Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today's Hunt

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Robert Burns

It didn't work out just like I planned, so I can take some comfort from Robert Burns poem. However, today wasn't a total loss. This morning dawned with a heavy fog, so heavy I couldn't see a hundred yards.

The weather stayed foggy until after 9:00. Looking for tracks, some deer had walked across a cleared area behind my stand. Whether they were moving during the dark early morning hours or in the fog, we'll never know, but the tracks plainly showed that they crossed that opening sometime after the rain finished at about midnight.

The rest of the day was absolutely gorgeous and I spent most of the rest of it looking at this.

But, no joy! I was in the woods all day, spending most of it alone with only myself for company and my thoughts for distraction. In everything except the game not cooperating, it was a magnificent day.

Friday, October 30, 2009


It has rained all day. Lots of rain, continuous rain. Since before daylight it's been raining and now, as dusk falls, it's still raining. I pumped the pool down to the level of the skimmer yesterday. Today, looking at it, I believe we've had between three and four inches at the house. Lots of rain. All day rain.

That's what the front looked like today, about noon. A continuous band of rain that stretched from Arkansas down to the Gulf, covering a 100 mile swath. It's a huge front and temperatures will cool considerably as it passes. Temps have already dropped, but I don't believe that they're through. Our high this morning was about 60F, and right now it's about 52F. They're calling for the temps to be in the mid 40s tomorrow.

The rain will end sometime after midnight and tomorrow will be partly cloudy and cool. Which is good news for us deer hunters. If my experience is any indication, the deer have been bedded all day. Tomorrow they should move, which sounds like a good thing for those of us that'll be sitting on a deer stand. Tomorrow will be a very good day to be in the woods.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More on Handi-Rifle

Flintlock Tom says in comments:
I really like the H&R single shots. I have a 12 gauge and I have been watching for a .45-70. It seems odd to me that they didn't make the barrels interchangeable. It would have made them very versatile to have one receiver and swap the barrel.
As it turns out, Tom, the barrels are interchangeable, with certain caveats. Not like a Thompson Center rifle, but with a little fitting they are easily interchangeable. You've got to use an SB2 frame. Shotgun frames aren't strong enough for some centerfire cartridges. H&R 1871 used to have a service where you could send in your receiver and have new barrels fitted to it. Now that the rifles are made by Remington at the Ilion plant, it's yet to be seen how that service will remain.

However, the folks over at the Greybeards's Outdoors Forum have everything you need to know about the Handi Rifle in their forum. Two of the threads are particularly intersting. The FAQ's thread is a must-read, and the Handi-Basics 101 is also full of information. Those guys at that forum know all there is to know about the Handi-Rifle and they're willing to share the knowledge. Go over and browse around.

A bowl of the Red

I made a pot of chili this afternoon, out of a severe yearning for it. It's not quite cold enough outside for chili, but I want some. My chili is standard, American chili made with ground beef and tomato sauce. Nothing fancy. A couple of pounds of hamburg3er, a couple of cans of beans, some onion and bell pepper, and chili powder. That's about it.

Deer season starts this weekend. Actually, it's been started for several weeks. Archery season started several weeks ago and this past Saturday, the primitive weapon season opened. This Saturday starts the regular gun season and for the first time in several years, I'm truly ready for the opener. The stands are up, clean and serviceable, the feeders are out. All I actually need to do is get out there and sit down.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Road Use Tax

Those bastards in Washington are trying to come up with a scheme to make every road a toll road.
"A comprehensive road-use pricing initiative in the Washington metropolitan area would be an extremely ambitious experiment," Brookings Institution authors Benjamin K. Orr and Alice M. Rivlin explained in a policy paper designed to garner the interest of regional authorities. "Leadership and upfront investment from the federal government would also be essential to get the experiment off the ground and ensure comprehensive implementation. Some recent indications of interest at the federal level suggest that this might be possible. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recently stated that, due to the failure of the Manhattan congestion pricing initiative, the US Department of Transportation still has funds available for pilot congestion pricing programs."
That's our US Department of Transportation. Whad'dya want to bet that this is a trial balloon for a nationwide initiative?

How would they do this? Simple. With a GPS device that keeps track of your driving style.
"Vehicles would be fitted with a GPS transponder device similar to an E-ZPass, perhaps as part of the registration process," Orr and Rivlin explained. "This device would record the type of vehicle, the distance traveled, and the time and location of travel."
I bet there would be a thriving market for an enterprising mechanic who could disable the device. Unobtrusively. Or hack it to show that the vehicle drove very little.

Why do we need a new tax on miles driven? Simple! Gas taxes are down.
Despite the privacy issues, DC officials insist that tolling is necessary for making up for the shortfall in gasoline tax revenues. The proposed mileage tax would solve this problem by increasing motorist taxation levels by a factor of ten. The additional revenue would be diverted to spending on buses and rail service.
Oh, lovely! Excess funds would be diverted to buses and rail. Which use less gas.

Basically, we drive less to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we drive more efficient vehicles, we combine trips and do all the things they recommend and they come up with a new way to tax us. The folks in Washington D.C. are truly worthless bastards.

Exit question! Have you ever known a government agency to have excess revenues?

I agree with Instapundit. A better solution would be tar and feathers.


I've got some kind of sinus thing going on and I feel like hell. Milady is a registered nurse and she tells me that I'm not contagious and I'm going to live through this, but I feel like crap.

I think I'm going to go prop up in my easy chair and take a nap.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I was sitting on the back porch today and I noticed that I wasn't watching hummingbirds. Generally during the late afternoon the backyard is alive with zoom, zoom. Last week I noticed that we didn't have any male birds and Momma tells me that the males leave a couple of weeks earlier than the females.

This afternoon, no birds at all. I'll wait another couple of days and take down the hummingbird feeders.

Good news for Garand Fans

The word over at Culver's Gun Talk is that the CMP has arranged for a shipment of M1 Garands, bayonets and 70 million rounds of 30-06 ammunition from Greece.
Many, many, many (did I say 'many'?) near mint rifles with nothing wrong but the trigger group and/or stock were switched. I think a third or more of what I saw was truly excellent like this, and it actually became more unusual to see one with the correct trigger group and stock. As to condition, these could be anything from fairly used to nearly unfired (if not completely unfired). But there were many that were right as rain and nearly unmarked - clearly collector grades. If that holds across the board it means that there were over 6000 rifles that were collector grades or a stock/trigger group away from collector grades.
I'm not in the market for a collector grade Garand, but I might like one, or several, shooters. And, with 70 million rounds of ammo coming, I might be able to afford a couple of cases.

I meant last year to get my paperwork complete and submitted to the CMP and this gives me the motivation to do that.

Hat tip to The Gun Counter forum.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tam's right

Tam says that the loaded chamber indicator is the dumbest thing they've ever put on a pistol.
Its very existence betrays a bad mindset to have around guns, which is the idea that "This one's loaded, so I'll treat it with extra special caution!" The problem is thinking that way implies the unwritten corollary that "I don't think this one's loaded, so I can handle it sloppily," which almost unfailingly comes back to bite the unwary in the arse and leave bullet holes in things better left unpunctured.
As usual, she's right.

1. All guns are always loaded.

Cessna Caravan

The Cessna Caravan (208) is a fixed gear, high wing turboprop aircraft used as a regional airliner and cargo aircraft.

And as a warbird. Aviation Week has photos of a Caravan outfitted with Hellfire missiles, flying out of Meacham Airport near Fort Worth. The aircraft are being modified by ATK Integrated Systems, who has a major facility at Meacham.

The article says they're slated for the Iraqi Air Force. Ain't that interesting? I've always thought that if I ever win the Powerball, the Caravan would fit nicely into my millionaire portfolio. Who knew you could get them with missiles?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Deer Cam Pics

I went to Momma's today to check the deer cam. I have them set for Central Standard Time so that I won't have to change everything over once the time changes on the first Sunday in November. (That's next weekend, by the way.)

Here's a nice pic of a doe near the feeder with a small buck in the foreground. Of course, you can click it for a bigger image.

And, here's one of that same little buck looking at the feeder. You can likewise click it for a larger view.

I know that this is one of the most inexpensive of the game cameras on the market, but I'm having a ball learning how to use it.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog likes being scratched, and he'll stop for scratching at any given time.

Here, he's sitting with Milady, demanding attention while she reads the newspaper.

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More on Oath Keepers

I was surfing the liberal side of the intertubes today and came upon a little piece over at Associated Comment, entitled The Oathkeepers Need to Be Put in Check. Hilarity ensues, but not so much from the reason of the author, but from his total lack of understanding about what it means to be in the military or the cop profession.

Let's look at one little bit of blunder, shall we?
To pledge to willfully obey orders is in direct conflict with the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ.
Uuuh, no. To willfully obey orders is the hallmark of both the oath of enlistment and the oath of commission. However, all military members are schooled at least yearly that they have a duty to not obey illegal orders. The Nuremberg Defense died during the end of WWII. I suspect that the author meant to say that "to willfully disobey orders...", but he didn't. Either his understanding of the UCMJ is sorely lacking or his proofreading skills are sorely lacking. Either way works for me.

Another burst of lunacy is shown in the concluding paragraph of the piece.
Just because a person is in the military or on a police force doesn't give them the right to arbitrarily interpret laws and act according to what they perceive as threat.
We might quibble about the use of the modifier "arbitrary", but as a police officer it is exactly my job to interpret the law and to enforce it to the best of my ability. That pretty much defines police work.

Imagine if active duty soldiers were not allowed to act on what they saw as a threat. While we're imagining, how about if police officers were not allowed to act accordingly to what they perceive as a threat. That's another huge part of my job. Reacting to threats. That's what I'm paid to do.

Should the military and police be subject to civilian control? Certainly, that's also one of the hallmarks of service. We're subject to the lawfully constituted government. No one's arguing that point. Should we also question orders that might be illegal and refuse to obey those orders when our moral compass tells us that to obey orders is wrong? Of course.

There's a catch-22 involved in that action, that we might be prosecuted for failing to obey an order that's later interpreted as lawful. That's a risk we take, but an order that skirts that close to the line between lawful and unlawful should be carefully considered before it is issued.

Once, years ago I was talking with a commander who told me that in the absence of orders he expected me to conduct myself in a manner that was morally, ethically and legally correct. Then he illuminated that guidance by telling me that if the moral and ethical conflicted with the legal, he expected me to act on the moral and ethical. That's good advise and a beacon that I've tried to follow during my twin careers in the military and law enforcement.

Would that our elected leaders were bound by that same guidance.


I was surfing over at my daughter-in-law's blog and snatched this picture of the youngest grandchild at a pumpkin patch. It's a good photo of the kid.

I miss that boy. Hopefully we'll see him sometimes soon.

Huge slide

We've got this huge blow-up slide in my side yard, rented by my son's girlfriend for a kid's birthday party. Some of the grandkids are over here now and the remainder of the party is arriving soon, but I had to capture pictures of this thing for posterity.

To give you some idea of scale, the fences in the background are 6 feet tall.

Here's a close-up with three of the grandsons on it.

I've got to fire up the charcoal pit soon to cook hot dogs. It's going to be a bang-up time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bolton Wins!

I was wrong about Bolton losing their homecoming game tonight. They beat Avoyelles High School in overtime, 39-36.

Great job by the coaching staff and a monumental effort by the kids.

It was 11:30 when I left the parking lot. That's more than 16 hours today, but everyone went home safe and sound.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


We got rain today. Lots of rain. Accuweather is showing that the main body of thunderstorms is east of us. The front has been moving from the west to the east all day. Tomorrow is supposed to be a drying-out day starting with cloudy skies and ending with a clear evening. Temps in the mid 40s. It should be a good night for high school football.

I'm glad the weather is cooperating. Tomorrow is Bolton's homecoming and the kids have a lot of activities planned, starting with float preparation in the morning, a parade in the afternoon, a pep-rally in the stadium, then prep for the game, with kick-off at 7:00 p.m.

I'll be there for the whole thing, getting to the school house at about 7:00 a.m. and leaving after the game tomorrow night, sometime after 10:00. For reasons known only to the coaching staff, we chose this game for homecoming against a winning adversary who is having a really good season. We're going to get our butts kicked.

Go Bears.

I.P. Shutting down in Pineville

The International Paper plant in Pineville is shutting down, according to the Town Talk. The last day of operations will be December 15th, with 200 employees laid-off.

That plant has been around since I was a kid, making container-board for worldwide markets. It's been an economic engine in central Louisiana for decades.

Just Damn!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oath Keepers

There's a group of people called Oath Keepers. They've started to come onto the mainstream media's radar. Most recently, the founder, Stewart Rhodes appeared on MSNBC's Harball with Chris Matthews. David Codrea talks about it in his Gun Rights column.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has them listed as an organization that bears watching.
Oath Keepers, the military and police organization that was formed earlier this year and held its April muster on Lexington Green, may be a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival. Members vow to fulfill the oaths to the Constitution that they swore while in the military or law enforcement. "Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and we will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders," the group says. Oath Keepers lists 10 orders its members won't obey, including two that reference U.S. concentration camps.
If you do a Google search, you'll find lots of folks concerned about the Oath Keepers.

I've taken oaths, both in the military and as a cop. They require me to protect and defend the Constitution. I really don't see anything right-wing or reactionary about taking such an oath. In fact, my oaths are to the Constitution, not the government. Governments change quite regularly and it's my job to go about my duties without worrying about the government.

As I read the Oath Keepers list of orders they won't obey, I myself have been guilty of raising hell when some overzealous bureaucrat tried to order something that would have gotten him in trouble. I once risked my career by offering to arrest a Chief Deputy if he insisted on giving an order that was plainly unlawful. He came to his senses and backed down, and we remained friendly associates.

The Oath Keepers isn't about taking up arms against the government. If you look at the oath, it's about peaceful non-violence in the face of unlawful orders. When you consider that the oath is about "standing down", it is fairly remarkable that a group of armed citizens is willing to do nothing when faced with orders that might violate the Constitution. That's what the oath is all about.

The "just following orders" defense died at Nuremberg. As an armed officer of the law and a retired military officer, I see no conflict. I followed lawful orders under Carter, Reagan, Bush(1), Clinton and Bush(2). I'm still following orders under Obama, but I refuse to follow any orders that violate the laws of the State of Louisiana or the Constitution of the United States.

This isn't about armed resistance. It's about standing down, something that a few of us have done over the years against plainly illegal orders. That's the beauty of the whole concept. Peaceful non-compliance. Ghandi would be proud.

I'm having trouble understanding why they're considered a right-wing hate group. I guess dissent isn't patriotic, after all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Internet troubles

A bunch of teachers went to the main School Board Office today for a workshop on using the internet in the classroom. I noticed them coming back to school earlier than expected and learned that the internet access was down for the school district. We could still use the intranet, but the internet is down. Something about AT&T and a trunk problem. It's way over my head.

Police work has changed in the past several years because we all use computers to submit reports. I had to do a report today and emailed it to my supervisor. He called a few minutes ago and told me he never got it. Duuh! I should have known that he wouldn't get it. The internet was down. I told him I'd try again tomorrow.

Back in the day, I'd take a report with two forms and a pad of lined paper. When I finished my report, generally using ball-point pen, I'd call a supervisor, we'd pick a place to meet and I'd give it to him (or her). He'd read it, tell me to make corrections, then he'd take it to the office. Nowadays everything is email or fax. It's a lot easier to submit a report online and saves a lot of wear and tear on vehicles and supervisors.

Until the internet goes down.

Hunnert Percent

I went to the Ford dealer today and bought the DPFE hoses that I needed to complete the tune-up. Installation was easy, peasy, a ten minute job. My old '01 F150 is 100 percent and by my estimation it should be good for another couple of years or so.

With new truck prices being what they are, it's nice to be driving a vehicle that's paid-for.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Game Cam

You might recall me talking about the game camera I put out at Momma's house. I hadn't had a chance to check it until this morning after church. It took 20 photos, but only a few of them showed game. I'm in the learning curve on this camera and I have some adjustments to make on the infra-red (night time) shots.

However, I've got a couple of good shots of deer. You can click on them for a bigger version. Here's a doe and what seems to be a nice four-point.

Here's another, of a doe.

I'm still in the learning curve on this camera, but I'm encouraged with the prospect of learning.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's a brisk 42 degrees on the back porch this morning. The dog didn't want to stay outside, so he came inside and assumed his spot under Milady's computer chair.

That mutt needs a haircut. Needs one desperately.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I spent the day at second son's house, helping him with a variety of tasks. Late this afternoon he changed the sparkplugs in my pickup truck. I'm much obliged. Changing sparkplugs on the 4.6 or 5.4 Ford engines is an exercise in aggravation. I'd have never even found them.

When I learned to drive and mechanic on vehicles the plugs were easy to find. I've changed dozens of sets of sparkplugs. Nowadays we change sparkplugs every 100,000 miles. I'm continually amazed at the complexity and dependability of common vehicles today.

While he was under the hood digging around, he found two little hoses that his educated eye told him needed to be replaced. They're made with a silicone lining and connect the EGR system with something called a DPFE sensor. The hoses are dealer-only parts and the dealerships won't be open until Monday. We replaced them with some silicone lined fuel hose, but he told me that it was imperative that I pick up those hoses on Monday and install them Monday afternoon.

Tonight, we're going to a costume party.

News Quiz

I was surfing over at the Cajun's and clicked his link to this Pew News Quiz.

I maxed it. I wasn't sure about one question, so I took my best shot, but I must have gotten it right.


Friday, October 16, 2009


This is why we need to separate marriage from the State.

It seems a Justice of the Peace in Hammond, LA refused to marry an inter-racial couple, on the grounds that it would be unfair to the children. Seriously.

What a jackass.

Makin' Do

I got home this afternoon and realized that I was out of bourbon. Well, damn. We live in a dry portion of Rapides Parish and I was dreading the trip to Alexandria to buy whiskey. I can't buy whiskey on the way home from Alexandria because I'm in uniform and the Sheriff frowns on us buying whiskey in uniform. So, when I need booze I've got to go home, change out of uniform and make the trip back across the river.

Milady reminded me that I'm retired from the military and there is a PX at Camp Beauregard, just up the road from home. About five miles. So, I hied myself over to the Camp and found the PX. They didn't have exactly what I was looking for so I decided to console myself with a half-gallon of Jack Daniels.

On reflection, a fellow who has to make-do with Jack Daniels doesn't have much to complain about.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


That's what the weather map says for Saturday. Refreshing. I've seen a lot of things on surface maps, but I've never seen anything like that.

I hope they're right. I could use a little drying-out time.

Extreme Addiction

No, not me. Well, on second thought, maybe me. I'm addicted to hunting. My buddy, Craig Lewis has started a company that sells fishing and hunting supplies. He called me today talking about a new deer attractant called Extreme Addiction. It's put out by Extreme Wildlife Concepts out of West Monroe, LA.

Some attractants work in some areas and don't work in others. One popular attractant, Deer Cocaine, has some great adherants but I've never seen it work as advertised.

Something that does work on our lease is peanut butter. Regular old peanut butter. The way you use it is to buy a large jar of peanut butter in the plastic jar. Go out to your hunting area and take the lid off of the jar. Nail the lid to a tree, about waist high. Then, screw the peanut butter jar onto the lid. With your pocket-knife (you DO carry a pocket knife, right?) cut the bottom out of the plastic jar.

The deer love it. When the season is over, remove the jar and lid and nail in the tree. We don't want to ruin any bandsaw blades.

I bought a jug of the deer attractant and I told him I'd try it. We'll see. I hope it works, for his sake. If it works as advertised, I'll trumpet it here and he can use me as an unsolicited testimonial.

Which reminds me, I need to buy some peanut butter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Rams

So, Rush Limbaugh wants to buy the Rams, huh? That's what's been reported, although Instapundit thinks that it's a trap set by Limbaugh himself. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) talked about it recently on the floor of the House.

First, what business is it of the Congress why anybody should make a legitimate business deal?

Second, why get your shorts in a knot over this? The NFL has plenty of felons playing ball. Are they worried that Rush might tarnish the image of the NFL? Worry not about that. I consider the NFL little better than a criminal gang. Little better than ACORN. At least they're entertaining.

It's not like the NFL is a wonderful organization of Boy Scouts and church choir members. They've got more problems than the ownership of arguably the worst team in football. I don't even follow football and I know that the Rams are horrible.

I think the nay-sayers are playing right into Rush Limbaugh's hands.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Someone the other day told me that it rained 22 days in September. I don't doubt it. It's rained every day in October here on my acre in Pineville.

Daddy used to say that we had two seasons in Louisiana. The wet season and the dry.

I'm not trying to call the thunder, but I am evermore tired of rain. Next week I start building an ark.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Putting out feeders

The boys and I went out to Momma's place this afternoon. We hung the feeder and the game camera. It'll be interesting to see what gets in the viewfinder. I'll check it in a week and see if we're getting any traffic.

The feeder I use at Momma's house is the Moultrie 5-gallon hanging feeder. We bought several of them for the deer lease and they've proven to be durable little feeders. They don't hold a lot of feed, but if you set them for a 4-second spin time, there is enough feed in the hopper to last several weeks. It runs on four AA batteries and in our experience if you use good batteries, like Duracell or Ever-ready Energizer, they'll last the whole season. It's a simple little collapsible feeder that takes very little space on the 4-wheeler.

Moultrie has them listed at an MSRP of $69.99, buy they're found at a discount lots of places. I see that Simmons has them for $14.99, which is a heck of a discount. You can get the solar powered version for only $5.00 more. That's probably the best deal in feeders today. The only drawback is that they're hanging feeders, but a frugal outdoorman could make a work-around that would let you put them anywhere.

Heck, I might buy a couple more to keep in the attic. Seriously, these are great little feeders.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog follows Milady around, because in his eyes she is the end-all and be-all. Wherever she goes, he follows. When she's in her closet, he sits by the door, patiently guarding the opening.

It's a cool rainy morning in Central Louisiana. Under 60 degrees on the back porch with a fine misting rain.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Nobel Prize

I'm told that our President was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace recently. Good for him.

Alfred Nobel was a chemist and inventor of some note. He owned Bofors, a large armaments manufactory and was the inventor of dynamite. When he died, he left a substantial portion of his estate to the funding of five prizes,the first three for physical science, chemistry, medical science or physiology. The fourth is for literature, the fifth is for the person or organization who renders the greatest service to the cause of international fraternity, in the suppression or reduction of standing armies, or in the establishment or furtherance of peace congresses. This is the Peace Prize we hear discussed.

Prizes are awarded by the Nobel Foundation. On their website they specifically state that the prizes are not the result of a competition or lottery. In short, they can give the prizes to anybody they wish.

It's their money, they can do with it what they will.

Much ado is being made in the blogosphere about our President being the recipient of the peace prize. I don't care one way or another. As a staunch believer in freedom of all stripes, including economic and property freedom, I reiterate. It's their money, they can give it to whoever they wish.

It's not a competition, it's an award. They can do with the money as they will.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Long Day

I'm home just long enough to drink a glass of iced tea and harass the dog. Our school is hosting a football game tonight and in about ten minutes I'm going to put on my duty rig and take the radio off the charger.

Accuweather shows a line of thunderstorms coming with a 70% chance of rain during the game. Oh, joy!

**UPDATE** It rained the whole game, from start to finish. Final score, Bolton 31 - Jena 0.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

More Piracy

It seems that some Somali pirates mistook a French naval vessel for a commercial carrier and fired on it. Not a good idea.
PARIS — Somali pirates in two skiffs fired on a French navy vessel early Wednesday after apparently mistaking it for a commercial boat, the French military said. The French ship gave chase and captured five suspected pirates.
Suspected pirates? They were off the coast of Somalia in a couple of skiffs, firing at ships. Of course they are pirates.

The French should have just riddled the skiffs with machine gun fire and left the outlaws to the tender mercies of the sharks. They were 250 miles off the coast of Somalia. It would have been an interesting swim to shore.


We've got a fairly active pigeon population around our high school. We're about as urban as you can get in Alexandria, situated between the Garden District and city park.

Pigeons attract raptors, and I've often got a hawk or two circling the school. It keeps the pigeons honest. Today I walked out under the oaks and spotted a bird on the limb over my head. It waited until I got my camera from the truck and let me snap a couple of pictures.

The bird is just a little larger than a pigeon and while it was sitting on that limb, the squirrels were noticeably absent. I believe it to be a juvenile red-tailed hawk. He didn't seem bothered to have me taking photos and when the bell rang a few minutes later to announce the end of the school day, he was still sitting on that limb.

I thought it was cool.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


The high school has a Veterans Day assembly coming up and they want to highlight the faculty members who have served. The head of the ROTC department asked me for an old photo that showed me in uniform.

In February 1977 I took command of a company. The Army was winding down from Viet Nam and there was a shortage of company grade officers. I happened to be standing in the wrong place at the right time and suddenly, as a butterbar with less than two years of service I found myself as a Company Commander of a training company. We were running an AIT unit, training tracked vehicle mechanics (63C10) for the Army. I would make 1st Lieutenant a month later, but the Battalion Commander wanted me to sit for a command photo.

Commanding a company was the highlight of my military career. Once you've been in command, you're ruined for staff work.

This next one was taken in about 1987 while I was in the Army Reserve. Desert Storm was two years away and we were at annual training at Fort Polk, LA. By that time I had transitioned out of Armor and was wearing the MP brass. At that time I was the Provost Marshal of my reserve unit and would be called up for Desert Storm with the MPs I was training that summer.

Little did I know at the time, I'd finish my career in an Armor unit, one of the few reserve formations that fielded M1A1 tanks.

I'll take both these pictures to the school house and let them use whichever they want to use.

Is it possible that it's been thirty years?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pack like a Seal.

Not the fur bearing creature, the Navy warrior.

Dave Petzal talks about packing for a hunting trip and recommends the Navy Seal mantra: Two is one, one is none. Dave recommends packing two of everything that might make or break your trip.

Good advise if you're jet-setting around the world. I wouldn't know, I don't jet-set.

I get in the pickup truck and run down the road. Most of us do. If I get into the woods and I've forgotten something, too bad. Forgot my ammo? I'll watch game until I get tired, then I'll take a nap. Forgot my lunch? I'll go hungry, or go to the diner in town. Batteries on my camera run out of power? No pictures today.

I'm an Eagle Scout and I understand the mantra Be Prepared. I also know that most of us carry way more stuff than we need. Dave recommends carrying a spare rifle scope. Heck, some of us don't use rifle scopes.

Hunting is supposed to be enjoyable and I try to make it so. I pack a good lunch, extra batteries for my camera, and I put a magazine in the hunting bag along with a thermos of coffee.

It's not a military mission.

Monday, October 05, 2009


It's finally gotten cool enough that we can start cooking the cool night dishes.

Tonite, I've got a pot of chili on the stove. It's been a while since I've had a bowl of the red. This chili may not be original, but it's what I grew up with and with a few crackers and some iced tea I'll be near heaven.

One of these days I intend to cook a bowl of The Cap'ns green chili. The Cap'n is one of two actual rocket scientists I know. He's retired from NASA and put his considerable skills to work on camp cooking. His recipe for Chili Verde looks very good.

Supper's on!


That's my boy! Waving the flag.

I know that he lives in Florida, but we've got to do something about that Gator Tee-shirt. Before they left the Gret Stet, even their dog had an LSU bandanna.

There are more pictures at his Momma's link, above.

Handi Rifle

The week before Labor Day, I ordered a Handi-Rifle from my favorite gun shop. I want a .30-30 for several reasons. First, I want to try the cartridge with pointed bullets. The normal .30-30 rifle is a lever action and it's dangerous to use pointed bullets in a rifle with a tubular magazine. If the point of one bullet contacts the primer of the following cartridge, that following cartridge might fire, resulting in a hearty Ka-boom in the magazine. That would be disastrous.

Secondly, I want to scope the rifle so I can wring out the accuracy. I've always considered a scope to be a heresy on a lever gun. It ruins the balance and the lines of the rifles. I don't happen to own any Marlin .30-30s right now, both of mine are Winchester 94s, which don't lend themselves to scope mounting.

Third, the Handi will make a dandy grandkid rifle. One cartridge, one shot, I like breaking in new shooters with single shots. It teaches them to shoot and it's safe. The .30-30 can be loaded down for young shooters so that the recoil doesn't bother them enough to induce a flinch. The recoil from my .45-70 is punishing when I load it heavy. Light bullets and moderate velocities might be just the key for a light, easy recoiling kids rifle, but one that will still have enough punch to take deer-sized game.

I've been checking regularly with the counter-folk at the gun shop and they can't find a .30-30 Handi, new in box. I talked to the guy today and he's been checking with all his distributors and they don't have any.

Those that know about these things tell me that Harrington and Richardson, the grand-daddys of the Handi Rifle, was acquired by Marlin in 2000, and then in 2007, Remington bought Marlin. Because of these acquistions, Remington is now making Handi-Rifles. The guys at Greybeard Outdoors tell me that the rifles are now made in the Ilion plant and there's a satisfaction poll at that forum. Reviews are mixed. Some are getting great service, some are complaining of long wait times.

The Handi is still shown on the H&R 1871 website and the .30-30 is still listed. Why they're not available is a mystery, but I've got my order in and I'll be happy to see it when it gets to the shop.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Morning Dawg

You've all seen this shot of the dog peering under the fence gate

Well, here's what he looks like from the other side.

That cracks me up.

Who cares?

I guess I oughta talk about this, but I'm told that the Olympics are going to Rio. Good for them.

Personally, I don't care. The Olympics are a side-show of politics played in the venue of a sporting competition. They're fun to watch on TV and the gold medalists should rightfully be lauded for excellence, but in the long run, they really don't change anything.

I don't take any joy from our President being handed his ass after making the pitch for the Olympics to come to Chicago. No joy at all. I do wonder what he was thinking. The Olympics is supposed to be about excellence, transcend politics, and honor the athlete. They're supposed to be games. Who cares where they're played?


I was going to take the deer blind to the hunting lease this morning, but the weather isn't cooperating. Accuweather is calling for rain, with 80% chances all day. It's shaping up to be the sort of day where we stay inside, do paperwork and lounge around.

I'll be at church this morning, then piddling the rest of the day. Who knows? I may even fold clothes.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

More survival rations

Bob says in comments:
MANY years ago I'd eat a can, maybe even two, of Vienna Sausages sitting/waiting in a pirogue or in a blind, but there is no way in the world I'll have a bunch of them for emergency rations. That would be far over my limit. :-)

Ha! I understand completely. I love vennie weenies and I'll eat them at any turn. My big drawback is potted meat. For years I carried a small tin of potted meat in my hunting bag. When I'd get hungry, I'd take that tin out of my pocket, read the ingredients thoroughly, decide I wasn't hungry, and put it back in my pocket. I carried that tin of potted meat long after the label had disintegrated.

Imagine my surprise when, eight years ago, I met my bride. She loves potted meat, keeps cans of it in the cupboard. She'll slather it on bread to make a sandwich or eat it on crackers. When she's doing that I try to suppress the gag reflex.

She, however, cannot abide vienna sausage. The grandkids and I love them.

That's why they make both kinds, I guess.


From my kitchen table, I can hear gunshots and I'm reminded that it's the opener of squirrel season in these woods.

It's been a long time since I participated in the opening of squirrel season. Not that I don't like hunting them, but for the past decade it's been too hot to get out in the woods the first weekend of October. Squirrel hunting in a tee-shirt, swatting mosquitoes, looking for snakes at my feet really doesn't appeal to me. I much prefer to wait until the leaves are off the trees and I can slip through the woods with a .22 rifle.

Still, this is an opening morning and I don't live so far from the woods that I can't hear gunfire. We've been one more trip around the sun and it's hunting season again.

Friday, October 02, 2009


So, Sen. Thomas Carper (D.-Del.), says he's not going to read the language of the health care bill because it's too confusing. Seriously.
“I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life,” Carper told
It's too confusing to read.

How about this, Senator. Go back to the drawing board and write a bill that's not confusing. That's your job. Better yet, Go back and read Article 1 of our Constitution and tell me where you find that it's government's job to worry about health care.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Survival Rations

Instapundit links to Popular Mechanics testing survival rations.

I've eaten my share of MREs, LRRP meals, C-Rations and K-Rations. I've even sampled the 10 man field ration. They'll keep you alive and keep your gut working, but they're expensive and sometimes they're hard to find.

On the other hand, with a big dutch oven and a fire you can feed yourself and your family for little or nothing. A big bag of beans, some ham or bacon, or vienna sausage and you've got a heck of a meal. Catch a chicken and make a gumbo, or a pigeon. There are lots of pigeons in the urban landscape and they make a fine gumbo.

Recipes? Use your imagination. But, some basics are in order. While the electricity is still running, go over to the cooking section of The Frugal Outdoorsman and look at the menu board. We've got everything over there from beer bread to salsa to pot roast. All the menus are game oriented and are designed to be cooked outdoors.

Once you've mastered the basics of gumbo and bread you can get creative, make your own recipes. You can also take a couple of MREs and make them into something special. Some pepper sauce, some garlic, maybe a little cajun spice and you've got a great meal.

Remember, there have probably been more meals cooked over an open fire than inside a kitchen in the history of man. This isn't anything new. What works in the campsite will work in the backyard. But you've got to practice.


We've got a major, defining terrain feature in Central Louisiana. It's called the Red River. Yesterday afternoon we got a taste of how deficient our road network has become.

There was a horrible accident on the Pineville Expressway near the Purple Heart Memorial bridge. For those of you unfamiliar with our road network, there are three bridges linking Alexandria and Pineville. The Purple Heart is the big bridge, six lanes. The other two are antiquated two-lane bridges that should have been replaced forty years ago. One links the downtown areas of the twin cities. Both of the others are on US Highway routes.

So, we've got three bridges and there is a horrific accident on the big bridge. First responders closed the big bridge so that they could clean up the carnage. It is right and proper that they did so.

Traffic in the Alexandria-Pineville area immediately turned to shit. It stayed that way for the rest of the afternoon. The delays cost commuters (taxpayers) aggravation, lost time, worry over picking up kids, and other burdens that can't be readily catalogued. In short, it was a hell of a mess and we can lay the blame at the malfeasance and incompetence of our elected officials.

The road network around here is horrible. It's at capacity and has been for several years. We've still got US routes that are two-lane roads. The two small bridges should have been replaced 40 years ago. The fact that they're still being used is an outrage to all the taxpayers in this area.

We wonder why Central Louisiana is still a backwater area? Simply because the roads and bridges don't handle the traffic we have now. Our infrastructure is crumbling and all we get are platitudes from those who are supposed to take care of such things. Roads and bridges aren't sexy. They're not politically hot-button issues.

The fact that closing one bridge causes untold problems to those of us who have to use the roads everyday is simply an insult. Closing one bridge should simply be a five-minute delay while we route to another bridge. It isn't. It's a major delay that causes untold losses in opportunity. The officials responsible for our transportation should be called to answer for their incompetence.