Monday, May 31, 2010


They'll be ready about 4:00 p.m.

About 30 minutes prior to taking the ribs off, I'll put on some sausage and hot dogs for the kids.

Bonus Memorial Day Dawg

The dog got a bath today and he's mildly disgusted with the entire process.

Hehehe! Get over it, Mutt!

Divorce Rings?

This is just about the most ignorant thing I've seen lately. Divorce rings. What, they're proud of it?

I know, lots of people get divorced. Still it's nothing to be proud of. Vaguely shameful, as a matter of fact. I damned sure don't want any jewelry reminding me (and telling the world) that I'm divorced.

Or this, the wedding ring coffin. How droll!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

This is the Memorial Day weekend and this is the obligatory Memorial Day posting.

You're welcome.

I didn't join the Army to get thanks or honor on the battlefield. I was raised with a sense of honor and a sense of duty to family that was instilled in me by my parents. I was taught to do the right thing even when the right thing caused me personal pain or expense. It hurts, sometimes, doing the right thing, but you sleep easier at night and you get to look at yourself in the morning.

I joined the Army when it wasn't cool to do so. 1973, the US was coming out of Viet Nam, returning soldiers were subjected to derision. I was a college student suddenly faced with some tough choices. Back in those days, being poverty stricken and a college student were synonymous. The Army was willing to pay me $100.00 per month to go to school which would supplement my janitor's job enough to pay the rent. I signed up and went to basic training at Fort Knox so that I could continue my quest to graduate on time.

When I got to Knox, I found a culture where a man's word counted, where there were no excuses for failure, and there was the ability to shake the dust off and excel. So, I started reading military history and trying to figure out the culture that would lead people to excel in a culture where words like Duty,Honor, Country meant something. I still remember the names of my Drill Sergeants (Anderson, Grice, and Hancock) and I am deeply indebted to them. They made a soldier of me.

Several years later came a time when I was allowed to lead and I found that the greatest challenge in the world is leading soldiers. It is a deeply humbling experience, all at once frightening, exhilarating, exhausting, and uplifting. To be allowed to lead America's soldiers is probably the greatest honor I was ever given. I was allowed help uplift the finest people America has to offer. I promoted soldiers, I buried solders, I laughed and cried and knew that I walked with heroes every day I was in uniform.

Don't thank me, I got much, much more from the Army than it got from me. Along the way I got to play with some very cool toys and do things that many people only dream about. When I retired (from the Guard) in 1999, I realized that I had been given an opportunity of personal adventure. It had been a hell of a ride, but I was too old to play with the younger kids anymore.

Some time tomorrow, I'll slip off by myself and think about the magnificent experience. I'll think about my Brigade, which is engaged in battle in the Middle East, and I'll worry about people I don't even know. That's my Brigade over there and they carry the same colors I carried.

By God, I love the Army.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Every afternoon, the dog and I have to play Chase The Ball. He finds his ball and brings it to me, and he and I play in the hallway. This afternoon was no different.

The ball might change, but the game remains the same.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Range Day

I got some trigger time today with two of my Handi Rifles. The .223 Ultra and the .30-30 Hunter. Nothing special to write home about, but I'm learning their peccadilloes and having fun. The .30-30 is proving problematic, but I've narrowed down the possible loads. The ladder test works, and I'm convinced that I'm on the way to finding a good load for the .30-30.

Second son came with me, to shoot his Savage 11 in 7mm Magnum and his Ruger 77 in .25-06. The Ruger is a hunting rifle, plain and simple, with a sporter barrel, a wooden stock, and a fixed power scope. We were easily able to hit a 200 yard gong with that rifle. He's confident now that any deer he sees he can hit.

We went out to the 300 yard berm and he put up a target to try to wring out his Savage. We long ago found a load or 4831 shooting a Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet that his rifle really likes. It easily shoots MOA when he does his part, but he's never shot it over 200 yards.

First and second shots nearly touching at 300 yards, 2 inches above the mark. Third through sixth shots opened up as the barrel heated. The first two inside half an inch, the last four inside 4 inches. The orange target is a 4" target dot. Any of those shouts would be inside the kill area on a deer. That's fine shooting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pot Roast

It's been a while since I cooked a pot roast and I found myself in the mood for one today. This was a staple of my childhood. My grandfather cooked a pot roast for Sunday dinner nearly every Sunday that he was alive. Some call it German Pot Roast and with my heritage, that makes sense. It uses a roux, which is generally considered Cajun cooking, but it's good food.

First, we start with a beef roast. It doesn't matter what cut, it's going to be "falling apart" tender.

I put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a black dutch oven, and add a little minced garlic for flavor. Let the oil get hot, you'll see the garlic sauteing when the time is right.

Sear the beef. With a big meat fork, put it in the oil. Let the hot oil sear the beef. Turn it until it's completely seared, then take it out of the oil. Set it aside, it's time to make a roux.

Add flour to the oil and stir it. The flour suspends in the oil and cooks. The flour on the bottom of the pot cooks more quickly, so you have to stir the roux. Stir it non-stop, you're only going to be here three or four minutes, but if you walk off it will burn. You cannot leave a roux. You'll notice at the top left of the photo, a large container of water. I don't leave my roux long enough to get water, I have it ready for when the roux is the proper color. The color in the photo is about right. Keep stirring and add the water. Some of the water will flash to steam, but that's okay, you're making gravy.

Put the seared roast in the gravy. Add a whole onion, a little salt and pepper. You can add some carrots if you like, but if you put potatoes in the pot, they'll cook to nothing. We're basically boiling this piece of beef in gravy. When it comes out, it'll be tender and mouth-watering.

Put a lid on the dutch oven and put it in a 350F oven for 4 hours. Four hours later, let's take a look.

I think in another hour, it'll be time to make a pot of rice.

Load Development, Ladder Test

When we get a new gun, we want to find out the load that it likes to shoot. The old standard method was to search all the available data for a workable bullet/powder combo, then load some ammo in increments, usually five cartridges each, in varying powder weights. For example, you might load five cartridges at 30 grains, 5 cartridges at 30.5 grains, five cartridges at 31.0 grains, and continue until you've got 30 or 40 rounds of ammo. Then, you get out to the range and shoot them, trying to determine what combo works best. This is sometimes a frustrating technique because it burns a lot of powder and uses a lot of bullets. In these hard economic times, bullets and powder are expensive, if you can find them. The ammo shortage of '09-'10 continues to haunt us.

I've been casting about for a better way to conduct load development and I went over to the Accurate Shooter website and found an article entitled Long Range Load Development. I'm not benchrest shooter, but I understand that those folks with the funny looking rifles have thought a lot about rifle shooting and they've done some great things with accuracy. Perchance I can learn something from them.

The concept is fairly simple. Pick a powder/bullet combination, then start low and load in increments. It makes sense that as the powder charge increases, the bullet goes faster, so the bullet is going to strike higher on the target. At some point, the barrel harmonics should show two or three bullets striking the paper fairly close together. That's your sweet spot for that powder/bullet combo and further load testing will show where the most accurate load is for that combo.

I've got a new .30-30 I need to test and I've got some range-time scheduled for tomorrow. Today, I picked a powder bullet combo and looked in the literature. From lowest charge to published maximum is 3.2 grains of powder, so I loaded six cartridges at the minimum for sighters and started stepping up the charge in 0.3 grain increments to the maximum. If the benchrest guys are right, then the shots should march up the paper. At some point I'll find the sweet spot in that barrel and I'll know where to start for further load development.

Or, I'll find out with 15 shots that the barrel doesn't like that powder/bullet combination. Either way, I'll learn something tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Old guns

My son tells a story about two old guns that came his way today.

I know what to do with the Model 12 and his friend has a wonderful heirloom.

The Springfield? I have absolutely no idea.


I was over at the Graybeards Outdoor Forum and there was some discussion on twist rates on the .223 Handi. Some barrels are 1:9, some are 1:12. I figured I'd check mine and see what I have. It doesn't make much difference with bullets up to 60 grains, but knowledge is a good thing.

I went out to the bench and set up with a rod, patches, bore oil, measuring device. Stuck a patch on the jag, got it started. Rod wouldn't turn. Took the rod out, checked to make sure it would turn freely. Got a thicker patch, put some oil on the patch, tried to start it. Too thick. Piddled around with another jag, another patch, rod wouldn't turn in the bore, but would turn freely in my hand. Then decided to try a bore brush wrapped in a patch. Started it in the barrel and it got stuck. Tried to push it through, bent the rod. Got vise grips and tried to pull it out. Pulled the end off of the brush. Got another rod and pushed it back through from the other end. Put a jag in the 2nd rod, put a patch on it. Tried to push it through. Broke the jag off in the end of the rod. Threw that rod in the back of the truck. It's going to the dump with the other one.

I've checked twist rates on many, many rifles. This little .22 bore has me buggered. The bore is so small and the equipment so fragile that I'm now out of .22 rods.

I guess it's time to buy a good rod for .22 bores. And a couple of good brass jags.


**Update** Midway USA has a sale on Tipton carbon-fiber rods. That decides it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

National Guard to Arizona/Plug the Hole

I see that our President is going to send 1200 troops to Arizona, ostensibly to help out with the illegal migrant problem. Not that I think 1200 troops is going to be a drop in the bucket, but he gets to show that he's doing something.

Which begs a number of questions.

How can the National Guard enforce the law without being racist and profiling people? And how does that make them different from the state agencies enforcing the law? For that matter how are the state agencies enforcing the law any different from Federal agencies enforcing the law? In short, if it's racist and ill-advised to enforce Arizona's immigration law (which mirrors Federal law), and the President now is sending troops to enforce the law, does that make our President a racist?

These questions are easily asked, although it's hard to ask them without mirth.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Feds have all but abdicated responsibility on the immigration problem. They've simply done nothing. What you're seeing now is a belated attempt to put spin on a problem that demands action.

While I'm ranting, lets talk about the little spill in the Gulf. The British Petroleum disaster. It seems that the President is getting testy with aides who are briefing him on the response. "Plug the damn hole," Obama told them. I'm sure BP would love to know just how in the hell he proposes to do that. That's what they've been trying to do for over a month.

Our President has no clue how to solve our problems and he's making it up as he goes along. This Presidency is kabuki theater at its best.

Marriott's Policy

Last week I emailed Marriott Hotels and asked about the problem at the Charlotte Marriott City Center Hotel during the Forum for Firearms Education function last week. They replied this morning.
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for contacting Marriott. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information.

We would like to thank Grass Roots North Carolina/Forum for Firearms Education for its business at the Charlotte Marriott City Center hotel. During the group's stay, there was some confusion regarding the hotel's position on the carrying of firearms by the public. It has been the hotel's long-standing policy to not allow firearms by the public on the premises. In accordance with applicable law, this policy is posted in several locations around the hotel. The permanent notice at the hotel's entrance had been removed during a recent renovation and was replaced with temporary signage. This temporary posting was removed for a brief period of time, which may have led to guest uncertainty. We sincerely regret and apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused.

Marriott’s policy is to comply with all applicable laws and ordinances. We are a hospitality company that provides public accommodations and space for events and functions. We do this without regard to the lawful purpose or views of any specific group or organization. As always, the safety and security of our guests and associates is a top priority.

Marriott Customer Care
To which I replied.
Sorry to hear that. You won't ever have to worry about me using a Marriott hotel again.

Summer Weather

It's hot out there. Over 90F on my back patio before the noon hour. Time to come inside and cool off. I've been running errands, doing projects, cleaning a corner of the garage. I've got an oscillating fan around here somewhere and I need to put it on the reloading bench.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Meat Pies

My youngest son is making meat pies. These are a staple food around Natchitoches, LA. A simple crust filled with a meat filling, they are a folk food, some say Spanish, some say French, I think they're Creole. Regardless, Milady has a good basic recipe that's served thousands of these things, and it works good every time. Some folks try to use pie-crust, but most pie crust tends to puff up when it fries and what you want in a meat pie is a thin, flaky crust.

That's what 64 meat pies look like. Traditionally they're deep-fried, but you can bake them for a more heart-healthy meal. Serve them with rice and gravy, or dirty rice. A big pitcher of iced tea, a salad, and you've got supper.

They look good, Son. We'll have to cook a batch in Gatlinburg this summer. You're brother-in-law JimBob thinks he can make meat pies and wants to challenge you to a cook-off. I'll make the dirty rice.

Support Dropping

A recent Rasmussen Report survey shows that 63% of Americans support repealing ObamaCare.
Support for repeal of the new national health care plan has jumped to its highest level ever. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of U.S. voters now favor repeal of the plan passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Obama in March.
Isn't that interesting? Still, the news gets worse.
Not only has support grown for repeal overall, it has also grown broadly in the electorate. Majorities of both men (65%) and women (62%) want ObamaCare repealed. Majorities in every age demographic want it repealed as well, including a shocking 70% of 18-29YO voters, which normally form the base of Barack Obama’s age-demographic support. That includes a 47% plurality that strongly supports repeal, suggesting that younger voters have finally realized that ObamaCare uses them to subsidize insurance premiums of older Americans.
Interesting, damned interesting.


Milady likes hydrangeas and pointed my interest to one she's got growing in the front yard.

Here's a close-up of the big bloom.

Lovely, isn't it? Remember to take time to notice the pretty things.

Ultra Hunter

Rivrdog asks about the H&R Ultra Hunter in comments:
Do they make that .308 rifle with a heavier target barrel of target length?
No, old friend, that is the heaviest barrel they make in .308.

However, those little rifles are deceiving. That barrel is 22" long and has a heavy profile, measuring 0.662 at the muzzle. The entire rifle is only 37.5 inches from heel to muzzle. It's very compact due to the short length of the action. When I first showed the rifle to my brother-in-law, (who has a penchant for heavy barreled custom beanfield rifles), he asked me if it has a bull barrel. I told him no, of course, but we both agreed that if appears to be a very stiff barrel with lots of steel for stability. If you go to the Shilen website, and use their contour guide for reference, the Handi barrels appear to be something between a #4 and a #5 contour. The rifle weighs 8 lbs with the scope.

This particular rifle, like most of my recent rifles, is a pawn-shop rifle. I've got $125.00 in it. It shoots my standard .308 load (43.0 grains Reloder 15, 168 Gameking) into 1.5 inches at 100 yards. I don't doubt I could find a load that gets it into the MOA level of accuracy, but I simply haven't had the time to do much load development for it. It'll become a "grankid rifle" and one of them will wind up dragging it through thick-and-thin. Hopefully this summer, I'll find The Load for that particular rifle.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

Sometimes little people come over to visit and when they do, the dog is amazed that someone is closer to his size. He's got to investigate.

He's always very gentle with toddlers, but he's got to see what little people are about.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I was taking photos today for an article on Castbullet and had all my Handi-rifles out for the project.

These little rifles are addictive, to the point where I have four rifles and a shotgun, all based on the same action. The little action is very simple and that appeals to me in a big way. To my way of thinking, they're great rifles for beginning shooters, and very adequate for most hunting tasks.

From left to right, they are:
.410 Partner shotgun
.45-70 Handi Rifle with WGRS peep sight
.30-30 Handi Rifle with old Tasco 3X9 scope
.308 Ultra Hunter with 3X9 Simmons scope
.223 Ultra Hunter with 6X18 Swift Premium scope

I've hunted with the .45-70. I use it during our states Primitive Firearm deer season. The .308 and .30-30 will eventually become grandkid rifles.

If the idea of a single-shot rifle appeals to you, it's hard to beat one of these little rifles. Lots of folks say that the .30-30 is a very accurate caliber in the Handi platform, although I haven't found yet a load that shoots as accurately as I like. I hope to do some more shooting with it next week. The .223 is so new I haven't even sighted the scope yet, but I'll take it out when I take the .30-30.

California Penal Code

Check this out. There's more hypocrisy here than I can wrap my tiny little brain around. My buddy David sent me an email talking about the California Penal Code mirroring Federal Immigration Law. Of course, I called bullshit and started an internet search of the California Code. Look what I found:
834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully
cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization
Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is
suspected of being present in the United States in violation of
federal immigration laws.
(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected
of being present in the United States in violation of federal
immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the
(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen
of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent
resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time
or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of
immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not
be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and
place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding
documentation to indicate his or her legal status.
(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien
who is present in the United States in violation of federal
immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal
justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or
leave the United States.
(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United
States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal
status and provide any additional information that may be requested
by any other public entity.
(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city,
county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with
jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent
or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly

It looks like California Law mirrors Federal law, just as Arizona law does. Ain't that amazing?


No, not the frozen water. This ICE is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These are the folks that deport illegal aliens. However, it looks like they might decline to deport illegals reported from Arizona.
A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.
And, just why-the-hell-not?
"I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution," Morton told the newspaper.

The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, he said, and not a patchwork of state laws.
Wait a minute, there, Morton. The Arizona law mirrors US law, which you guys should have been enforcing in the first place. The reason Arizona enacted that legislation is because you weren't doing your job in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, if you weren't malfeasant, Arizona wouldn't have had to enact legislation like this.

All public servants are subject to the various malfeasance statutes. I personally don't have a problem with indicting some of these idiots and having them explain to a Court why they're not doing the job they were hired to do. In Morton's case, that includes enforcing the immigration law.

Hat tip, Alphecca.


Like most folks, I've been using my email provider for almost 10 years. This morning I was looking for an email address and scrolled down through my contacts. There are folks in there that have been dead for several years and other folks I didn't have a clue who they might be.

So, I spent twenty minutes cleaning out my contacts. In another ten years I'll do that again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Calderon is a Hypocrite

Mexico's president Calderone told Wolf Blitzer that Mexico requires people to show documentation and that illegal aliens aren't able to work in Mexico.
BLITZER: Do Mexican police go around asking for papers of people they suspect are illegal immigrants?

CALDERON: Of course! Of course!

BLITZER: If somebody sneaks in from Nicaragua or some other country in Central America through the southern border of Mexico and they wind up in Mexico, they can going get a job?

CALDERON: No, no, no.

BLITZER: They can work?

CALDERON: If somebody do that without permissions, we send — we send back them.
Yet, when he comes to the United States, Calderon rips the US for doing the very thing he says Mexico does.
WASHINGTON -- As Mexican President Felipe Calderon ripped Arizona's law clamping down on illegal immigrants in front of Congress on Thursday, Democrats and White House officials rose to their feet to cheer, including Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano -- two officials who have confessed to not even reading the law.

The man doesn't like Arizona law (which mirrors US law) but he deports illegal immigrants he finds in Mexico. He's a hypocrite.

Legacy Guns

Over at my son's blog, he tells a pretty good story about his grandad's shotgun.

Go read it.


I got up this morning, wondering what I was going to do today, my first day off on summer holiday. About 7:15, the phone rang. Second son needed my help with putting the tracks back on his bulldozer.

Final drives installed with new steering clutches, but the track is off. In the picture above you're looking at the rear of the dozer. That big star-shaped thing is a drive sprocket and we've got to reinstall the tracks. Did I mention that nothing on a bulldozer weighs less than a cross-tie?

Tracks installed, the brakes need to be adjusted. Then we adjusted track tension, re-installed all the body panels and safety racks, bolted the seat to the transmission, then got ready to start it.

It fired right off, and he took it outside and tested everything. Brakes, clutches, blade controls, everything works like it's supposed to work. We backed it back into the shop so that he could change the thermostat and a few hoses and I headed back home. It's noon now and I'm about ready for some lunch.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I was over at Alphecca, a daily read, and he took me to this article at Bloomberg.
Ten months after graduating from Ohio State University with a civil-engineering degree and three internships, Matt Grant finally has a job -- as a banquet waiter at a Clarion Inn near Akron, Ohio.

“It’s discouraging right now,” said the 24-year-old, who sent out more than 100 applications for engineering positions. “It’s getting closer to the Class of 2010, their graduation date. I’m starting to worry more.”
The job market is tough right now. Lots of people on the street and fewer jobs than applicants.

Our high school just graduated a new class and those folks are now in the entry-level marketplace. Some part-time, getting ready for college in the fall, some looking for full-time work in the trades or the burger flipping/table waiting market. There's nothing wrong with that. They call them entry-level jobs for a reason.

But, this is still the United States and we still reward tenacity. If you've put in 100 applications, keep looking, keep applying, keep striving. Put in 100 more applications.

We need jobs in this country and I'm not convinced that the current administration understands how to stimulate the economy. Everything they've done so far has appeared to be a dismal failure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I remember back in the day, every serious shotgunner used a Winchester Model 12. Every serious rifleman used a Winchester Model 70. Every serious levergunner had a Model 94, or a Model 92.

Then, Winchester was gone.

It looks like they're back and no one told me.

They're back with a whole lot of guns that I used to drool over. The Model 101, the Model 70, 94, and 92. They're even building a High Wall.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

At the Auction

We went to the auction this past Saturday, and bought only two items of note.

First, a set of six beer mugs. These are cut crystal mugs that hold approximately 10 US ounces. A 12 oz beer won't quite fit, but I think it's a very elegant way to drink beer. The beer in question is Sam Adams Boston Lager, which I keep in my beer cooler.

Next, we come to a pie-top table stained in dark tones. It doesn't have the carved top of some pie-top tables, but I think it's a nice example of a common table used during the early 1900s. My wife thinks it's probably a Duncan-Phyfe table.

I think it's a lovely example and picked it up with my niece in mind. If she doesn't want it, we'll find a place for it.

I think we did well.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miss USA!

I'm noticing that the new Miss USA is a Lebanese born gal, and that she embraces both the Muslim and the Christian faiths.

Good for her. She's pretty, that's for darned sure.

I'm wondering how long it'll be before some mullah puts out a fatwa on her for embracing Christianity and showing her legs?

At the Convention

Atomic Nerds reports that at the NRA convention, the HS Precision booth was virtually empty. Very few customers and the reps were surly.

Good for them. I'll never spend a dollar on an HS Precision product and won't knowingly allow an HS Precision product on my land. They get no links either.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Blog

My youngest son has a blog, The Displaced Louisiana Guy. He's living in Florida, working as an interpreter at a state park, specializing in 18th century Spanish colonial times.

I've added him to my blogroll. The rest of you go over and say Hi!

Redneck Benchrest

After we got finished with the tripod yesterday, we took a few minutes and worked on my redneck benchrest. This is a common automotive scissor jack with a piece of purlin welded on top. I've screwed the whole thing to a piece of scrap 2X6 to give it a steady base.

Now, I'm looking for a piece of high-density foam to glue into the top tray to make a spot for the rifle fore-end. My second son says he knows where he can find some scraps of very tough foam padding, so I'm awaiting his scrounging report.

Is this rest going to be as sturdy, rock-solid and repeatable as a Ransom Master Series rest? No, hell no. But, when I'm through, I'll have under $10.00 tied up in it.


If you do much backyard cooking or campfire cooking, you soon learn that a tripod is a good way to suspend a pot at just the right level above the fire.

However, going to the store and buying a tripod is not the easiest thing to do. I've made lots of serviceable cooking tripods out of saplings in the forest. It doesn't take but a few minutes to axe a few saplings, trim them down and make a good tripod.

However, some of us like something a little more permanent. Readers might remember last February when a snowfall collapsed my back yard gazebo. When I took it apart I realized that there was a lot of usable metal in the form of square tubing that hadn't been destroyed, so I put it back for just a project as this.

Yesterday my son helped me by applying his expertise to the metal. Now, I've got a lightweight, take-down tripod that should be able to handle nearly any pot I put on it.

It stands about four feet tall and is very lightweight. I'd estimate that the whole thing doesn't weigh three pounds. The legs snap into the top-piece and the hook is big enough that I can hang a stirring-spoon along with the chain.

That's good work on the top-assembly. Of course, they reflect Henry Ford in their shop. A customer can get any color they'd like, as long as it's black.

I donated the rest of the usable metal to his shop stock-pile. I'm sure they'll put the decorative panels to good use.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog normally stays in the wash room while Milady and I are at work. I let him out in the afternoon when I get home and put him in the back yard so he can do his business. His first order of business is to make a lap around the back yard so that he can survey his domain.

He's made his lap and everything is okay. He's checked the pool and is headed back from the grass.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shop Time

I spent the morning in my son's shop, helping with some tasks and completing a few tasks of my own.

The shop is the main reason my second son bought the house he bought. It's roughly 40X40 feet and is always filled with projects.

Here, Barrett on the left is laying out a welding project and Matthew is repairing a final drive for a bulldozer. There's a lot of technical knowledge in those two.

In this shot, Barrett is welding light metal with a wire-feed welder.

I left before they finished on the bulldozer. Suffice to say that the job wasn't going as well as they planned.


Finally, it's raining outside. Flat-rock raining. We need it. It's been about three weeks since any measurable rainfall and we were bone dry.

Friday, May 14, 2010


A couple of weeks ago a teacher at the high school told me that she was having trouble getting acts for the annual talent show and asked if I'd do a stand-up routine.

What? Me? Stand-up comedy? She said that she had been laughing at my one-liners for years and that she'd really appreciate it if I'd put something together.

I told her that I'd do what I could and that I'd prefer to close the show. That she could use me after all the kids acts and I'd fill up some time while her judges tallied the results.

So, last Friday night, I put on this act at the end of the high school talent show. The clip is rated PG and is submitted for your enjoyment. The clip is 8 minutes long.

I think it went pretty well, although I'm not going to quit my day job.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Making Do

I like to take common things and use them for purposes that the guys who originally designed them might not have foreseen.

I was browsing around and went over to Sharp Shooter Supply to look at stocks, and lo! What to my wondering eye should appear?

That thing under the front of the rifle is a slightly modified automotive scissor-jack. Mounted on a good piece of 2X6 is ought to make a dandy front rest for bench work.

So, today while I was rumbling around, I found a scrap piece of 2X6, and went to a construction site where I scrounged a piece of purlin to weld to the top to hold the front bag. Then, I went to a pawn shop and paid $9.00 for a used scissor jack.

In a couple of weeks, I'll show y'all my new front rest.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Diversity

Jules Crittenden looks at the Kagan nomination and makes some astute judgments. And no, neither he nor I care not one whit if she's gay. Or not. That isn't the issue.
I’d add that President Obama seems bent on packing the court with people who never had children, and would suggest that if you haven’t had your sleep disturbed for years on end; haven’t subjugated everything in your life to someone else’s interests … as opposed to subjugating everything to your career interests … and never changed a diaper except, say, as a boutique experience; if you haven’t seen your hopes and dreams grow up, charge off in their own direction and start talking back to you; if you haven’t dealt with abuse of authority and human rights issues sometimes encountered in dealings with obtuse school officials, class bullies and town sports leagues; then there’s a high risk your understanding of life may be somewhat … academic.
Yeah, until you've raised a child, (or, in my case, four) you really don't understand life. You can read about it in books, but you certainly don't understand it.

It looks to me like Kagan is just another career climber who has put her whole life into her career and politics. Is that the sort of person that we want on the highest bench in the land?

Dry, dry, dry

According to NOAA, we've had less than a half-inch of rain in the past 30 days and less than 2 inches in the past 60 days.

It's drier than I ever remember it this time of year. I just finished mowing the yard and it was like running a fan over a dust bowl.

Just Damn!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


According to this chart, if Elena Kagan is confirmed, all three women at SCOTUS will be from New York.

I think it's interesting that all the Supreme Court comes from just three law schools. Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. Of the world religions apparent on the bench, the Justices are either Catholic or Jewish.

So much for diversity. I think that he could find a good judge on one of the Southern benches, like Judge Cummings of the 5th US Circuit.

That Mess in the Gulf

This article talks about the political fallout that our President might see if the blown well in the Gulf isn't controlled soon. Then, John Hofmeister, the president of Shell from 2005 till 2008 made the following observation.
The work going on to close the well is taking multiple approaches, and I am aware that BP has sent out a message to all the oil companies asking for help and advice. And I actually sent some people to BP in terms of the spill response cleanup to try to get them aware of a process that has been used in the Arabian Gulf that has not been used in the Gulf of Mexico, and that is to use supertankers, empty supertankers, to suck up the oil off the surface, where they can store the oil, they can treat the water, they can discharge the water and then they can either salvage the oil or destroy it, as the case may be. And I know the mayor of New Orleans and a few other officials are now asking BP about that process as a result of these engineers coming forward from Saudi Aramco. ... That would be the biggest the world has ever known. And they used six supertankers to clean up the oil and were very successful. We'd do well to get supertankers in the Gulf.


My son Joey lives in St. Augustine Florida and works at a park as an interpretive guide. He does all manner of cool things for a living, trying to educate visitors on life in an 18th century Spanish settlement. Like turning a spindle on a foot-powered lathe.

It looks like he's having fun, doesn't it?

Monday, May 10, 2010


All across Tennessee last week, news filtered out of a disastrous flood.
Nashville to the Millington Naval Station near Memphis, all across Tennessee there have been devastating floods. It is, according to the weather service, a thousand-year flood.”
A thousand year flood. That sure beats a hundred year flood, although when you're treading water, it's hard to tell the difference.
"The other reason we haven’t heard so much about it is this: Tennesseans have been busy cleaning up and helping each other, instead of complaining and looting. But people are hurt. Thousands of people are hurt, but they’re going about their business helping themselves and helping others in remarkable and inspiring ways.”
The Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting donations for flood relief.

I don't think I've seen much about this on the news. No victim class to exploit.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog and I were out on the back porch last week and I had made a roll-up from a tortilla, some roast beef and cheese. The dog was watching hoping I'd drop something.

Yeah, I shared with him. Milady wouldn't be home for several hours, so he and I had to fend for ourselves.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Common Sense

This makes a lot of sense. It's green, it's easily burned or disposed of and it soaks up oil like a sponge. The Southeast United States grows tons of this stuff.

I've burned old hay to get it out of a pasture, ready for the new crop in the early summer. These boys have a lot of common sense, and we could probably use their idea in a small scale test, getting the logistics down pat for a large scale test.

Hat tip: Curmudgeonly and Sceptical.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


The roses on my backyard gate are positively exploding. They were in full display for the wedding this past weekend, but I was too busy to try to catch any pictures.

This is a climbing rose from an old vine. If I've got the story right, the original vine belonged to my great-aunt. This vine is very easy to cut and root. Our friend Jerome took a few cuttings and simply stuck them in good soil. All of his cuttings took root and he should be having roses in another year or so.

They're not very big roses, about 3" across in full bloom, but they have a pale pink color that I think is very lovely.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Entry Level Bolt Action Rifles

For those of us who pay attention to these things, there is a whole new niche for bolt action rifles. Some of the major players are making something called the Entry-Level rifle.

Marlin makes a bolt action rifle both in long action (XL7) and short action (XS7). Caliber choices are the usual suspects in both long and short actions. One thing that some folks have noticed is that the .30 caliber barrels are 1 turn in 12 inches, which should be just the ticket for cast bullet shooting. Gunbroker prices are running about $300.00.

Savage has something they call the Edge series. This rifle is made in one action length (long), but you can get it in a variety of calibers, from .223 to .30-06. If I know Savage rifles, the accuracy is going to be excellent. Again, Gunbroker prices seem to be hovering around $250.00 plain and $300.00 with a scope package.

Mossberg has a rifle they call the 4X4. Dave Petzal reviewed it recently. They've also got a rifle they call the ATR. If I know Mossberg, both are rugged and simple to maintain. Street prices on the ATR are running around $300.00 and the 4X4 is going for about $450.00.

Then, of course, Savage has a line of rifles they market under the Stevens brand. These rifles have been sold for several years and they've made a good name for themselves as accurate starter rifles. Street prices on them are running about $300.00 and some should start showing up on pawn shop shelves at a discount as used rifles. The Stevens 200 uses standard Savage parts from the Model 10/110 line and should be easy to rehab if it needs a new barrel. If I were looking for a project gun I might start by buying a beater Stevens that needs a new stock and barrel.

Even if it's May of the year, if you're thinking about a new rifle, now's the time to start planning to buy it. Getting a new rifle early in the summer gives you time to wring it our and learn all about it before the hunting season. If you're buying for a kid or grandkid, they'll need time on the range too.

And, there is a whole new niche of rifle being marketed, with very attractive prices.

Let Her In

Did you read about this little gal? Born Ekaterine Bautista, she was an illegal alien in the United States at the time of the 9/11 attack. She decided to join the army, and did so under her aunt's name, as Rosalia Guerra Morelos. Her aunt is a US citizen and Ekaterine took her aunt's Social Security card, birth certificate, and driver's license to the recruiting station.
As part of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, noncitizens who serve in the military one year during peace time or one day during wartime are eligible to apply for fast-tracked citizenship. In 2002, President George W. Bush issued an executive order and invoked the wartime law as of Sept. 11, 2001.
While serving in Iraq, she earned, among other awards, a Combat Action Badge. Now her citizenship is on hold because she lied to join the military.

In the past, lots of folks lied to join the military. Like Audie Murphy.

I say, let her in. She's earned it.

Trigger Time

According to my blog notes, it's been almost a month since I had any trigger time whatsoever. April 10th was the last time I was on a range.

I've been wondering why I'm so grumpy lately. This weekend, it's trigger time!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Caught him

They caught the sumbitch that set the bomb in Times Square. Turns out, he's Pakistani. Actually, he's a naturalized American citizen, but he was born in Pakistan and was headed back to Dubai when they pulled his sorry butt off the plane.

Of course, Contessa Brewer is bummed that he's not a Tea Party member. Or a Hutaree member. It really saddens her that he is a jihadi.

I'm sorry about that, Contessa, that your world view is so jaded that you can't believe that we're at war with fundamentalist Muslim extremists.

The Hutaree's never did anything but talk, and they're being released on bond pending trial. The Judge doesn't believe they are a threat, unlike, you know, actually trying to blow up Times Square.

So, according to Brewer, she'd rather that our terror come from home-grown terrorists than from foreign born terrorists. Of course, she'd never call the foreign born "terrorists". What an ignorant bitch.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Wall hanger

I was at the pawn shop today making a payment on a layaway and one of the buying staff walked over with a double barreled shotgun. Two barrels, two triggers, two percussion locks. It looked rough. I asked the guy if I could see it and he handed it over. It was made in Spain, 12 gauge, but there was rusty pitting on the outside of the barrel and I didn't look down the tubes.

I told him that unless they were ready to spend some serious refinishing money, it was a wall-hanger.

I hope they didn't pay too much for it.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Great Oil Slick

I've been reading about the BP disaster in the Gulf, and I've been perusing the progressive blogs, who nearly unanimously condemn Senator Landrieu and President Obama about the lack of government response.

I've been condemning Senator Landrieu and President Obama for a long time. That puts me way ahead of the progressive blogs. And, just to include the other nitwits, don't get me started on Senator Vitter, either.

Howeve, I've got to admit that there is a hell of a mess in the Gulf right now. Somebody screwed-up, and it'll probably be a while before we can know who screwed the pooch on this situation.

At the wedding this weekend, I talked with a good friend who works in the Gulf. He's telling me that the stories he's hearing from co-workers don't necessarily agree with what he's hearing on the news. He's heading out tomorrow for another 14-day shift and I'm sure I'll see him while he gets back. If anyone knows what happened, it's the guys who work on the rigs.

However, for all those guys condemning everyone in the area, to include my Senator and President (and I generally abhor them myself), I have to ask a question. Do you drive a car? Use electricity? Warm your house or cool it? How do you propose to do those things without oil? If you need oil, from where do you presume it comes?

I'm jsut asking - - .

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog takes his leisure on the back porch and sometimes we have conversations about things large and small. Like immigration, or the lack of treats.

In this picture the dog is listening carefully while I build a case against doggy treats. I don't think I've impressed him with my arguments.

He realizes it's a purely hypothetical argument as Milady always keeps some doggy treats in the house. There may not be anything for PawPaw to eat, but the dog will have his treats.