Friday, December 31, 2010


Milady and I were talking about cameras yesterday and we remembered the little 110 cameras that were so ubiquitous to our adolescence and young adult-hood and how our grandchildren love their digital cameras.

A friend's child was over last week and complained that her camera wouldn't take photographs and I asked her innocently if she had film in it? She looked at me as if I were daft.

Today I learn that Kodachrome is finished. Done. Kaput. We all grew up with Kodachrome and it's over.
Kodak stopped making Kodachrome in 2009, and stopped making the chemicals needed to process it, a complex process that could never be done in home darkrooms. Kodachrome had been pushed aside by the replacement of home movie cameras by digital camcorders, and the collapse of the color-slide market. Today, in Kansas, the world's last remaining Kodachrome processing lab shuts down. The end. Forever.
Yes, you can still take your film to a one-hour photo processor and have it developed, but Kodachrome is done and that's the end of an era.

And another bit of my childhood passes into obsolescence.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A paring knife?

I've been reading about this high-school senior who was suspended during her senior year for possession of a paring knife at her high school.

A paring knife? Really? That's idiotic. The administrators at that school should be suspended. Indefinitely. Pending termination. If they are unable to distinguish between a real threat and a paring knife in a lunchbox, then they have no business teaching students.

I work in a high school and while we don't want students stabbing or slicing each other, you've got to understand that a sharpened piece of steel is not necessarily a weapon.

Matter of fact, just last month, a parent approached me all in a tizzy. "There's a knife laying on the sidewalk in front of the school."

I didn't want to look at the parent with disbelief and say, "So, who gives a shit?" but that's exactly what I was thinking. I went outside and sure enough, found a knife on the sidewalk. A cheap paring knife. A cheap, dull, paring knife.

I took it into the principal's office and dropped it in the trash can.

Propsed Amendment

I've seen this at various places on the Internet, and the latest place I've seen it is here. Did you know that there are laws that apply to citizens of the United States from which Congress is exempt? This Amendment proposes to eliminate any loophole for congressional membership. The text is simple and easily read.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ."
I think it's a great idea and long overdue. I'm emailing my Congress-critters.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nine Inch Plate

There is an axiom among rifle shooters that you're in good shape if you can hit a 9" paper plate at any range where you might resonably expect to shoot at a deer-sized animal. This comes from the fact that the heart-lung area on a standard whitetail deer is approximately 9" in diameter.

That deer I missed on Monday had me bugged. Fifty yards away, she was quartering away and I missed her. Was it the rifle, or me? Did something change on the rifle? Was the scope jarred off its zero?

There's only one way to answer these questions, and that's to shoot the rifle at some reasonable range and see if you can hit the heart-lung area of a standard deer. So, this morning, I went to my private range and stapled a 9" paper plate to the side of a cardboard box.

The first two shots went about four inches high, which isn't the way I sighted the rifle. It's supposed to be one inch high at 100 yards. I recalled that when I sighted the rifle in the late summer, I had used a bench rest, and I wondered if that would change the way the rifle recoils. In the hunting fields I shoot the rifle resting on the palm of my hand. I'll take a rest when I can, but I want the rifle recoiling from my palm. But, if the rifle is firing high out of my hand, I want to fix that problem, so I took out a coin and adjusted the scope.

To as closely as possible replicate the conditions in the field, I wanted the rifle recoiling out of my palm. I also wanted to increase my heartrate and respiration, so I walked briskly across the pasture, looked at the target and walked back, then leaned against my pickup, rested my elbows on the hood and fired three shots.

Those first three shots appear as the triangle in the center of the plate, about an inch high. So far, so good. I walked toward the target and every few steps I'd kneel and fire a shot as rapidly as the crosshairs appeared to be on the plate. I fired the last shot at 50 yards, as quickly as I could.

All of the shots fell into that 9" paper plate. Evidently, I'm pulling my kneeling shots to the left. After the hunting season I"ll work on that problem. The shots taken with an elbow rest fell into a triangle that measures 1.4 inches, so I feel better about the way the rifle shoots.

This particular rifle will shoot minute-of-angle with the ammo I'm using, when I have a good rest. In the hunting fields I'm likely not going to have a good rest. I'll be out of position, breathing hard, trying to steady the sight picture enough to squeeze off a good shot.

Now the question is answered. Plainly and simply, I missed that deer on Monday morning.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bean Soup

This morning, I told Milady that I wanted to make a bean soup tonight. Then, I left for the deer lease, forgetting to soak my beans. No problem. I stopped at the grocery store and bought canned beans, and my soup is simmering on the stove for tonight's meal.

Bean Soup

1 lb dry white beans (Great Northerns, Navy Beans, White Limas, Butter Beans, it doesn't matter) Or 4 cans of white beans.

4 white potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes.

1 cup ham, chopped.

Salt, pepper.

On the way back from the hunting lease, I stopped at the grocers and picked up some canned beans. (These were Sure-Fine Butter beans, but you can use something else.) Then, at home, I opened the cans and dumped them in a large pot. Peeled four medium white potatoes, then cut them into 1/4 inch cubes. Added those to the pot. Then, I took out the leftover Christmas ham, cubed that also, about a cup in the mix. Added a little salt and pepper, added enough water to cover it, then got it simmering. I'll stir it occasionally until supper, keeping it at a slow simmer and making sure that it doesn't boil dry. Add water as necessary.

This is an old recipe, something that a cook could put together for very little money and feed a crowd of kids. Beans are cheap, as are potatoes. If you were using dry beans, you'd want to put them on to soak early in the morning, then cook most of the afternoon. Using canned beans, I cheated. That little bit of meat is there for flavor. If a down-home cook didn't have any ham, they might have used salt pork, tasso, thin sliced sausage, or a ham hock.

What you want is for the potatoes to cook almost to pieces, and the beans to almost fall apart.

Serve with saltine crackers and iced tea. It's an old favorite for a cold winter's night. And very, very frugal. I bet that I don't have $5.00 in that pot, and I could feed eight or ten people.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I missed a deer today, during a comedy of errors.

I sat in the stand from before daylight till about 10:45, when I looked at my watch. I decided that I had been in the woods long enough and started packing my knapsack. I noticed movement to the front of the stand, and looked up to see a doe step out of the brier patch about twenty yards from the stand.

I've never seen a deer step out there, and I've been hunting that stand for three years. You could have knocked me over with a feather, but she turned her head and looked at the stand and I froze. She turned and started quartering away from me at a slow walk. The pipeline in that spot is about 40 yards wide, so I put down the thermos and reached for my rifle.

I was carrying the Savage 110, in .30-06. It's my favorite and I shoot it a lot, but I don't ever think that I've shot it at a close target, and this one was now about 40 yards from my stand. As I brought the rifle up, she looked over her shoulder at me again. I froze. She turned her head toward the opposing brier patch and I got the rifle to my shoulder. Found her in the scope. Centered the cross-hairs on a spot just behind her shoulder. Squeezed the trigger. Nothing but a little click.

The safety was still on. That rifle carries the Accutrigger and if the trigger is tripped while the safety is on, it disables the rifle. You've got to lift the bolt, reset the trigger, then slide the safety to fire. I did all that as the deer continued her mosey, quartering away. I realigned the cross-hairs on that spot behind the shoulder, fired the rifle and watched her squirt into the brier patch. I heard her busting brush, knew that I couldn't miss a deer that close, and continued closing the stand. I had a deer to process.

After a suitable period to let her lay down and die, I climbed down out of the stand and walked to where I had last seen her. No blood on the ground. I began a thorough search, crisscrossing the area. No blood, no hair. I expanded the search till I had covered the better part of four or five acres. No deer, no blood, no hair. I searched for over an hour, very carefully, criss-crossing the area and came to the simple, unmistakable conclusion that I had missed a deer in a classic nearly broadside shot, at the extreme range of about 50 yards.

Just Damn!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Gumbo

We awoke this morning to a cold, breezy day in Central Louisiana. The thermometer hasn't moved much off 40 degrees for the last two days. It's a wet cold with the rain we got yesterday. The weather-weenies say that the sun is supposed to peek out this afternoon, and I'm seeing a threat of that, but it's still heavy jacket weather outside.

So, after church, I decided to take the turkey from Christmas Eve and boil the carcass. I've finished that and made a broth from the turkey bones, peeled the meat that was leftover, and added salt and pepper. Then, I took out some of the deer sausage that Vance Keene made for me and I've got it sizzling in a large black skillet. When it's done, I'll saute some onions and bell peppers, then make a roux in the same pot.

After it's assembled, I"ll put it on a simmer and let the flavors combine, walking past it once an hour or so, give it a stir and add water as necessary.

Milady is shopping with the daughters. I've told them that when they get through with their plundering, I"ll have a big gumbo ready.

Sunday Morning Dawg

During the Christmas festivities, the dog was surprised to find that Milady had hung a stocking on the fireplace with his name on it, and Santa had gotten the dog a new jacket.

In this photo, he's standing near the table,begging scraps. Of course, he got his ration of ham and turkey. Isn't he stylish in his new jacket?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Rain, blessed rain.

I awoke to a gentle rain on my acre this morning. At 7:00 the cloud cover was so complete that daylight was just a concept. I hope it falls all day.

After the family left last night, Milady and I put the food away, she found fridge containers while I washed dishes. Then we collapsed into bed. Awoke this morning to a joyfully wrecked house, but we'll put that in order as the day goes along.

Under the tree, I found two items of particular interest. A loadbook for the .45-70 cartridge that should supply much informative reading. And a Kuhnhausen manual on the Ruger Single Action Revolver. I'm told that a Kuhnhausen on the SW revolver is forthcoming, simply on backorder.

So, on this grey Christmas morning, I'm sitting in blue jeans and slippers, sipping coffee and watching it rain. Milady has put some Christmas carols on the CD player and I'm a very lucky man.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, a very holy day in the Church.

Milady and I started a tradition shortly after we came to be together. With blended families, grandkids, in-laws, outlaws, and the clan that we've put together, we know that the kids have other obligations on Christmas Day. So, we decreed that our celebration would be held on Christmas Eve and the parents are free on Christmas Day to celebrate with the other side of their respective families. We prepare a huge meal on Christmas Eve and celebrate the season, then after the evening meal we open presents and the rest of the family goes home to their own celebrations.

So, after I finish this cup of coffee, the remainder of the day will be spent in preparation for the evening meal and the festivities that accompany it.

When I was a child, my father would put Christmas records on the stereo. Inevitably, this old favorite would make its way to the stack. It's one of my very favorite Christmas carols and this group does an exceptional job with it.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


This morning I found myself without adult supervision, also without grandkid supervision, so I headed for the deer woods. Got to my stand about 6:00 a.m., poured some coffee and settled in. At daylight, I took out my binoculars and scanned the wood line, just in time to see a doe break from the woods and cross the pipeline in two hops. She was loping through the woods, running away or toward something, but moving at an energetic pace.

I sat in the stand till 11:00. Saw crows and squirrels and cardinals. No more deer. That one pilgrim at 7:00 was it.

I've found lately that I use binoculars more and more. Last year I bought a Nikon Action 10X50 on sale at Academy Sports for about $100.00. Back in the day, when I was commanding tanks for Uncle Sam, I used binocs a lot. If I was in the field, I had a pair of binoculars slung around my neck. The binoculars I used in the Army were all 10X50s, either Bausch and Lomb or Swarovski, depending on who had the contract and what the supply sergeant issued. Granted, the ranges in the Louisiana woods are short, but a good pair of binocs helps see through brush and look into a tree line.

Lots of times I'll be looking down the pipeline and see something way down yonder and ask myself, "What is that?". It's easy to lift the binoculars and identify whatever it might be. If I didn't have my binocs handy I might lift the rifle and use those optics, and that's a bad idea for a lot of reasons.

That Nikon binocualar is an asset to my hunting. Photographers have learned to rely on Nikon optics and the products I've seen recently are convincing me that Nikon has great glass at popular prices. If you don't have a good set of binoculars, you might give the Nikon line a chance. They're PawPaw endorsed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shot for a Doe

Here in Louisiana, we've got an extremely generous deer season. When you buy the license, you get six tags, three for antlered deer and three for antlerless deer.

That buck I shot last week, when I initially saw it, I thought that it was a doe. LDWF defines a legal buck as a deer with visible antler of hardened bony material, broken naturally through the skin. So, if a deer doesn't have antler broken naturally through the skin, it's antlerless regardless of gender and must be tagged as such. When I found that deer it had antler broken naturally through the skin, not much, but antler. As such, I tagged it with an antler tag.

At the ball game last night I was talking with a friend about shooting that little buck, thinking it was a doe, and he laughed. We've got a mutual friend in the Sheriff's Office, we'll call him Johnny who recently shot a deer. I'll tell you the story in his words.

"Johnny and I went hunting last weekend, and we were making an afternoon hunt. Johnny is getting older and needs to get his eyes checked, he doesn't see as good as he used to.

"Anyway, just about dark, I heard Johnny shoot, then another shot and in just a few minutes, Johnny called me to help him track a big doe. So, I grabbed a flashlight and went to help him track. Johnny said that he hit it twice, the first shot knocked it down and when it stood up, he shot it again. Then it jumped into the brush and he couldn't track it.

"We separated at about 30 feet distance and started easing through the brush. In just a minute, I picked up the blood trail and in just a few more minutes I found the deer. I called to Johnny and asked him what he'd shot, and he said a doe. Only problem was that this deer was a pretty 6-point buck. Nice rack. It's a good thing that Johnny had an antler tag in his pocket, or I'd have had to call a game warden."

Sometimes it's easy to shoot a buck for a doe. There's probably a moral there somewhere.

At the Bench

I'm watching grandkids today while the parents work. That's one of the benefits of working in the schools, that I get to be off work while the kids are out of school for the holidays. They don't stay with me every day, but I'm certainly one of the safety valves of child care, and I am a PawPaw, so there are those days when I watch kids. However, those young'uns know what they can get into and what they can't, so I don't have to hover over them like a buzzard.

I decided that it would he a good morning to reload some .357 magnum cartridges, both in 180 and 158 grain loads, so I went out to the bench and spent a half-hour removing clutter, organizing brass, brushing the bench for a clean work surface. I loaded a loading block with 50 pieces of .357 brass and ran them through the full-length sizer. Then, I noticed that I am out of small pistol primers. Howthehell did that happen? Oh, yeah, I loaded a bunch of .38 special this summer and ran out of primers. Was going to order some and forgot. Well, damn.

So, I decided to replenish my .30-06 stock, and took down my Nosler bullet box. It rattled lightly and when I opened it, I saw four bullets. Four. I thought I had better than half a box, then I remembered those .308s I reloaded in October. Well, hell. I'll use those four, that'll be better than nothing.

Then, I got down the jug of Reloder 19 powder. It was light, too. I poured the remnants into a container and realized that I had enough to load the four bullets I had remaining. Dug out the brass, went through the process of trimming, camfering, cleaning primer pockets, ... you know the routine. When I took out the large rifle primers, I realized that I'm down to my last hundred of those too.

I'm not out of ammo, not by a long shot, but my component stocks are depleted. After Christmas, it'll be time to make a primer and powder order. **sigh**

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Music

Another selection from Celtic Woman, this one O Come All Ye Faithful. The more I listen to this group of women, the better I like them.

In two more hours I've got to meet my son for a project, then hie myself over to the high school to work a basketball game. I don't know why those coaches schedule games during the holidays, but there you have it. To put a feather in their caps, they've scheduled three games for tomorrow night. What a joy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reflections on Caliber

I've been thinking a lot about the deer I shot this weekend with my Savage Model 10 in .243 Winchester. The load I used featured a 100 grain bullet traveling at 3100 fps. The kill shot took the deer in the ribs, just behind the shoulder, in a classic perpendicular shot. The animal went about 60 yards from the point of impact and it was piled up dead when I found it. An unprofessional autopsy showed that the bullet blew up on a rib, but cut an artery on the top of the heart. When the bullet blew up, it ruined the shoulder on that side of the animal and didn't penetrate through-and-through.

The bullet is an unknown make. It was sold as a blemished bullet and even with the blem tag, it's shown to be very accurate. It's a cannelured, 100 grain 6mm bullet with a boat tail, of standard lead/gilding metal construction. I suspect that it might be the Hornady #2453, but I can't be certain. I drive that load with Reloder 22 powder at about 3100 fps. In my Savage, it turns in remarkable groups, on the neighborhood of 1/2 inch. At that speed, it's not surprising that the bullet came apart and if the remnants of the bullet hadn't gotten into the artery at the top of the heart, it would certainly have gotten into lungs. However, the bullet didn't pass through the deer and I didn't have a blood trail to track the deer.

I certainly can't complain about the performance of the rifle or the bullet. However, I didn't have a blood trail and without the knowledge I had of how deer travel in those particular woods, I might not have found the deer without a great deal of searching. With a better bullet, perhaps a premium bullet like the Barnes Triple Shock, or the Nosler Partition, I might have had a better blood trail. Maybe not.

The first deer I shot this season, I took with my Savage 110 in .30-06. That load uses Reloder 19 powder to throw a 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet at about 2900 fps. That deer was facing me and I shot her in the brisket, where the neck enters the body. The bullet traversed about two feet of the animal, shattering a lung and breaking her spine when it exited. She was pretty much anchored and didn't move off the pipeline. It's easy to track a deer when they're laying right where you shot them.

In both cases, bullet placement was right where I wanted to shoot the animal. Both bullets got into the vitals, but the larger, heavier bullet penetrated better.

This is no indictment of the .243 Winchester caliber for deer hunting. Another half an inch to the right or left and the bullet would have slipped between the ribs. I found the deer within 60 yards of where I shot it. The load performed admirably. That little bullet got me a lot of venison, and I'm thankful for the experience. However, for the rest of the season, I think I'm going to take the .30-06 to the woods. This summer I'll get a box of Partitions and work up a deer load with those bullets. I'll save those blemished bullets for general shooting, target work, training grandkids and other tasks than deer hunting.

Sunday reflections.

Proper reflection for a Sunday Morning before church.

This is the time of the year for rich chorale music, and the Mormons do that wonderfully.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Sometimes I get a look from the dog that is pure aggravation. I don't know what I was doing to him, but he didn't like it much.

Evidently, he'd had enough of whatever it was I was doing.

Don't piss off the dawg.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Music

We started yesterday with Luciano Pavarotti singing the old classic Ave Maria. Today we continue with another interpretation, this one by Sarah Brightman.

Lovely, just lovely.

Venison II

The Savage Model 10 (.243 Winchester) made venison this morning. At 8:30 a.m. local, a young spike buck stepped out on the pipeline, about 140 yards from the stand. He was facing me, in a down-hill attitude and the first shot went high, hitting him in the left rear ham, knocking him down. I bolted the rifle, thinking that he might get up, and he did. I put the second shot in his ribs and he entered the woods.

My brother-in-law and I had already decided to make sausage from the next deer killed. I have some boston butt roasts in my freezer to add to the venison to make a 50/50 smoked link sausage. We had agreed that we'd filet the next deer we shot and take the meat to the processor, a guy named Keene, who has a shop in Jena, LA.

I waited about 20 minutes after the shot before trying to track the deer. As I was entering the woods, my brother-in-law called on the cell phone, asking if I had shot. I told him I was tracking the deer and expected to find him dead in just a few minutes. Sure enough, down the lane the buck lay about 60 yards from where I shot him. By the time I had walked back to get the Mule, I could see my BIL coming down the pipeline to help load the deer.

He was a smallish buck, probably a yearling, in good fat. A quick examination of the deer showed that the first shot went high, hitting the ham. The second shot in the ribs did the job. The spot where he laid down was covered in arterial blood, but I didn't have an exit wound.

We took him to the camp, skinned him and filet'd him. Brother-in-law has about 30 pounds of young, tender venison on ice and I'll get the pork to him on Monday. Sometime about Christmas, he and I should split about 50 pounds of venison sausage.

I've already validated the tag with the Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries. Now, it's time for a shower.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday afternoon

A dry front pushed through last night, dropping temps into the mid 40s. Accuweather is calling is calling for a low of 35 tonight with a chance of rain and partly cloudy for tomorrow.

I'll be on my deer stand before daylight. For tonight, though, I think that a good chicken noodle soup is in order. With a big glass of iced tea.

Tonght begins the Christmas Season for me, so lets begin with the incomparable Luciano Pavarotti.


A Three-Fer

It seems that three goblins tried to rob a jewelry store in Houston, TX and got more than they bargained for.
HOUSTON — A jewelry store owner shot and killed three armed men who tried to rob his business, police said.

Two men were in an east Houston jewelry store Thursday afternoon pretending to be customers when a third man entered the store and stated, "This is a robbery," Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said.

All three men pulled out pistols, tied up the owner's wife and took her to a back room, Smith said.

As they were trying to tie up the store owner, the 52-year-old took out a handgun from his waistband and fatally shot one of the suspects, Smith said. He then grabbed a shotgun and shot and killed the two other suspects in the ensuring gunbattle, Smith said.
He used both a handgun and a shotgun to defend his life and his wife. From all accounts, it was quite a gun battle. According to the homicide detective, a guy named Waters:
"We've got bullet fragments all over the place, casings all over the place, shotgun slugs all over the place, so it's really hard to determine at this point how many rounds were actually fired — but quite a few," Waters added.
The shopkeeper was using slugs? That'll let a lot of blood out. It seems that our good shopkeeper was wounded in the shoulder but didn't realize it until he was trying to untie his wife.

Evidently, there's a fourth suspect on the loose, a reported getaway driver. Police are looking for him.

I'd like to buy that shopkeeper a beer.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not a clue

I was driving home this afternoon and saw four (4) patrol vehicles from my agency outside a house close to the main highway. And a fire truck, along with an ambulance. I switched my police radio over to scan all available frequencies and heard nothing of interest as I continued on my merry journey home.

I'll be asked tomorrow what was happening, just a mile from my house and I will honestly say that I don't know. Not a clue. They didn't call me, I didn't get in the way. If someone had come up on frequency asking for any available unit, I would have pulled right up on to the front porch. They didn't so I went on home.

With almost 600 sworn officers in this department, it's impossible to know everything that is going on at any given time. Yet, folks will ask me, and I'll tell them, Not A Clue. You're going to have to read the newspaper.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don't ask

I see that the House voted today to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Clinton era ban on determining a military recruit's sexual orientation. Good, it's about time. Hopefully the Senate will soon follow and we can put an end to this nonsense.

I was a serving Army Reserve officer when President Clinton came out with this policy and even then I thought it was a side-step away from the real problem. I've served with soldiers, both male and female that I was 98% certain were gay and it didn't color my opinion of them in the least. Soldiering is a results-oriented career and as long as the soldier met qualifications and took care of his or her duty, I damn sure didn't ask. I'm sure, statistically, that I deployed gay soldiers to the Middle East during Desert Storm. I'm also sure that they served honorably.

I had more problems with heterosexual soldiers and the problems associated with spouses and deployments than I ever had with gay soldiers. There are a number of things that might make one unsuitable for military service, but being gay in-and-of itself isn't one of them. If, heaven forbid, a guy starts flaming in formation, or mincing across the company area, there are other ways to deal with that, ways that have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Officers will be tested and NCOs will have to lead. That has always been the leadership challenge and it is what we're paid for. A professional military can handle this challenge without adversely affecting readiness. It's simply a matter of doing the right thing.

I'm glad that this is making its way through the Congress and I hope like hell our President signs it. The last thing the military needs is for it to be decided in the Courts. It's time for Congress and our President to show backbone and put an end to this foolishness.

Notes on the News

It's been a busy couple of days, and I haven't even thought about this blog. However, did you read about the guy who held up the Bellagio Casino in Vegas. He walked over to the craps table with a pistol and made off with 1.5 million in chips. What was the guy thinking? It's not like that's real money. And if he shows up at the cashier's cage with a stack of $25,000 chips, the casino is bound to ask questions.

Next we read about a shooting at a Florida School Board Meeting. It seems that the guy was upset about something, pulled a pistol and threatened the School Board. After the shooter got off several shots, the school security chief shot the guy and the shooter finished the incident by killing himself.

This guy fits the pattern for a school shooter. The pattern is normally that a shooter will provoke the helpless until confronted by an armed adversary. Once an armed adversary shows up, the shooter normally commits suicide. That's why we're trained to aggressively approach an active shooter and take him under fire as soon as possible. It's the safest way to end the conflict.

In other news, I'm going hunting this weekend even if it hair-lips every cow in Texas. I've been too long away from the lease and I'm starting to get twitchy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Swapping a Handi

My son asked if I'd loan him a rifle for a few months, and of course, I'm happy to do so. He's back in Louisiana now and doesn't want to lug his Model 10 FLP through the woods. It happens that I've got a Handi-Rifle in .308 Winchester, his favorite caliber. He's left-handed, so with the Handi Rifle he won't have to worry about being on the wrong side of the rifle.

After church, I took out the Handi and changed the hammer spur from the right side to the left, then swapped over the Allen ammo holder to the left side of the stock. Total time to convert a Handi-Rifle from right hand to left, about 10 minutes.

I'll also include a box of ammo for the rifle, consisting of Reloder 15 powder and the 150 grain Nosler Ballistic-Tip bullet. That little rifle launches that load at about 2725 fps and should be good for anything the finds in the Central Louisiana woods.


It seems that there are 270 million privately owned firearms in the United States, which comes to about 0.9 firearms per each American.

We've got to do our part to increase this proportion. Take a new shooter to the range, get involved in hunter safety education, teach your kids to shoot and help them to learn about the American tradition of firearms ownership and use. The shooting sports are not uniquely American, but we hold the bright candle of firearms ownership. We've to to pass it along to the younger generation so that the beacon of Liberty will burn brightly.

As Patrick Henry so famously said: The great object is that every man be armed. Do your part to make that a reality.

Sunday Morning Dawg

I am told that in the life of a canine pack, it is the pack leaders responsibility to insure that all the members of the pack are fed, and more particularly to insure that everyone gets a portion of the choice bits.

In this household, Milady is the Leader of the Pack. When Milady seeks a snack, the dog is nearby, asserting his right to a portion of the choice bits. Just yesterday, Milady professed a yearning for crackers and potted meat and the dog likewise asserted his claim.

He's the Waiting for Snacks, Sunday Morning Dawg.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Odd Price Point

Reading Say Uncle again, we come to a website that talks about entry-level bolt action rifles. The article set the price point at under $370.00, which is odd, but illustrative of how inexpensively the novice can purchase a new-in-box hunting rifle these days.

Frequent readers will know that I'm a big fan of Savage rifles, and true to form, the article lists the Savage Axis as the best entry level hunting rifle. My family has four Savage rifles in the battery. Two heavy barrel rifles and two sporter weight. They all turn in MOA accuracy with good ammunition.

My son and I were talking the other night about the quest for accuracy. We're not benchrest shooters, but we appreciate an accurate rifle, and we understand that what we consider accurate a dedicated target shooter might consider lousy accuracy. Still, the vital area of a whitetail deer will be about 9" in diameter and that is what most riflemen aspire to hit. Entry level rifles are certainly capable of this level of accuracy. Many of them are much better.

Rifles are getting better, and less expensive. I admit that I haven't handled the Marlin, Remington, or Mossberg entry rifles, but when they start showing up in the pawn shop racks, I may be sorely tempted. I've got a lot of grandsons that are going to need rifles and some of these are keepers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday afternoon

Is it Friday already? I guess it is.

Gerry asks in comments:
Wasn't there a Japanese General or some such who said that invading the USA was stupid and suicidal because there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass?
Yeah, Gerry, that quote is attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, although serious scholars believe that it is erroneously attributed. Yamamoto was the Commander in Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy and was one of the main architects of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was also a graduate of Harvard University and the US Naval War College. Yamamoto had spent a considerable amount of time in the United States and understood our military capacity. Yamamoto was killed in 1943 near the Solomon Islands when his transport plane was ambushed by P-38 fighter planes. His death was a serious blow to Japanese morale at the time.

There's also no evidence that he made the statement that "I fear that all we've done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve." It's a great line, but it has no citation except the movie Tora, Tora, Tora.

Yamamoto is quoted as saying "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success."

Yamamoto was an interesting guy and the question is if he had lived, would he have counseled to let the war continue when it was apparent that Japan would lose? We'll never know.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Largest Army

Uncle points me to a link over at the Federalist Papers and he talks about our deer hunting habits.
The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters. - -But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan’s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia, and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.
And he's right, you know. America has a lot of folks who understand guns, and who understand, at least in part, their local woods.
For millenia, philosophers have pondered how one can maintain a well-armed population that can fend off all attackers, while simultaneously maintaining ordered governance. In America, we’ve fulfilled this dream, and we’ve done it so well and so effortlessly that no one seems to have noticed.
And he's right. The United States, once you get out of the cities, is an armed nation, and for the most part, the news is very benign.

Years ago, in Kentucky, we conducted a map exercise at the Armor School. The problem was that somehow, a division of Soviet Armor had been inserted near Frankfort, KY, and were advancing on the Bullion Depository. With the assets we had available at Knox and those assets we could rapidly get as replacements, we were having trouble holding off the Soviet horde. Then, someone started factoring in all the hillbillies with deer rifles and started figuring a realistic attrition rate for the invaders. Inside of 50 miles, we had attrited them to the point where they were no longer a viable fighting force.

As long as the deer hunters are out there, America will never be conquered by force of arms. It's all those other ways to conquer minds that scare me.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Outdoor Writing

If you're anything like me, you love the old outdoor writers. I grew up reading Skeeter Skelton, Jack O'Connor, Nash Buckingham and Gene Hill. I also like other writers like Peter Capstick and ... well, the list goes on and on.

I was recently pointed to one heck of a trove of old outdoor writing, hosted at a place called They've probably got a hundred different articles and books linked as archives and the reading list is extensive. I'm currently reading The Man Eaters of Tsavo, a book written in 1907 by Lieutenant Colonel J.H. Patterson. If you don't know the story, it's about a young engineer who went to Africa in the latter part of the 19th Century to help build a railroad from Tsavo to Nairobi, and the work was halted by a pair of man-eating lions who feasted on the imported labor. The book was digitized by Microsoft for the University of California. Helluva story.

At any rate, Mostly Cajun pointed me to the link, for which I am eternally grateful. This archive will encompass my reading list for the next year or so. It's great stuff.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


I've been moving all afternoon. Not for myself, PawPaw and Milady are happily ensconced in our home, but Milady's son is in the midst of a move, and PawPaw has a pickup truck, so Sunday was spent hauling furniture from one house to the other.

Youngest son, Joey, is due back in Louisiana later this week. With a U-Haul truck. I'll probably get involved in that exercise. Then, elder son, Barrett is moving from his all-too-small trailer into a house that fits his family much better. And is literally one minute from his job. The school for his kids is four blocks from the house, and they could walk, except for one 4-lane highway. Still, everything is a lot closer and more convenient. If he decides to walk to work it'll take him ten minutes.

His scheduled moving day is next Saturday and PawPaw will be present with the truck and a flat-bed utility trailer. We're going to get this done, and in a timely manner.

Sunday Morning Dawg

What is it with Shi-Tzus and dryer sheets. The dog loves them, and my sister's dogs love them too. When we're doing laundry, he's likely to filch the dryer sheet from the basket.

We pulled his sweater off to wash it, and he sure looks skinny without it. But, he managed to score a dryer sheet. Once a week or so, I'll start collecting them, else the house would be ankle deep in dryer sheets. He loves them.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Hunting with Zach

I went to the lease this morning, accompanied by a grandson, Zachary, eight years old. PawPaw had lots of geedunk in the hunting bag, to include trail mix and beef jerky. Zach brought along something he calls a Nintendo DSI, which is a neat little device that runs on batteries and lets him play video games when he's bored.

Here's a photo of Zachary in the deer stand, munching on some beef jerky.

We had been sitting in the stand for several hours and he needed to stand up. My stand is a typical type for these woods, a 6' x 4' box stand, cobbled together from 2X2s and plywood. There's easily room for two people in the stand and it's a pretty common type of stand for these woods.

Here's the view out the window, looking down the pipeline. My corn feeder is in the opposite treeline, a measured 120 yards from the stand. The top of the hill is 200 yards.

It's one of my favorite places in the whole world.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Police Work 101

In police work, it's important to know when you've entered a hazardous area. One of the most common hazard areas that we find in law enforcement these days is a home lab where nitwits cook crystal methamphetamine, so it's important that we can identity a meth lab.

There will be a pop quiz tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


What does NOPD stand for? Not Our Problem, Dude!

That's been a law-enforcement joke for years, but now it looks like the chief of the New Orleans Police Department is faced with a quandary. What might one do with all those lying cops?
Deciding what to do with dishonest cops ought to be an easy decision, but not here. If Chief Ronal Serpas fired every liar in his department, we'd either have to cancel Mardi Gras or bring in state police to keep order.
And that's just exactly what he needs to do. If the public can't trust the police to tell the whole truth every time, then the Chief needs to run their butts up the road.

I've been a police officer for thirty years, and I've always know that a lie would get me fired. Possibly prosecuted. The New Orleans Police Department should learn the same lesson.