they can't sell it.

The Winery has a bare-bones web presence. I did manage to find their Wine Guide online. They gave Milady a couple of drinks and she decided on her wine list. We walked away from there with a case of wine. The Miss Scarlett variety is my personal favorite.

If you like good country wine, the Old South Winery has some you probably haven't tasted. I can't find an order form online, but I bet they'd ship it UPS. All their wines are in the $8.00-9.00 range.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Two Days

I've been on the road the past two days. Not traveling the whole time, because the trip can be completed in 18 hours. It would be a good Saddlesore ride. When you are traveling with Milady and her mother, you take your time. Side trips are important.

Some notes from the road

The Florida Highway Patrol will let you run 80-something miles per hour on their Interstates. I don't know exactly where the cutoff is, but 89 miles per hour is over it. The officer was very professional and very polite. No, I did not get a ticket. I don't get tickets. Just doesn't happen. Professional courtesy and all that.

Alabama is more narrow at the southern end. If you can't blow through Alabama in an hour, tops, on I-10, you're not traveling properly.

The reconstruction of Biloxi and Gulfport are progressing nicely. There is only so much that the crews that are there can do, but I submit that a good craftsman in that area will be fully employed until the next hurricane. If you're a young person wanting a career in the building trades, you could do a lot worse than the Mississippi gulf coast. Were it me, I'd save enough money for a good used bulldozer and park it somewhere safe waiting on the next hurricane. There will be a next hurricane. Bulldozers are invaluable in the days and weeks after a hurricane.

I'm tired and I have a lot of stuff to do this weekend. Blogging will recommence shortly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We're told

We're told by our businessman/tour guide that this little cottage belongs to Tom Selleck. It probably keeps the rain off his head.

We're also told that this humble abode belongs to Pat Sajak.

With an empty waterfront lot (164 feet frontage) going for 5.85 million, and the distance between the pilings at 8 feet, we get a pretty good idea of the value of property in the area.

However, the Sun-Sentinel says that housing orders in the metroplex are down by 37% from last year and homebuilders are offering wild incentives for people to buy.

At any rate, I'm not buying. I've had enough of Pompano Beach and it's time to head home. Tomorrow morning, we're loading the car to start the trek back to our little portion of Louisiana. It's been fun, but it'll be good to be back in my bed.

Boat Ride

Yesterday we were priviliged to be invited to take a boat ride down the Intracostal Canal, to survey the properties along the waterfront and to give the boat owner an opportunity to use his boat. It seems the boat hadn't been started in three or four months.

Some boat owners have told me that the two happiest days in their lives were the day they bought the boat, and the day they sold the boat. Be that as it may, there are one hell of a lot of boats in the Greater Miami Metro area. The boat we were on was a 24 foot dayfisher. The owner is a businessman in the area and doesn't make enough time to get out on the water.

In Boca Raton, they paint hotels pink. No, the hotel wasn't leaning, the boat was rocking.

Property is horribly expensive along the waterway. We saw one For Sale sign that offered 164 feet of waterway frontage (the lot looked to be about a quarter acre), for $5.85 million dollars. While that might not be the most expensive real estate on the planet, it certainly looked expensive to this country boy. I remarked to Milady that we should buy it, then drag a couple of double-wides up on it. She laughed.

Evidently, my mother-in-law doesn't like riding in a boat. Brother Bill exclaimed that no one would believe that we got Miss Reba into a boat. The picture above is Milady and Miss Reba in the Atlantic Ocean, with the beachfront condos as background. Afterwards, we took the boat owner to a late lunch at Hooters. Miss Reba enloyed a chicken sandwich and enjoyed talking with the waitress.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vacation - Day Four

We went hunting for holsters yesterday and found a bunch at a place called Knife and Gun. (Near Commercial at 11th? I was lost as a goose.) Surprisingly, they had a really good selection of left-handed holsters along with an indoor range. Not that I wear a pistol on the left, but when you find a lot of left-handed holsters, you can be sure that the selection is good.

The choice? DeSantis cozy partner.

I got it for a price near MSRP, so it wasn't a bargain, but it's good leather and it should last a long, long while. Plus, I got to handle a variety of holsters before I settled on this one. I'm pleased.

Today, we've been invited to go out on a boat to tour the Intracostal Canal. Sounds like fun.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Those trees

Dan, in comments, has it right. Those poor pine trees were pruned during Hurricane Wilma. The limbs became projectiles. Those limbs above the destruction level were either plaible enough to survive, or have grown since that time.

You see these poor trees everywhere. Here's one at the Pompano Beach Muni Golf Course.

Brother Bill says that scraggly pine marks the tenth green on that course and from the tee box, you can't see the green. The golfers use that scaggly tree as a golfing aid.

The ladies plan to go visit family today. Miss Reba has a great-grandbaby she's never seen and they're going to see that baby today. Brother Bill and I are headed for Bass Pro Shops. I'm needing a new holster for my Model 60. Bill isn't a shooter and the Yellow Pages ain't much help. Hopefully, someone there can put me on a nice IWB holster that I can find in the Miami area.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Vacation - Day Three

We made it to Pompano Beach before dark yesterday and found Brother Bill's house. An apartment, actually.

I'm going to drink coffee and go our for a newspaper. The dead-tree newspaper still has a certain appeal that this compter just doesn't. That, and I'm pirating internet access from a network somewhere in the neighborhood.

This is a Norfolk Island Pine tree, notice the lack of limbs below a certain height, and a rather common pine configuration above. What do you suppose happened to those limbs? People who kno tell me that the tree gets pretty and full when it is allowed to grow unmolested.

UPDATE: Later, we found that there are casinos in south Florida, and spent a couple of hours helping the Seminoles with their cash flow. We later made it to the beach, where the chill wind coming off the ocean made the experience almost unpleasant. We were at the beach for nnly a half-hour before Milady was ready to go back to the car.

The evidence shot is above.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vacation Day One

Nothing much to report. We spent yesterday on the road, covering some 650 miles. We spent the night somewhere west of Lake City, FL. Today is more of the same, except we hit I75 and head south.

It's been a long long time since I've been to this part of the US. I didn't remember that north Florida had hills. I'm logged on thanks to the wireless internet at Days Inn. Wireless internet still amazes me. I understand it in principle, but the actual application has me amazed.

There's nothing like a road trip to see America, although seeing it from an Interstate Highway perspective leaves something to be desired. Still, we're traveling to a destination. On this journey, the destination is important.

On the best trips I've ever taken, the destination wasn't important. It was a guide, a marker, a signpost. The give-and-take of the road was the destination. If there was something interesting, you stopped. If there was nothing happening, you moved on. If something caught your eye, you tarried for awhile. Those are great trips.

Today, though, we have an appointment in Pompano Beach, Florida. It's about 450 miles from where I sit right now. I'd best get my butt in gear.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Road Trip

Milady has decided that we are overdue to visit her brother, who lives in Pompano Beach, FL. So, we are scheduled to pick up her mother in Jena, load her into the car and head generally southeasterly until sundown at which time we'll find a motel.

Sounds like fun. For those of you who don't like their Mother-in-Law, I don't suffer under that burden. Miss Reba is funny, insightful, and a pleasant travel companion. She also likes a little toddy come nightfall, so I'll pack my flask and Miss Reba and I will share a drink when the sun comes down.

We'll be gone a week. I'll post photos as they become available.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wretchard speaks

If you haven't read the Belmont Club, you've missed what I think is one of the more thoughtful blogs on the net today. The semi-anonymous Wretchard (he outed himself a while back, but I neglected to care) is a thinker and I often turn to him to help jell my thinking on issues. He's one that I turn to, among others

Today, in his own comments, he sums up something that I've been thinking for a long time. He sums up the the comments of the Speakers trip in the Middle East quite succintly
Take Pelosi's hijab and all the rest as data. And what that data suggests is that there is a deep, deep division in the West that is practically paralyzing it. And no matter how large the giant, if he is paralyzed and incapable of movement, then he is helpless.

I suspect that before long the question of whether someone is gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile, Democrat or Republican will only be of quaint or passing importance. Things may get worse before they get any better.
When I read the thoughts of my Democratic friends, I often think "How can they be so wrong, yet so intelligent?" My best friend is a liberal Democrat and we disagree on vitually everything political, yet remain the deepest of friends.

The guy I disagree with most online is the Oyster, yet I imagine that if he and I met over burgers and beer, the conversation would be conjenial. Still, I sense a coming storm, where the petty divisions we see as separating us will fade to insignificance and other considerations will come to the forefront.

I see in militant Islam the seeds of that storm, where we will be forced to choose sides and commit ourselves to the struggle. I see that the motivation for choosing will be greater than the next election or which party will be in power. The penalty for choosing wrongly might be life, property, or the immortal soul.

I pray that I am wrong.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I see that Harry Reid is calling for Congress to cut funding for the Iraqi war. No funds means no war. Speaker Pelosi is treating with Syria. The Democrats are doing everything they can to get us out of Iraq.

They make me sick. When you look at the problems that Europe is having with Muslims, and you look at the problems that Minneapolis is having with Muslims, then you look at the problems Iraq is having with Muslims.

I have to admit, the Muslims seem to be a bother lately. I also have to admit that most of the time, it seems that what we're doing in Iraq isn't working, and that the problems just keep getting larger and larger. That the problems don't lend themselves to easy solutions. And that the Iraqi people aren't stepping up to solve their own problems.

Then, we've got this Democratic Congress, with a few left-wingers making noise, trying anything to get us out of a war. The big issue is to make President Bush look bad, with hopes of a Democratic president in 2008.

If I were President Bush, I'd solve it easily. I'd talk to every member of my cabinet, request their resignations and get a firm commitment from them that they wouldn't re-enter government service for one year. Then I'd get Dick Cheney to write the same letter, then I'd call Nancy Pelosi and tell her, "You got it. It's all yours. I'm resigning effective tomorrow at noon and you're going to be the President."

"But Mr. President, what do you mean?" Pelosi asks.

"It's simple, darlin. You're so goddamn smart, you figure it out. Cheney and I are going fishing, then we're going to watch you solve this crisis that you've been so vocal about. It's all yours."

In one fell swoop, Bush would have solved a number of problems, not the least being the wondering about the first female president. Pelosi wouldn't be term limited, so she could run for re-election. Then, with a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President, we could watch them solve all the worlds problems.

It'd be great.

Waters edge

I had the grandkids in the truck with me as we crossed the Red River between Alexandria and Pineville, when I heard the older exclaim to the younger "Look, that river is as big as the whole ocean." I had to smile, then ponder that at ages 4 and 7, their education has been neglected. They need to see the ocean.

PawPaw will be proud to show it to them. Leastways, the Gulf of Mexico, which is within striking distance of a weekend jaunt. Drive down on Friday, come back on Sunday, it's workable. I like going to the shore once a year or so, to recharge the batteries and see what's cracking down on the coast. The recovery from Katrina continues on the Mississippi and Alabama coast, slowly. I don't know if you can see progress every day, but you can certainly see progress on a yearly jaunt.

Of course, there's seafood and Milady will probably take a chance in one of the casinos. Pawpaw likes to sit and ponder life while listening to the waves. The tinkling of ice in a glass, the darkness on the water and the sound of a rising tide help me to recover from the stress of daily life.

PawPaw hisself is generally of the opinion that when life crawled up out of the ocean and lay gasping on the beach, the more intelligent of those life forms took a minute to catch their breath in new lungs, then immediately headed inland. Those forms of lesser intelligence stayed at the waters edge, and you can see their descendants still there today.

Still, a trip to the beach is educational and relaxing. We'll have to schedule something for late May or early June. I've asked Milady to give me a list of weekends when she'll be available. She has told me that she'll have it by later this afternoon.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Daddy's Guns - V

I was surprised to see this rifle in my Dad's closet. I remember this gun from my youth, but I never remember it in attachment with my father. I remember this gun hanging in my grandfathers shop, just above the reach of young boys.

The Benjamin Pellet Rifle. As common as dirt in Louisiana during the '.50s and '60s, a boy knew he had moved up in the world when he wore out his first BB gun and stepped up to a pellet rifle. Every kid on the block had one of these, either in Sheridan, Daisy, Crossman, or Benjamin configuration.

You can still buy a Benjamin rifle today, not much changed from the example that hung in my grandaddy's shop. Airgun depot has them. The ones they sell today are steel.

This one is made of brass. Solid brass. Whether or not any rifling still exists in the barrel is up for grabs, and I haven't shined a light down the bore. I can say with some certainty that a cleaning rod has never gone down the barrel, so there may be rifling remaining in that soft, brass barrel.

The pump mechanism doesn't work, but there is a leather washer in there that is probably cracked and allowing the air system to leak. Those leather washers were a common failure if you neglected to oil the air system. As I recall, it was an easy fix. I'll take this one to the gunsmiths in a week or so and see if we can get it working. My brother has claimed this rifle, but he won't be able to pick it up until summer. Heh-heh! I'll see if I can get it working. I was never allowed to touch it as a boy.