Thursday, May 31, 2007

Deck's Done

The deck is done. We finished during the noon hour today and then took a dip in the pool.

I'm please with how the project turned out. It adds tremendously to the useable area in the yard.

Pawpaw is through with backyard projects for the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow I have to focus on selling a piece of property and next week I'll be undergoing an annual retrainer. We have to keep current to maintain our POST eligibility. I enjoy retrainer because I get to see folks that I normally don't get to see. Plus, I love cops and spending time with them in a non-stressful environment is always fun.

I'm looking forward to next week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Woman's Right.

About cats. Damn a cat.

Rachel Lucas is talking about cats, as they relate to relationships and online dating. Having been a single man this century (I was single from 1999 to 2003), I can talk with some authority on single women and cats and dating. It generally isn't a pretty story.

One of the things you notice when you start dating online is that some people feel duty bound to send you photos of their cats. Rachel sums it up fairly succintly:
Ooooookay. I beg all the cat lovers to take a deep breath and please re-read what I wrote, which was, one more time everybody together, NO PHOTOS OF YOUR CATS.
I concur.

Cats are natural predators. One veterinarian told me that a cat is probably the only animal in the world that can be living one morning in a 20 room mansion with her own butler and that afternoon be in the deepest jungle and never miss a meal. Cats are killers and they'll eat what they kill. Put a cat in the wild and she'll do just fine.

I've lived with cats and I've never really been comfortable. Oh, yeah, I may be found sitting on the couch, scratching the cats ears, but that is just one predator grooming another. Don't make anything of it. If that cat aggravated me enough, I'd... well, lets just say that I know a good recipe for enchiladas.

I've dated women who kept cats. I didn't keep any of them. Wherever you find a cat, you find a litter box. What cats do in litter boxes won't pass for roses and I don't clean litter boxes. My daughter has kept cats in the past. When the litter box got too intense, I've been known to pitch cat, litter box and all right out into the backyard.

Cats should be kept in barns and should never be fed. They make good stall toys for the horses and they keep the rats out of the grain. The only time I ever worried about the barn cat was when she was killing a snake. Barns are the natural living quarters of the common cat. If you don't have a barn, then you have no purpose for a cat.

When I started dating my second (and last) wife, eventually the topic turned to pets. We talked about dogs, then I asked her about cats. "Damn a cat", she replied.

Again, I concur.

Fred Thompson - It's unofficially official.

Fred Thompson is driving us crazy, but USA Today says the man is running for President. It's just not official, yet.
USA Today says it's unofficially official: Fred Thompson is running for president.

Politician-turned-actor Fred Thompson plans an unconventional campaign for president using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties, he told USA Today.
. That's about as unofficial as you can get.
"People listen to him and see someone who's very comfortable with who he is and confident about what he believes in," state Republican chairman Chris Healy says. "That's a skill that, obviously, Ronald Reagan took to great heights."
Lets get this straight: I don't think that Fred Thompson is another Ronald Reagan, but I'm not looking for another Ronald Reagan. I'm looking for someone who is comfortable with his own life and has made the type of decisions about life that reflect what I believe. So far, none of the other wannabee contenders have convinced me that they have strong feelings about anything, one way or the other. They want to be elected, but that's about it.

Some say it's late to get into the race, but I doubt it. The election season has been getting longer and longer and some folks never stop running between elections, but here's the deal. If you've got 20 people actively running in a given election, then the way we've been doing elections results in failure 19/20ths (95%) of the time. There is only going to be one person elected, so the rest of the field is doing something wrong.

In short, if you're going to run, you may as well run the race the way that suits you best. If you're gonna run, run your own race. So far, Fred's done that.

If Thompson decides to run, he can count on my vote.

Senator Vitter responds

A couple of weeks ago I wrote to my Senators, David Vitter and Mary Landrieu, concerning the proposed semi-auto ban and various other 2A concerns. Senator Vitter responded today via email:
Thank you for contacting me in opposition to re newing the 1994 semi-automatic weapons ban. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and want you to know that I strongly agree with you.

I firmly believe the Second Amendment to the Constitution is a guarantee of both a citizen's right to keep and bear arms and, more broadly, of our freedom. Gun control is not crime control , and the federal "assault weapons" law has had no effect on crime. I believe the answer to making our nation safer is stricter enforcement of our laws and tougher laws against criminal activity. In order to make our streets and communities safer our focus should be on locking up criminals and stopping criminal behavior, not imposing criminal penalties on law-abiding citizens merely exercising their freedoms to protect their families and property.

You may also be pleased to know that I was also an original cosponsor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce Arms Act, which recently passed and became law . This law addresses the growing and serious problem of predatory lawsuits against the firearms industry. I am also an original cosponsor of S.1001, which would restore the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens in our nation's capital. The citizens of Washington, D.C., deserve the right to protect themselves from the criminals, just as do citizens in Louisiana or elsewhere .

Please rest assured that should legislation to renew the 1994 semi-automatic weapons ban come before the U.S. Senate, I will fight to oppose it. Once again, thank you for contacting me regarding this important issue, and if I may be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

How about that?

Wednesday update

I framed the deck this morning, with the help of my son and stepson. Tomorrow morning we'll spend a couple of hours decking it, and that project will be in the done pile.

Surprisingly, the little local lumber yard down the road has better prices than the big national chains. They're pricing deck boards about 40 cents per board under the national chains. Guess where I'm buying my deck boards tomorrow morning?

You can see the deck framing on the left side of the photo. As I was putting up tools, neices and grandchildren were descending on us for the Wednesday afternoon free swim.

It's hell being a Pawpaw.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cindy quits

I see this evening where Cindy Sheehan is quitting the peace movement.
The activist Cindy Sheehan has announced she is standing down from her position as the "face" of the anti-war movement, citing her frustration with the apathy of the American public and the failure of the Democratic Party to do more to bring the troops home.
Good for Cindy. She should have quit a long time ago.

The peace movement has cost her marriage, and she squandered the survivor benefit that her son provided. SGLI insurance is the best value in life insurance anywhere. When I was in a servicemember could get $250,000 of term life insurance for about $6.00 per month. That's a great deal and I'm sure that servicemembers now can purchase more of it.
"I have spent every available cent I got from the money a "grateful" country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then," she wrote.
However, she gets it wrong when she says a grateful country supplied the money. Her son, Casey supplied all that money. It was insurance that he bought and made his mother the beneficiary.

Now, though, she says she has seen the error of her ways. She has become convinced that the United States is on the right track, bringing democracy to the Middle East. She is disgusted with the Democratic Party here at home, though. "They came to Washington on the votes of people who were tired of Republican corruption. Yet they are proving more corrupt than the Republicans they replaced. Congress has become a congregation of whores." Cindy then apologized to real, hardworking, street level prostitutes, saying that street girls provided value for the money, something that Congress has never been able to do.

The Vice-President, on learning of Sheehan's change of heart, offered to take her pheasant huntng.

Building Deck

I started building deck today to add to the concrete decking on the pool. The wooden deck is the beginning of part 4 of a five part project.

The initial wooden deck is 24 feet long and 8 feet wide, encompassing a swampy area in the yard between the pool and the existing privacy fence. It'll cover the mud that resulted from digging the pool and put usable space where before the space was only marginally useful.

Today I got the outside framing of the foundation done, which is to say I cut and leveled 2X12 timbers salvaged from another project. Those 2X12s are mounted on Dek blocks and the hard part was getting them level enough to suit me. Tomorrow morning I get started with the stringers and joists and hopefully put the actual deck boards on by Thursday.

For now, it's time for a little TV and bedtime.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day and I'm going to be working the pit.

I put a boston butt in the oven last night. I marinated it in beer, crushed garlic and Tony's. Put it in a 225 oven at 10:00 and let it sit till 0700. It's done and it's great. It lost about half its mass to fat melting.

Only problem is, it lost about half its mass. Milady told me this morning that she talked to someone last night that might drop by and I talked to someone last night who might drop by and I need some more meat to put on the grill. Decisions, decisions. I could do chickens, or ribs, or sausage, or just plain ole hot dogs. I've got time to do another boston butt.

** UPDATE ** Problem solved. I shredded that boston butt roast. It was falling apart anyway, so I put it in the Crock-Pot with a little dab of my good BBQ sauce. Today's meal is going to be more about the bounty of the garden than a carnivore's delight. I'm going to grill some squash, some zuccini, some mushrooms and tomatoes and asparagus. We'll open a couple of cans of beans for the young'uns and when I go to the store, I'll pick up some sausage, because a pit always needs sausage.

Today's menu.

Grilled veggies, tomatoes, yellow squash, zuccini, mushrooms, asparagus, onions,
Ranch beans
Garlic bread
Pulled pork BBQ
Smoked link Sausage
Iced Tea
Adult beverages

I think it is going to work out just fine.

And, as always, when the fellowhip is over and the dishes are washed, I'll take a glass and walk out to the lake and I'll raise a toast to absent friends.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Coke Cans

We had an Eating-Meeting at the church a couple of weeks ago. We all brought a meat dish and a vegetable dish and a dessert. We put them on a big table and grazed. It was great, and the Eating-Meeting is just the set up for this sorry tale.

It seems we had the grandkids with us. Because I was tasked with carrying some tables we were in my pickup truck and when it came time to leave, the kids were each carrying an unopened soda, in the 12-ounce can.

One of those unopened soda cans got put into the cup holder on my front seat. It's a standard double-can holder and it collects all manner of coins, ammunition, lint, loose screws and other detrius. I also drop my cell phone in there.

Well, that unopened Coke rode around with me for a week or more, till one day I picked up my cell phone to use it and found it wasn't working. Then I looked more closely at the Coke Can and it looked all distressed. Kind of pooched-out from pressure. Then I noticed that the can had split along the side and had leaked Coca-Cola into the holders and that my cell phone had been soaking for a couple of days.

Coca-Cola is hard on a cell phone. Very, very hard. I used that phone for a lot of things, and one of those things was as a database of phone numbers. All that, of course, is lost.

I have never known a soft drink can to split like that, and I imagined that the pop-top would have let go first. No, it split down the side.

Three or four days later, I found the root beer can that exploded in the back door pocket. Sticky mess. It's a sad affair.

We haven't had that much unseasonably warm weather in central Louisiana. Yeah, the interior of the truck gets hot, but I've never known soda cans to spontaneously explode in the heat of a vehicle. The only rational explanation is that they ain't making them like they used to.

You've been warned.

Election time in Louisiana

It's becoming election time in Louisiana. Every four years, we go through the major election cycle for our little state, where we elect everyone from Police Jury members to the Governor. All of the state agency heads are up for grabs, as are most of the local agency heads, to include sheriff, assessor, clerk of court, and a host of other lesser and greater offices.

Election time is a grand hoot and the most interesting office that we're electing is that of Sheriff. Your scribe watches the Sheriff's elections closely because he is a cop, he works for a sheriff, and a sheriff's race is guaranteed to be the one to provide the most high drama or high comedy, depending on your outlook.

The Sheriff is probably the only official left who can hire and fire at will, almost on a whim. Deputies serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff and have to be sworn in each time the Sheriff is elected.

I remember one race in Natchitoches Parish where the incoming sheriff asked all of the deputies to attend him in the main courtroom. Almost all of them expected to listen to a short speech, then be sworn to another term of serving the people. The new Sheriff got everyone in the room, had the doors closed and told them all that they were egg-sucking dogs, had back the wrong guy, and they were fired. He collected the badges and sent them on their way. Then, he got his people together and swore them in.

I remember another election about the same time in Avoyelles Parish where the serving deputies all refused to serve the new sheriff and quit en masse. The poor fellow found himself alone in a 300 bed jail. His chief deputy was trying to break into the dispatch office. It seems that when midnight came, the old deputies walked off as one body. The jail had no food, one phone, and 300 hungry inmates. The chief deputy finally broke into the dispatch office and started taking calls, but had no one to dispatch. The local towns and state police helped him out until he could scrounge some deputies together and get them sworn and in cruisers. It was a hell of a first day for that new administration. They retired twenty years later and left that office in a lot better shape than when they found it.

Wholesale firings are rare these days because the Sheriff needs certified people to put on the streets. The Louisiana Post Council certifies who can act as police officers, so an incoming sheriff needs people with POST certification. Every cop in the US is certified by some variant of POST. In Texas, they call it TCLEOSE. Idaho publishes a complete list of POST agencies, by state.

Still, the Sheriff has the power to hire or fire and the office of Sheriff remains one of the most influential, powerful offices in Louisiana. Our old Sheriff is retiring and it's time for us to hire a new one. The next few months should be interesting ones all over Louisiana.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rachel's back

Rachel Lucas is blogging again.

She quit for a while and she's back.

Rachel may have been the first blog I ever read. If you're interested in the trials and tribulations of a medical transcriptionist in Texas, then Rachel Lucas is the place to be.

Go. Read.

Folk Food

My friend, over at Mostly Cajun, has a post up about Pot roast. Cajun pot roast, which sounds suspiciously like the German pot roast I make on Sundays.

I suspect that someone in every culture has a pot roast recipe that is closely like it. Pot roast is fairly universal. Basically, you're just cooking a big chunk of meat in gravy. The difference varies in the seasonings.

Most folk food is like that. Stews, soups, what we call a gumbo someone else might call a stew. What we call dumplings, someone else might call noodles. If you can feed a bunch of folks with it, it's probably a folk food. If you can step the recipe up or down to make a little or a lot, it's probably a folk food. If you are able to feed those folks economically, generally with what is growing in season or what is walking, flying, or swimming past, it's probably a folk food.

It's good food, I know that. This weekend, I think I'm going to try a Boston Butt roast on the grill. I don't know what recipe I'm going to use, yet, but cooking over an open flame is even more basic than folk food. Men have been roasting big honking chunks of meat over a fire, since we tamed fire.
I may put that pork roast on the fire late Sunday nite and cook it all night, then trim it and get it ready for eating on Monday. Monday is Memorial Day, isn't it?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Backyard Math

The Ford F150 series truck is a half-ton pickup truck. I know that the payload for my particular truck is listed at 1850 lbs. This is useful information.

A paver weighs 36 lbs. Fifty pavers weigh 1800 lbs. This is near the capacity of my simple pickup truck. They also cost $250.00. This is near the capacity of my simple checkbook for a weekend project.

The guys at Lowes will load your pavers with a forklift. They'll include the wooden pallet, which probably weighs enough to put the pickup in the overload column.

Carrying and setting each of those pavers, sometimes setting them multiple times to insure level and square, is a legitimate Saturday afternoon project. One that may or may not be completed on a Saturday afternoon, but you'll damn sure know you moved those 50 concrete blocks when you're done. I estimate I am going to need between 250-300 of them to complete the project I want to complete. That's a lot of Saturdays.

My doctor said that I need moderate exercise. I've got a hunch I'm going to get it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I haven't been following it lately, but some folks have and it seems that the nitwits in Congress are about to agree on some sort of immigration compromise.

I understand that John McCain is involved and this may be the final straw that drives Republicans firmly away from Senator McCain. Most of us remember him from McCain-Feingold, that act during the last election cycle that helped abrogate the First Amendment. Others of us remember him for this Gang of 14 activities. If it turns out that he is instrumental in driving this compromise on immigration, then it better have the following in it.

Bid proposals for the fence. You know, the whole fence along the border?

Increased penalties for hiring illegals.

Border security and workplace enforcement should be the first two priorities of the government, but I have a feeling that something that feels like amnesty is going to slip into this compromise. It's interesting what word-play does when you're considereing political futures. Amnesty rhymes with Travesty.

If McCain wants the nomination, he better get his head out of his butt and see what the national base is asking for. Personally, he's pissed me off enough that I'll never vote for him. Not even while holding my nose.

He ain't worth it.


I followed a link from Instapundit and found this story about a hive of bees whut migtrated into an attic and made a hell of mess.

My Daddy and his partner Chester used to keep bees. As a teenage boy I was along for some of their beekeeping exploits. Chester was the guy to call if a hive of bees swarmed. He'd show up in a beekeepers suit with the hat and veil and a beekeepers smoke generator and he'd put on his gloves and put those bees in a cardboard box for transport to their new home. It was quite exciting.

Then, he'd put those bees in a new hive, stack some honey boxes, called supers on top and take them out into the country somewhere so they could make honey. Farmers thought honeybees were great, as there is no other creature in the world as good at pollinating as a honeybee. Getting permission to put a couple of hives in the shade near a field was never a problem.

Twice a year, we'd go out and collect those hives and bring them back to the shop to steal the honey. We'd do that at night while the bees were asleep. Sleeping bees are fairly docile.

One night we had been collecting hives and were headed back to Alex when the trailer had a flat. We were just outside of Pineville, LA at the conversion of US Highway 71 and 165, an area locals called The Crazy Quilt. There was a small Mom and Pop truck stop there. We pulled in. I commenced jacking up the trailer while Chester and Daddy started looking for a tire, (Spares?? Surely you jest!)

Something woke the bees and they came outside to see what the commotion was about. Of course, under the lights of the truck stop far from town, they immediately began to circle like some huge living cloud and got stuck, three deep, on the plate glass window of the diner. Someone asked Dad how many bees were walking around on the plate glass and he ventured that there were probably a quarter million bees loose.

Eventually, we negotiated for a tire and got it mounted and left that truck stop. No, we didn't collect our bees. We had the queens and we had enough workers in the hives to make more workers and it was time to re-queen the hives anyway. Re-queening a hive is stressful for the hive, not to mention for the elder queen. You don't need many worker bees around for the process.

This story doesn't have a satisfying ending. I've looked everywhere, and just can't find one. We'll suffice it to say that I've probably fallen in more honey than the average person eats in a lifetime. I get my honey nowadays in the grocery store.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pool's Open

We opened the pool today with the grandkids over.

I still have a lot of work to do around the edges, but the kids can swim and can get to the pool house without stepping in the dirt.

This is step three of a five-step project. Life is good.

Saturday coffee

Sudenlink communications is my internet servicce provider. I have a cable modem and all the technical support in the world. The only problem is that my internet service has been out since sometimes Wednesday, after I posted the last post. I've been playing "dumbass" with the call center folks and the local office folks.

Our call center is in Tyler Texas. The folks who work there tell me that our local office doesn't have any numbers that we can call. The call goes something like this:

Me. I'd rather talk to someone local. Give me a number at the local office and I'll talk to them.

Call Center Weenie: Sir, your local office doesn't have any numbers you can call. Your local office is walk-in only.

Me. Are you telling me that the Pineville office doesn't have any working telephones?

Call Center Weenie: Yes, sir.

Me. What kind of dumbass do you think I am? You're telling me that the Pineville office of Suddenlink Communications doesn't have any working telephones? That they can't communicate with the outside world?

Call Center Weenie: Well, no sir. I'm sure they have telephones.

Me: Well, give me the number of the office manager there.

I'm sure you all get the drift.

Note to all Call Center Weenies: Your customers are not dumbasses. Your job is not to provide management with an insulating blanket. Your job is to provide customer support. If a customer wants to talk to the local manager, give them the number. All that happens when you treat your customers like a dumbass is that they get pissed and go get the numbers they're looking for. The Pineville service guy has a telephone number. I got it by walking in to the office. It's 318-641-7012. He's a nice fellow who can't quite believe that the Call Center Weenies don't want customers to have his number.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wednesday Update

It seems as the school year gets closer to the end, the more we try to cram into the remaining days. PawPaw has been busy the last couple of days, but the projects are moving forward.

We've got concrete decks around the swimming pool. Another major hurdle has been crossed.

We're trying to vacuum out the amazing amount of gravel, sand and dirt that fell into the pool during the concrete installation. It's simply amazing how much crud we've pulled out, and how much is left to pull out. The vacuum is being used a couple of times a day. We can see the bottom of the pool now, and the crud is seriously diminished, but we have a couple of more days until the water gets that sparkling blue quality that pool owners search for.

The contractor tells me he's sending a small crew tomorrow to finish installing the Polaris system, which is an automatic pool cleaner. They'll also take care of some cosmetic issues and re-install the fence they took down when construction began.

Then, it'll be up to me to integrate it all into the master backyard landscaping plan. The Master Plan is still in the planning stages and Milady is considering the ramifications of a number of options. When she decides, she'll let me know.

The first thing she wants, though, are pavers to the outhouse, and a wooden deck on the opposite end of the pool.

The grandkids are coming over this weekend. I don't think that wild horses can keep them out of the pool, so I've at least got to get the pH correct.

Things are looking up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers Day

Today is Mothers Day, and to all you Mothers out there, Happy Day!

I took care of my Mother earlier, and wish her every happiness. However, my sisters seem to have some confusion. As we were finishing lunch, one sister asked "Are you doing anything special for your wife today?"

Me: "Why would I do that? Today ain't wife's day. It's Mothers Day. I know who my Mother is. My wife ain't her."

Sister: "But she is a mother."

Me: "Yeah, you right. And her son needs to take care of that, doesn't he?"

Every day at my house is Wife's Day. Every day but one. And that is Mothers Day.

Go hug your Mother and thank her for not drowning you when she had the chance.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Trigger Time

Qualifications are coming up, and I've carried this pistol for a year and I've been remiss in my practice, so today I carried it to the range to make sure the grease hasn't hardenend and frozen the slide shut. So, I set up a target at 10 yards and loaded some magazines with range ammo.

That's 35 rounds total. 32 of them gouged the 10-ring out. 3 flyers in the nine-ring. That'll do.

Then, I got out the Remington 760. I wrote about it earlier. I've mounted a Simmons red dot sight on it. You can see the first three shots on the 10-yard target in the upper right quadrant.

After getting the sight roughly aligned at 10 yards, I went out to 25 yards and fired three shots, adjusted again, then moved the target out to 50 yards.

That's three groups at 50 yards. The top one was the sighter group, the middle one is the adjustment group, the bottom one is five shots, offhand, as fast as I could recover.

First impressions - If you've ever loved a pump shotgun, you'll love a pump rifle, and there are very few examples available. The Remington 760 is a fine rifle for hunting or patrol and it should be extremely accurate. The barrel is floated from the chamber all the way out to the muzzle. It comes in serious calibers. Mine is the ancient and honored .30-06. Yet a good number of calibers are available in some fairly serious chamberings.

The load functioned just like I wanted it to. I used the Lyman 311041 bullet in a standard Remington case over 2.2 cc's of my surplus 4895. I didn't put it over a chrony, but I estimate that it is moving somewhere about 1600 fps. If those figures are accurate, then sighted dead-on at 50 yards, it'll be down 3" at 100 yards. That gives it a Taylor KO of 12, which should be good deer medicine out to 100 yards. It's virtually recoil free, inexpensive, and fun to shoot. It'll make a good qualification load, and a good kids load.

The Simmons red dot sight worked just as advertised. The 42 mm tube was like looking through a barrel and the red dot just hung out over the end of he muzzle, pointing the way for the bullet. The dot was sufficiently bright that I didn't feel the need to use the highest settings, even in the bright Louisiana sunlight. The simple 4 MOA dot wasn't obtrusive in the sight picture, but was plainly visible. Adjusting the point of aim to the point of impact was simply done. It adjusts just like any other scope. Click detents were easily felt and counted. I need a couple more of these sights. I can see having one on a .22 pistol and I can see having one on a .22 rifle. It'll help in teaching the grandkids.

So, now a slide-action rifle is about to become qualified as a patrol rifle. I think it'll make a good one. The only hesitation about the rifle I have is the lack of magazine capacity. The normal capacity is 4+1, even for Remington's newest, sleekest cop rifle, the Model 7600 in a law enforcement variety, but the magazine capacity is limited. I've gotta admit that five rounds of .30 caliber goodness should be plenty, it'd be comforting to have a couple of 10 round magazines at hand. Remington made one rifle, the 7615 to take M16 magazines. It would be nice if the 7600 series took BAR magazines. Or M14 magazines, or some other magazine that had additional capacity.

Still, this will make a fine patrol rifle.

Friday, May 11, 2007


There's a story in the Daily Wipe today about a student at Jena High School. It seems that a couple of weeks ago, some students got in a fight. Some black students and some white students. I don't know all the particulars, but there were repercussions and some black students got arrested. They're considered innocent until proven guilty and the usual suspects are coming out on either side of the controversy. It's a heck of a mess, but this morning, we get a story about a gun.

It seems the victim of the latest crime came to school and had a gun in his vehicle. The police were called, yada, yada, yada. Except that having a gun in your car in Louisiana isn't a problem. It certainly isn't against the law, and if the reporters, or the cops who responded, or the administrators of the school would bother to actually read the law, they'd learn it isn't a problem.

Here, for your edification, is the law in question.
§95.2. Carrying a firearm, or dangerous weapon, by a student or nonstudent on school property, at school-sponsored functions or firearm-free zone
Quite a title, isn't it? Yet it seems to be the law that would apply. Carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property, etc, etc, etc. The law is quite explicit, that bringing a gun on a school property without proper authorization is a felony. A five-year felony. Certainly something to be avoided. Carrying a gun on a school property is bad juju.

Except for the exceptions. In Louisiana there are always exceptions. And sure enough, there in subsection C, we find:
C. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to: .. (5) Any constitutionally protected activity which cannot be regulated by the state, such as a firearm contained entirely within a motor vehicle.
So, in the exceptions, we find that any constitutionally protected activity is exempt, and they give the example of a gun contained entirely within a vehicle. It ain't against the law in Louisiana to carry a gun in your car. And you can drive that car anywhere in the state with that gun inside and it isn't against the law. In fact, it is a constitutionaly protected activity.

I shouldn't have to tell anyone this. Not the reporters, not the administrators, certainly not the police who responded.


Thursday, May 10, 2007


While I'm not an expert, or even a master at the trade, I certainly have journeyman status around concrete. Were I younger, I'd make a good helper to a concrete mason and I'd quickly have enough knowledge to bid jobs myself.

All that to say that I have spread a bit of concrete. I've poured the odd driveway, or the slab to an outbuilding, or helped with a patio or two. Generally at the knee of my father or grandfather.

I called home at noon today and learned that no one was in my backyard pouring concrete around the pool. I called the contractor, who told me they would have loved to pour concrete this morning, but that the plant was at capacity and couldn't deliver any this morning. Evidently, there is a large concrete order being filled, because he didn't know if he could get any tomorrow, either. He said that he'd keep trying and he wanted to be completed on this job by Monday.

Concrete is a basic building block of civilization, going back to the Roman times. It's made of cement, gravel and water, and once mixed immediately begins to set. Concrete waits for no man, but there are certain criteria that are nice to have that slow the setting of concrete. High humidity slows concrete, as does cloudiness. Concrete masons know that there are some days when concrete doesn't seem to set at all, where it just lays there in it's semisolid state, defying the natural order.

One doesn't want to pour concrete in rain. One doesn't want to pour concrete on a wet form. One wants dry weather when pouring concrete.

Dry weather is not a given in Louisiana. We live in a semi-tropical state and we are entering our summer weather pattern. The basic weather forecast for north Louisiana for June, July and August is as follows.
Partly cloudy with a breeze out of the south (or northwest) with the chance of an afternoon thunder shower.
That's it. The rain chances increase from 20% to 80% on a given day and the temps fluctuate somewhere over 90, but that's basically our weather forecast till Autumn. Which is to say, the chance of rain is every day and if you're pouring concrete, you take the day He gives you.

They pissed away a remarkable opportunity today.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


They're putting form around the pool today, preparing to pour the deck. The guys doing the work seem to know their business and they're working hard at it.

Maybe in another couple of days, I can count this portion of the project completed.

Then comes landscaping and pavers and making everything pretty. The value of the property is certainly increased. The grandkids will enjoy the pool. I'll enjoy the pool.

Work's been busy, too. We recently installed a security camera system and the boss is using it whenever he gets bored. I'm going to have to figure out a way to bell that cat.

And the School Board has a new program that blocks blogs. Whenever a user tries to access any blog, whether it be Instapundit, or the Kos, or PawPaw's house, the green violation screen pops up.

And that's a double-edged sword. If the kids can't get to their MySpace pages, or the Xanga site, then they can't access them during school hours.

However, I and a select few teachers tried to keep up with what was happening online and we'd surreptiously check the student sites to keep a pulse on their web presence. I won't be doing that any more. If the Board doesn't want me watching those sites at work, I won't watch them at home, either.

About 12 more school days, and we'll be out for the summer. I'm looking forward to this one.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

LDWF Woodworth Range

I went out to the LDWF range today near Woodworth, LA.

It was closed.

Par for the damned course.

State bureaucrats say the range is open (see the webpage above), but it isn't.

Pittman-Robertson money was used to build that range. A bunch of nobody hunters and fishermen like me pay an 11% excize tax on firearms, ammo, and archery equipment and we pay a 10% excize tax on handguns. Plus, we pay license fees, all that money going to the LDWF. Then, when we want to do a little shooting, the range paid for by our money is closed.

That's fair.


Some of you may have noticed a couple of days go by without posting. Sorry about that. Life has been busy around here. The rain that came the day before yesterday has turned the construction zone in my backyard into a Sea of Mud. Sandy, sticky, nasty mud.

The back yard was basically clay, and a lot of sand was used in installing the pool. Now, it's a damned mess. You can click on the picture for a more detailed view.

The astute observer will notice pools of water where pools of water should not be. The mud toward the exterior of the yard is only unpleasant. It is ankle deep and has the consistency of toothpaste. It sticks to everything. The mud closer to the edge of the pool is nastier, with greater quanties of sand. It abrades as it sticks to the skin. The mud closest to the pool is actually quicksand. I sank up to mid-thigh out there yesterday, the only thing that saved me was my considerable bulk slamming down on the edge of the pool. The fact that I managed that feat three additional times speaks to my ability to learn unpleasant tasks.

I need sunshine, and the National Weather Service is not cooperating. This is May, by God, and April showers should have been over long ago.

Tomorrow is church and I shall pray for drought.

On the bench

I was piddling around on the computer this morning, and found this page, from the Hodgdon site, which talks about youth loads.

Imagine my surprise when they talked about Hodgdon 4895 as an ideal powder for youth or reduced loads. IMR 4895 was originally designed for the .30-06 rifle. After WWII, Bruce Hodgdon went into the reloading components business and some of the first surplus powder he bought was IMR 4985, which he repackaged and sold to the shooting public. IMR 4895 was designed and sold as a powder for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge.

Readers here know my fondness for 4895, in whatever guise it appears. I think it is probably the most versatile powder currently manufactured. The two companies that make it are now both owned by Bruce Hodgdon. You'll find small differences in the loading tables, but basically 4895 is generally the same, regardless of manufacture. Cautious reloaders know that powder changes with each lot manufactured, and the powder made in 1955 isn't the same powder made in 1995. They're different and safe loading practices take care of those differences.

As I use the cartridge more, I'm becoming more fond of the venerable .30-06 Springfield. I once asked a veteran reloader what load I should use for the .30-06 and was told: "50 grains of 4895 and anybody's 150 bullet will do you just fine." I've found that he was right. My basic hunting load for the cartridge is 51 grains of my surplus 4895 with one of Mr. Hornady's 150 grain bullets. It's an accurate, dependable load.

However, I have a qualification coming up and I want to shoot my Remington 760 at the qualification. It's a .30-06 and the thought of pumping out 40 rounds of my hunting load just didn't appeal to me. So, after I read Hodgdon's page on youth loads, I got a piece of .30-06 brass and seated a cast 311041 bullet in it. The dummy cartridge chambered just fine in my 760.

So, I looked at the dipper chart for 4895 and saw that the 2.2cc dipper would give me 30.2 grains of 4895. So, I weighed a couple of dippers and with my technique, my dippers and my 4895, that 2.2 dipper weighed the powder at 29.7 grains. Still, that is awfully close to the 60 percent rule that Hodgdon recommends for his 4895 powder in youth and reduced loads.
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.
Hey, Hey. I've got powder and a bullet.

That picture shows the Lyman 311041 bullet loaded in the case over 29.7 grains of my S4895. They're getting the Lee Factory Crimp before being stored. I'll get out one day this week and see how they shoot.

Friday, May 04, 2007


PawPaw is off this morning, to attend a graduation. My daughter-in-law, Melissa, has completed the degree requirements for a Masters Degree in something called Heritage Resources. This noon she graduates and I have been tasked with making Dirty Rice for the party afterwards.

Dirty Rice:
3 lbs ground breakfast sausage
3 cups chopped onion
3 cups chopped bell pepper
3 cups dry rice.
Salt, pepper.

Brown your sausage, then add the onions and peppers. Sautee till clear, then drain the excess grease. Add rice and stir. Cover with water and bake at 350 until the water is absorbed. Or, alternatively, the way I do it is to put a top on the dutch oven, reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and let it cook on the top of the stove until the rice is cooked. Either way works. I prefer to cook it on top the stove.

This is my Momma's basic recipe. It'll fill a medium Dutch oven. Early on, I noticed a definite mathematical consistency to the recipe. It's hard to make with just one of everything, because... hell, I don't know, it just doesn't turn out quite right. With two of everthing, it does pretty good. I guess you could get 30 of everthing and feed a regiment, but you'd need a big pot.

Time to get cooking.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Double Pole, Single Throw, GE Type, 20A GFI breaker

That's what I need. A circuit breaker. A particular circuit breaker, and there are none to be had in Alexandria or Pineville.

Actually, I bought the last one today and I need another one so we can get the pool pumps hooked to electricity. It should be in tomorrow morning.

My back yard is still a disaster area.

A swimming pool surrounded by a sea of mud. The contractor doesn't want to do anything else until the electricity is hooked up, so he told me to holler at him when the electrician was finished and he'd be back to start the pumps, vacuum the pool, clean it all up and pour the deck.

Did I mention that those breakers cost about $100.00 apiece and that copper prices have climbed dramatically over the past year? 10/3 UF Romex is about a dollar a foot. 12/2 UF Romex is about 44 cents a foot. Wiring prices are as high as I've ever seen them. Copper, of course, is a major component of brass. Brass is in high demand worldwide.

You should see the volume of sand that Milady is sweeping out of her kitchen every day. It's impressive.

Matthew and I hooked up the light today. Matt had the good sense to ask Milady where she wanted the switch, for her convenience. I have to admit they placed it most appropriately.

I'll be glad when the deck is poured and the contractors are gone, gone, gone.