Thursday, April 30, 2015

That Autistic Cat

We've got a cat that Milady has decided is autistic.  Milady has long experience as a registered nurse in the field of developmental disability and she thinks it's karma that her animals have developmental disabilities.  She's convinced that the dawg is mildly retarded, and the cat is autistic.  The cat doesn't like human contact, preferring to hide under the deck when strangers are about, and only comes out when Milady and I are around.  Of course, she's been "fixed", so there is no danger of kittens.

The cat likes to drink out of the pool.  I managed to snap a photo of her earlier this week.

That's the end of the pool where the fresh water flows from the pump, and cats like flowing water, so that's where she drinks.  After I snapped this photo, she did her trick to get her fresh water.

If someone bumped her in the butt, that would be a terrible tragedy, but she won't let anyone et that close to her.  She's a strange cat, but we like having her around.  She keeps the mice nervous.

Bandit Shooting Supplies

When we were in Fort Worth earlier this month, the ammo was supplied by the host and they featured Bandit Shooting Supplies wax bullets.

I needed some brass, and we're going through bullets at a pretty good clip, so when we got home from Fort Worth, I ordered some of each.  Bandit is a small company, as most of the companies are that supply this game.  A small cottage industry has grown up around Cowboy Fast Draw, supplying the various accessories that we need to play our game.

That's 500 bullets and 50 rounds of brass.  A quick examination of the brass shows that it's standard Starline .45 Colt brass, drilled to accomodate the shotgun (209) primers that we use propel the wax bullets.  The official CFDA brass is also Starline brass, but it appears that their primer pockets are swaged, rather than cut.  However, Starline seems to be under some sort of exclusive agreement with CFDA for that brass, and if we want alternatives, we have to work with what we have.

The Bandit brass seems to be cleanly cut, so the merchant has invested in a drill press and some fairly good bits.  The CFDA brass is priced at 80 cents per, and the Bandit brass comes in at 68 cents per.  MidwayUSA sells Starline .45 Colt brass for $25.00/per 100, which comes to 25 cents apiece, so after Bandit re-cuts the primer pocket that doesn't give him a huge profit.

We'll give them a try and see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday What-Not

I see that it's Wednesday and I didn't post anything yesterday, so let's get caught up.

Like many of you, I've been watching the rioting in Baltimore.  And the collected idiocy of the major players.  Their mayor is a ditz.  The president, of course, wants to blame it on Republicans.  I note with some irony, that the state itself is a deep-blue enclave of Democrat politicos, and the city itself has a black mayor, a black chief of police, and the majority of the police force is black.  It's hard to blame this one on race.  It seems to me that Baltimore, like many other cities around the country is simply being, (in the words of our president) becoming fundamentally transformed.  The Wall Street Jounal has an excellent piece on how the Democratic model has failed our cities.

In Louisiana news, it seems that a prominent first-round draft pick is a person of interest in the murder of a Baton Rouge woman.  If he's found culpable, I'll bet that his football career is over.

In even more local news, Milady and I are planning a road trip this weekend.  We're leaving Friday morning, heading north to Missouri for a family wedding.  We'll be back Sunday evening, so that I can be at work on Monday morning.  Of course, the route takes us through Sprinfield, and we all know abou the quaint little retail shop in Springfield. I may have to stop in and see if they're running any sales.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Collecting Thoughts - CFDA

Work with me here for a minute.  Take your gaze off the computer and look at something across the room.  Point your finger at it.  Maybe a light switch, or the dog, or a stop sign across the street.  Simple, isn't it?  You've been pointing at things all your life.

The earliest guns had no sights.  None whatsoever.  You pointed the barrel at whatever you wanted to hit, and lit it off.  Hitting was mainly an attribute of luck.  Immediately, we decided that wasn't worth a crap, and we started putting sights on guns.  At first, those sights were relatively crude, but they increased the probability of hitting by an order of magnitude.  As times progressed, the sights got better and better and today we're blessed with fine, accurate firearms sporting adjustable sights, and even optical wonders that increase our hit probability to the point where hitting a reasonable target is not a matter of art, but a matter of science.

I've been shooting all my life and reloading for several decades.  I consider myself a fairly good shot, and a better than average handloader. I've studied the practice and I've followed the procedures and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the shooting disciplines.  I'm not world-class by any means, but I have won the odd trophy when the other shooters were somewhere else, doing something else.

This past February, a couple of cousins started talking to me about the Cowboy Fast Draw game. I went out and tried it, and immediately got hooked.  We use Colt clones or Ruger Vaqueros, in .45 Colt,  and while other replicas are allowed, it's safe to say that those two revolvers dominate the game.  Both of those are fixed-sight single action revolvers like the handguns most prevalent in the 1880s.  The holsters are from the time period, and the practitioners dress in garb from the era (or modern Working Cowboy, ie, boots, trousers, long-sleeved shirts, and hats).  We use wax bullets and primer loads.

The object of the game is to draw your revolver, cock it and hit a 24" target at 21 feet.   Sounds easy, right?  Sure it is.  That's the beauty of the game.  The guy next to you on the line is trying to hit that target too, and faster than you, so timers are used to measure the time, down to the thousandth of a second.  It's fast, but only hits count, because that timer is hooked to the target and doesn't stop until a bullet strikes it.

This is reactive shooting, you're drawing and firing and trying to hit a 24" target 21 feet away.  We're not using the sights, we're pointing the revolver, and you'd think it would be easy, but it's not.  I've been shooting handguns for almost 40 years, I understand the Weaver, and the Isosceles, and the flash sight picture.  I've been running and gunning my whole life and none of that is helping me with this game.

I've been handloading for several decades, and that doesn't help with this game, except that I understand AVG, ES and SD.  Even though we're using shotgun primers and wax bullets, some of that knowledge should be helpful.  And, we're not using the sights, we're pointing the revolver, but knowing where the gun is shooting the bullets (POI) should be a big help.  Like other shooting games, you can't miss fast enough to win.  Only hits count, so you've got to know where your gun is shooting.

The one way to absolutely know that is to use the device that the manufacturer so thoughtfully included on the gun.  We might not use them in competition, but it's certainly useful to know where the gun is shooting relative to the sights.  So, yessterday afternoon, Milady and I broke out the chronograph to learn a little about the science of our new game.  What we found was illuminating.

For the record, both Milady and I shoot Ruger Vaqueros with the 4.62" barrel.  Our ammo is standard CFDA brass, with Deadeye EZ Loader wax bullets powered by Rio 209 primers.  A series of shots across the chronograph promptly showed me that the muzzle velocity of that wax pill is 609.1 fps avg, with an SD of 20.5 fps.  It's a mild load with very little report or recoil.  Earlier tests in still air showed that the little bullet would travel less than 40 yards and it runs out of momentum quickly.

I was using the sights to get the bullet across the chronograph, and a look at the target showed me something really interesting.  Be reminded that I was aiming at that top bullet strike from another contest, and look where my shots went.

They're all down in te lower left quadrant of that big old target, at about 7:00.  That tells me a lot, and it tells me why I've been missing that big ol' 24" circle.  My gun shoots low, way low, and if I want a better opportunity to hit the target at speed, I'd better be pointing at the upper right of the target, about 1:00.  That's good information.  If the gun is shooting at the lower left quadrant of the target, I don't need to handicap myself by pointing at the center of the target.

Milady was sitting, watching all this, and she wanted to know where her gun was shooting, so we loaded some ammo, and let her fly.

Not as low, but certainly off to the left.  I can't account for the two fliers (and neither can she) but it looks as if her revolver is shooting a little low and to the left.  We can account for this with any number of variables, but if she wants to hit the target consistently, this is good information.

She and I are both neophytes at this game, and we'll do a lot more practicing, thinking, refining our technique, but we've got a good basis now, and we've learned a few things in an hour of slow shooting, using sights, in the backyard.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's been a busy weekend, with the club shoot, and a birthday party, and opening the pool.  We had grandkids spend the night, and this morning, Zachary reminded me that we didn't post a Sunday Dawg.  Well!  We've got to do better than that, so I told him to grab the pup while I snapped a shot.

Zachary and the dawg on a foggy Sunday morning.  We'll feed him some breakfast soon and get ready for church.  After church, we're going to cook burgers on the pit and let the kids swim for a while, if they can stand the frigid waters.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Sloth

This morning dawned rainy on my acre.  Milady and I are barely moving around, even though we've got a busy afternoon planned.  We're going to the club shoot at 1:00 and to a grandkid's birthday party at 4:00.  Tomorrow, of course, we'll feed the crew lunch and this is the weekend that the pool traditionally opens.

Several years ago, Milady planted a rose bush opposite the pool, and it seems to like it there.  Last week there were a few blooms, but yesterday we noticed that it has fully bloomed.  We're not sure what variety of rose it is.  It's in the Knockout family, but the precise variety is lost to the ages.

It seems to be happy over there.  It has certainly loaded itself with blooms.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Finally Friday

It looks like I'm way behind the power curve on this, but I recently got this little jewel in my inbox.  A Southwest Airline attendant has put her own spin on the obligatory safety briefing, and it's priceless.

Over 2.1 million views, and she's a celebrity.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tragedy In Urania

Urania, a little town in LaSalle Parish, LA was the scene of a tragedy yesterday that was compounded today.
Lasalle Parish Sheriff Scott Franklin told us that deputies were making a welfare check on 76-year-old Erma Cotton when they found her body inside her home on Pentecostal Church Road Wednesday morning. Franklin said Cotton died of apparent gunshot wounds.
They later learned that 19-year-old Kylie Duncan was missing from an area nearby.
Deputies began a search for Duncan. Her body was discovered Thursday afternoon.
According to our sister station KNOE, Duncan was pregnant at the time of her murder. She was reportedly at the adjacent property that day working to have the electricity turned on, when she was reported missing.
Sheriff Franklin stated, "Ms. Kelley King Duncan was on her property adjacent to Ms. Cotton's property about the same time we are thinking something happened to Ms. Cotton."
Franklin says Duncan's body was found within a four mile radius of that home.
The young lady is known to our family, being the step-sister of my stepson.  Our prayers and thoughts are with the King family tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Purple Martins are a southern tradition.  They come north from Mexico each year and come to Louisiana (and many other states) in the spring.  My father and grandfather always had Martin houses, believing that they ate their weight in mosquitoes every day.  There's some question about that, but the fact remains that Martins are graceful fliers, they sing a beautiful song, and they're fun to watch.

Daddy always had a Martin house, but he didn't have much luck with the last one he erected.  He thought that the Martins didn't like it, but I always thought that it was sited wrong, and it wasn't the house, it was the siting.  When Dad died, the Martin house stayed where he put it, till last year, when Mom moved and gave me the Martin house.  I set it up in a corner of the yard, and while te birds inspected it, they never really moved in.  They're seasonal migrants, and had already made their nests when I put the house in the corner of the yard.  Still, I figured they'd remember where I put it, and sure enough, this afternoon I heard the song of a Purple Martin.

That's not a great shot, but there's  bird sitting on that perch, so I moved around to get a better view, and looky what I found.

That's a pair of Purple Martins, using the old man's house.  I'm very pleased that the birds like the accommodations, and I hope that they raise a happy family.  Dad would be pleased.

Debating the Economics of Immigration

It seems that there is a debate happening over at National Review.  I'll give you a couple of links, but you're welcome to Google it yourself and draw your own conclusions.  I'm no economist, but I studied economics in both the undergraduate and graduate school.  It's a hard science (Economics is where I learned calculus), but it has soft science and policy implications at all levels of government.

Economics seems intuitive, but it's not.  And the debate over immigration is one that has both economic and social policy implications.  Especially when a large majority of those immigrants can't speak the language, or don't have hard skills.  What do we do with the po'folks?  But in a larger sense, is anyone now in this country truly poor?  That's an economic question that is hard to answer, simply because we don't have a true standard by which to judge policy.  From one of the links above:
Incidentally, if we’re going to use true purchasing power as our standard, then can we all quit grinding about income stagnation? The real-world purchasing power of a bottom-third American in 2015 is so radically different from that of a bottom-third American in 1975 that we don’t even have a really good way to express it economically. What kind of computer or mobile phone did the median American have in 1980? What was his car like, or his house?
Good questions, both.  Computers and cell phones were not widely available in 1980.  Many of us had never heard of them, and the price for the very early models was prohibitive at median income levels.  Without a meaningful basis of measurement, we have no basis for comparison, so it's important not only to understand the question, but to craft the question in such a way that it can be answered meaningfully.  Sometimes, it's best to get back to the basics.
On the other hand, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the past several years in poor and struggling parts of the country—Appalachia, Detroit, interior California, East St. Louis—and I have not once thought to myself: “You know what this place really needs? More poor people!” 
That's a great point, but Mr Williamson makes a better point in the following paragraph.
Call me parochial, but my economic model defines a poor society as a society that has lots of poor people in it.
Heh!  Indeed.  It's important to define the terms.  If you live in a house with central heat and air conditioning, and have a cell phone, you're head and shoulders over what I grew up with in a middle class neighborhood in the '60s and '70s.  I'm wondering if there are truly any poor folks in the US, and if so, how do we measure their poverty?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

(Non) Police Shooting du jour

It seems that there is a video floating around the internet, where a police officer,  New Richmond, Ohio officer Kidder holds his fire while a suspect charges him, asks to be shot, and crossess all the red lines like putting his hands in his pockets and reaching into his waistband.  Officer Kidder is wearing a body camera that he purchased, and it's apparent that he wants to be absolutely sure that he's in danger before he opens fire.

This was not some random traffic stop.  The suspect was wanted for murder, and from what I've read, Officer Kidder had been warned that the suspect might be armed, and also that the suspect might try to commit suicide by cop.  The usual pundits are commenting on this video, saying (among other things) that Officer Kidder is a hero who showed remarkable restraint in dealing with this suspect.  Other pundits are saying that the only reason that the suspect is alive is because he is not black.

Watch for yourself.

Jazz Shaw, over at Hot Air, makes the argument that Officer Kidder should have shot the suspect, and I agree that there are good reasons in the video to argue that.  I wasn't  there, and I can't put myself in Kidder's mind.  Officer Kidder did what he had to do, and it all worked out.  I don't know what I might have done in the situation, but I suspect that when the goblin reached into his waistband there would have been gunfire.  But, Shaw makes the argument that good police officers are putting themselves in harm's way by second-guessing their own training and how a lethal response might be seen in the media.

The Narrative Journalism Brigade has jumped all over this story to reinforce the message they’ve been preaching for at least the last year. They finally found one good cop who isn’t a murderous maniac. The story they want to portray is being heard loud and clear by not only law enforcement officers, but criminals as well. This was the right thing to do. So the next time an officer finds themselves in a split-second, life or death situation, they may pause with this fairy tale in the back of their minds and one more blue life is lost. And criminals, knowing that the police are being conditioned to not defend themselves, will be thinking it might just be worth taking the shot and making a bid for freedom.
If Kidder had shot Wilcox there isn’t a jury in the land that would have convicted him, though he would still be pulled out of service during the automatic investigation. (And if Wilcox had been black there would have been marches taking place and Al Sharpton would already be on the scene in Kentucky.) If Kidder had died, well… we’d probably never have heard about the story in the national press. But as it turned out, this is a big win for the anti-cop forces in the media and the social justice movement who want to portray law enforcement as the bad guys. If this sort of response becomes the norm in America, we’re going to see a lot more dead cops and there are plenty of activists out there who won’t be shedding any tears over that. 
There's a reason that police officers are trained to handle violent encounters the way we're trained. It's the best way to protect the public and ourselves from violent predators.  If police officers begin second-guessing themselves because of how the media portrays us, we put ourselves at risk.  Fortunately for Kidder, and the suspect, it worked out, but I might have handled the situation a little differently.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday Shooting

Another picture of shooting in the back yard.    We're continuing to improve the back yard cowboy range, a little at a time.  This week we added a timer, which doesn't record hits, but records the time of the report.  (Yep, there's an app for that.)  We have to visually record hits, but until we get our electronics, we'll make do.

Here, we have grandson Michael giving it a try.  It's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and I can't wait until we can afford to have a full two-lane setup.  Milady and I enjoy it, the kids enjoy it, and the grandkids think that it's a ball.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Soldier Down

We learn this morning that a soldier of the storied 82d Airborne division has died during a training exercise at Fort Polk.
A news release from the soldier's division, the North Carolina-based 82nd Airborne, says Pvt. Joshua D. Phillips, 19, of Las Vegas, Nevada, died during the exercise Thursday.
Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson says Phillips died while parachuting during an exercise to simulate the seizure of an airstrip. The cause is under investigation and she couldn't elaborate.
Jumping out of airplanes is dangerous, even during training exercises.  I'm sure that Pvt Phillips was a noble warrior, a paragon of virtue, and a joy to his family and friends.  Even if I never knew him, I mourn for him.  Rest in peace, Pvt Philips, and repose in the thanks of a grateful nation.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's been raining all week, and the dog's been staying on the porch. It looks like it's going to "fair-off" later today, and be sunny for most of the week, but the dog isn't much of a weather man.  He takes it as he comes and right now he's hanging close to Milady.

Can't say as I blame him much.  I like hanging out with Milady, too.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Product Review. Inexpensive Holster Belt

Spmetimes we stumble upon a product that is just exactly what it seems, and is so perfect for the intended use that we forget to tell everyone about it.  It just makes sense.

We're highlighting the Uncle Mike's Sidekick Belt today.  It's a plain, nylon belt, infinitely adjustable, and available for about $10.00 everywhere.  You probably have one in your bag, or in a closet somewhere.  Midway has them.  So does Amazon.  You can normally find them in your local big-box store.

When Milady and I started looking at Cowboy Fast Draw, we weren't sure if we would adopt the game or not, but once we got to the range, and watched for a while, someone invited us to shoot.  They took out one of these little belts, slid a holster on it, and invited us to try.  And that's the benefit of this belt.  It's infinitely adjustable out to 50 inches, so whether you're a petite lady or a big ol' buckaroo, this belt will fit you.  No, it's not period-correct, but it is virtually indestructible, infinitely adjustable, durable, and inexpensive.  Very inexpensive.

I've had one of these for several years, and it's held up well, even toting my big Ruger Super Blackhawk across the deer lease.  It's inexpensive enough that if it gets damaged, you don't feel like you've lost anything, but I've never managed to break one.

If you're looking for an inexpensive holster belt, one that is not pretentious, will hold your pistol on your hip, and is very, very inexpensive, give the Uncle Mike's Sidekick a chance.  It's been a great gun belt for a long, long time.  Don't be afraid of the tiny cost.  Sometimes, you get more than you pay for, and this belt has the PawPaw seal of approval.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Feel-Good Friday Amber Alert

An Amber Alert is designed to let people know that a child is missing or abducted, and it proved essential in a kidnapping case in Washington.  This guy's sister asked him to watch a child overnight, and when he got up the next morning, saw an Amber Alert about the child sleeping in his bed.
"I'm eating my breakfast, I'm checking my Facebook, all of a sudden I see this Amber Alert for this child," Tuong told the station. "And it looks like this child in my bed, and I'm like, 'Oh my God! What's going on?'
Tuong did the right thing, called the police, and the child was found safe.  Tuong's sister is in the slammer, and things are okay for the child.

That's your feel-good story for Friday, and now I'm going to take off these boots and pour myself a dring.  Well done, Mr Tuong!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

White Lithium Grease

My granddad always kept a tube of white lithium grease in his shop, for lubricating fine mechanisms.  In the forty years I hung out in his shop, I doubt he ever used more than four or five ounces of that grease.  He called it White Grease, and he guarded it jealously.  As it turns out, it's actually a soap, although I don't think I'll be using it to wash myhands.

When I set up my shop, I bought a small tube at an auto parts store and I used it sparingly when a fine grease was required.  I keep it in a special drawer, I bring it out when I need it, but over the last 20 years I've only used three 1.5 oz tubes.

Then I got into Cowboy Fast Draw, and I learned that Cowboy shooters use white lithium grease, not by the ounce, but by the pound.  We apply it with rollers to our targets.  It gives a nice white aiming spot, it lubricates the targets and keeps them from rusting, and it gives an immediate visual indication when the bullet hits the target.  You can see clearly where the bullet struck the steel.  So, I started casting about for a suitable supply.

It seems that WD40 makes a spray can with white lithium grease in it.  I bought a can, and I'm not impressed with it for coating a target.  It's simply too thin.  So, I'll keep that can for other uses.  But I went to Home Depot today after work, and I found two big tubes of white lithium on aisle 9, down by the plumbing supplies.

Those two tubes should last me for a while.  It seems to be the cat's meow for coating targets.  We'll see when it dries out enough to do some shooting.


It rained today in Alexandria, LA.  Overpasses closed due to runoff, several major roads closed because the storm drains have overflowed.  It's as bad in Alexandria as I've seen it for awhile.  By that, I mean almost 40 years.

I went to Academy Sporting Goods today after work, when the bottom fell out, and I saw stranded cars, flooded neighborhoods, and extremely slow traffic.  I came home from Academy and it took me over an hour to get home, simply because many of my usual routes were impassable.  It's normally a 20 minute drive from South MacArthur to my house.  Several abandoned vehicles on Lee Street, one car in particular floating in a ditch because the woman couldn't see the curb on Prescott and drove it into about 3 feet of water.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jiffy Lube

I had the most horrible service at the Edgewood Drive Jiffy Lube in Pineville that I've ever experienced anywhere.  Trying to get a vehicle inspected, I had a bulb burned out, and I told them I'd be back in a few minutes, ran over to a parts house, changed the bulb and came back.after I changed the bulb, to be told that the only guy who was authorized to inspect vehicles had left for lunch (this about 3:30 pm) and wouldn't be back for 45 minutes.

SO, I asked the little gal who was standing in the gravel in a Jiffy Lube uniform where I could get the car inspected.  She told me to go to the Kingsville store up the road.  I put the car in reverse, backed out, and went to the Kingsville store (all this in Pineville, LA).  When I got there, a three-bay garage, they had one car in the shop, so I waited, and waited, and finally got out of the car and waved down an employee.  He grudgingly inspected the car.

I've sent a harsh memo to the online complaint department at Jiffy Lube.  Now I'm telling everyone who reads my blog that I'm truly dissatisfied with Jiffy Lube in Pineville, LA.  What should have been a 15 minute unpleasant experience turned into an hour of frustration.

Way to go, Jiffy Lube.  Pissing off customers is what you seem to do best.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Electrical Problems

I drive an old Mercury Marquis as my work car.  It's a 2001 and I like it because it's dependable, it's comfortable, and it's paid for.  Also, I bought it right and it barely has 100,000 miles on the odometer.

I parked it on Wednesday, last.  Everything was working fine.  Monday morning I got in it to go to work and the air conditioner didn't work.  Well, crap.  Don't get me wrong, I've driven cars without air conditioning, but at my advanced age and decrepitude, and my economic standing, I insist on air conditioning in my vehicles.  I wouldn't buy a skateboard that didn't have an air conditioner.

A quick diagnostic told me that the A/C compressor was working, but the blower wasn't working.  All the fuses were good.  So, I went to Google and learned that there are just exactly two problems that might occur when the blower quits.  1) either the blower has crapped out, or 2) something called the resistor has crapped out.  They're both found in the engine compartment.

So, I did what anyone whose son is an SAE mechanic would do.  I called the boy and told him that this afternoon I needed him to diagnose the problem.  He came over today and in just a few minutes told me that the problem was the resistor.  So, we moved a couple of hoses, prepared to take off the resistor, and the blower started working.  My son did some more diagnostics and re-installed everything.

Evidently, the problem was an intermittent ground.  If electronics don't have a good ground, nothing works, and one of the mounting screws must have gotten rusty, or something, in the 15 years since Ford pushed this one out the back of the factory.  It's working now, and I'm thrilled.  My son tells me that it'll either quit in the next week or so, or it will work until the wheels fall off and I have it towed to the scrap yard.  If it quits next week, I'll go buy a resistor and call him.

But, right now the A/C works and that's what I called him for.  Thanks, Matt.  I appreciate it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Birthday Boy

Today is my elder son's birthday.  On April 13, 1976, at Fort Knox, KY he came kicking and screaming into this world and he's still kicking.  We took this picture in June, 1978 as he was watching a roly-poly walk across the patio.

Happy Birthday, son.

Colt's SAA

A long-time coworker and I were talking over coffee today, and he mentioned that he believed that Colt was still making the Single Action Army pistol, beloved of afficianados and cowboy shooters.  A quick Google, and sure enough, the SAA is still being manufactured.  Some more Googling, and I found that prices are sky-high on them.  A fellow could pick up a couple of Vaqueros or Uberti revolvers for the price of an original Colt, 3rd generation.

Don't even ask about 1st or 2nd generation Colts.  Those prices are through the roof.

Hillary Is Running

The news is all over the interwebs that Hillary Clinton has announced her candidacy for the presidency.  Really!  Who could have seen that coming?  She's aligned herself against a host of Republican upstarts who don't know that it's her turn to be president.

Y'all forgive me while I stifle a yawn.  Of course, she's running.  Everyone knew that.  That line should be a GEICO commercial.

This is becoming all too predictable, and frankly, there's nothing that the pundits can say about it (the race in general) for another year or so. I might get interested by then, or I may not. To paraphrase Edwin Edwards, call me when they catch her in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.  Otherwise, I'm not interested.  Sometimes we have to take a break from politics and I don't intend to pay attention to national politics for about another year.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

We're Back

Got in an hour ago, and we're still unpacking, but I had to get the SD card out of the camera and edit a few pictures.

Gentleman George, our host.  Beloved of CFDA.
Texas Rose, our Match Director.  George's spouse and one heckofa shoter in her own right.
Those two were running the show.  Great people, magnificent organizers and people-persons. They did a magnificent job putting the show together.  I know that they're both exhausted, but I'm proud to say that I know them both.

Heretofore on this blog, I've referred to my wife as Milady, an alias to protect her privacy.  However, in Cowboy Fast Draw, we pick our own aliases, and she's picked hers.

Louisiana's Calamity Jane putting wax on a target.
Milady has picked Louisiana Calamity Jane as her CFDA alias, and acquitted herself well as a first time shooter in the bracket matches.  She also learned a lot about match shooting and how a match works. Everyone needs to go to a big match to learn the ins-and-outs.

Of course, after the match we had to walk down to The Rodeo Shop at the Stockyards Coliseum and buy her a proper hat.  Of course, being the stylish pistolero she is, we required both a summer hat and a winter hat.  Hats are de rigueur in cowboy competition and Milady is now properly outfitted in her chapeau department.

It's great to be home.  Now, I need to go unpack the car.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Milady and I are in Fort Worth this morning, but we left the dog in good hands.  A good friend is dog-sitting and we feel comfortable knowing that the dog is in good hands.  He did have an appointment with the groomers last week, and got a good summer cut.

He acts ike he sees a little better, and I bet he does with all that hair out of his eyes.  We'll be home about dark tonite, fall into bed and get ready for work tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


We're packing for the trip to Fort Worth.  It looks like it's going to be three busy days and I haven't talked myself into dragging the laptop.   So, don't look for much posting over the weekend.  Go to the guys on the sidebar for your free reading.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Taxes Done

Well, that job is over for another year.  My sister jumped through hoops and got the K-1 to us, so I was able to finish my taxes.  Great Job, Dianne.  I'll put them in the mail on Monday.  I don't e-file, although I suspect that one of these days it will be the only option.  If I've got to send those bastards a check, I want them to open the envelope and look for it.

Louisiana taxes are done as well.  They'll go in the mail with the Federal boys on Monday.  Surprisingly, they owe me a little refund.  We'll see how that works out.

I also had time to pen a letter to my Congress-critter, complaining about the copious waste in the way they spend my money.  That'll go in the mail Monday, as well.

Monday, April 06, 2015


Milady practicing her fast draw in the back yard.

The target is just off the right of the picture.  She was hitting pretty good today. Wax bullets in the back yard is a good way to learn handgun manipulation.

Doing Taxes

I sat down this morning to do my taxes, courtesy of the download software at H&R Block.  After TurboTax's problem earlier this year, I thought I'd go with something new.  A co-worker does taxes part-time for Block, and she tells me the software is very, very good.

Milady and I have a fairly complicated tax return, with multiple retirements and multiple employers.  What hurts is we have no dependents, and we re-financed our mortgage year-before-last, so our mortgage deduction is pretty slim.

I'll have to file an extension, simply because we don't have the information from the nursing home.  Even so, I have to write those bastards a check again this year.  A fairly healthy check.  Evidently, Milady and I are not poverty-stricken, and the US Government, through the IRS, seems to think we're made of money.  That isn't so, but I still get to write a check.

Just damn.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sunday Morning Dawg

Easter Sunday, and we're busy prepping for the Easter meal.  About 20 people (more or less) are showing up here about noon, and we'll be celebrating Easter.  Smoked ham, baked beans, potato salad. Yeast rolls, of course, and iced tea.  Lots of iced tea.  The dog is supervising, and making sure that everyone is taking care of their duties.

In another hour, I'll start peeling potatoes for the potato salad, while Milady preps the ham to go into the smoker.  She insists on pineapple and cherries on her hams, and I'm happy to let her dress them.

The dog has a groomer's appointment next week, so maybe we'll be able to tell one end from the other.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Showdown in Cowtown

This time next week, Milady and I will be in Fort Worth, TX, for the Showdown in Cowtown.  It's the Texas State Championships for Cowboy Fast Draw.  It's hosted by the Big Thicket Bushwhackers, a group honcho'd by my cousin, Gentleman George and his wife, Texas Rose.  This screen cap from their Facebook page shows the venue.

George and his club have spent a lot of time, effort, and I'm sure a pretty good chunk of loose change getting ready for the event.  They posted some pics on Facebook of the set-up and testing of the range, and I have to say I'm impressed.  This picture was taken at a camp they own and operate, Camp Waluta.  They set everything up, tested it (which I'm sure included shooting at it) only to tear it down, load it on trailers and prep to haul it all to Fort Worth for the event.

I know that the club has been working hard on this event, setting up reservations, doing advance work, all the administration, acquiring equipment, making lists, phone calls, emails, and book-keeping.  They've even offered a package deal with motel, restaurant, and entrance fees rolled into one package.  It's quite a chore, but it looks like they've gotten it done.

Great work, Guys, and we'll see you next week in Fort Worth.

Friday, April 03, 2015

My Flag

Milady noticed today that our flag is tattered, splitting along the seams, much the worse for wear.  Luckily, I had a spare, so I spent a half-hour retiring the old and installing the new.  The old flag is folded properly and stored on a shelf in the garage.  Before long, I'll have to build a fire and dispose of it properly.

I spent too many years in the Boy Scouts and the Army to let me simply discard it like so much trash.  It's our flag, after all, and deserves respect even after it has passed its useful life.

Veterans and Scouts will understand.  That is all.

Good Friday

Between doing chores, fasting, and reflecting on the Crucifixion, I come inside and find an article in National Review.  It seems that ISIS has resurrected the old, ghastly practice.
Much of the news about latter-day crucifixions and other atrocities escapes the confines of ISIS-controlled territory thanks to a brave group called Raqaa Is Being Slaughtered Silently. Details are grim.
It seems that they crucify people in the town square and make the citizenry watch.  Go to the link above, and read the whole thing, but know that crucifixion is back, and it is as horrendous now as it ever was.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Rights Expanded in Arkansas

Bluegrass Bruce has notified me that three new bills have passed the Arkansas legislature and are headed to the governor's desk.
HB 1505 would expand state code allowing lawful concealed carry on a public school, college or university campus to include sporting facilities and stadiums. The bill will also allow permit holders to store their handguns in their vehicle while on public college campuses and in the parking lot of the state Capitol.
HB 1372 would allow private schools to set their own policy regarding guns on their campuses. Currently Arkansas has a statewide prohibition banning concealed carry on private school grounds.
HB 1488 would reform a state law that gives law enforcement the power to approve or deny private firearms transfers at their own discretion. The new law would mandate that officials approve all transfers needed to obtain automatic weapons, shotguns and other firearms under Title II of the NFA, so long as the recipient of the firearm is legally allowed to possess it.
I'm happy to pass this news along.  Let Freedom Ring.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The RFRA Hypocrisy

I'ave been watching the outrage on the internets, and frankly I'm amused at the hypocrisy of the rabid left in decrying such things as a small pizzeria somewhere saying they won't cater a gay marriage.  They really had to dig deep to find one little pizzeria who chooses to stand on religious principal, while large US corporations sell their products in countries where being gay is against the law.  The US Government itself negotiates with countries where being gay is a capital offense.

Allahpundit says it best:
And one of the worst things about it, especially if you support gay marriage, is how parochial the outrage is. MKH touched on that the other night in noting that Apple somehow manages to tolerate capital punishment for gays in Saudi Arabia in the name of selling iPhones there. Jonah Goldberg noted on Twitter this morning that Iran’s own death sentences for the crime of homosexuality are obviously no impediment to the peace-in-our-time nuclear deal that’s brewing right now. The world’s richest corporation and most powerful government could draw real red lines aimed at helping gays abroad but they don’t because it might cost them something. Only when it costs them nothing, like in the absurd hypothetical of a great wave of Indiana businesses kicking gays out, do they pound the table. They’re beneath contempt. And they’ll never be called on it by anyone who matters to them.
Indeed.  If you're going to be outraged, at least be consistent in your outrage.  I call on Apple to immediately stop selling products in countries that outlaw being gay.  Or shut up about it.  Your hypocrisy is showing.

That Brass

Having decided that Staline made the brass cases for CFDA, I emailed Starline on their contact page.  In just a couple of hours, I received a reply.  A nice lady named Debbie Beischer replied, telling me: "Sorry we make these cases for the CFDA exclusively."  Oh, well, I had to ask.  If they've got an exclusive contract with CFDA, I'll have to find a work-around.

As it turns out, my metal-working son took an example piece of CFDA brass to work and after a few basic measurements, modified some .44 magnum brass to take shotgun primers.  He tells me that with a 1/4 inch drill bit and a 5/16 end mill, we should be able to manufacture that primer pocket (and have it look good) on a common drill press.

A carbide end mill cost less than $30.00, and it's a one-time purchase.  It should amortize quickly and last almost forever.  We're cutting soft brass, after all.

This may take a little more research, but I've begun pondering mightily on the problem, and a plan is beginning to gel.