Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Family Shoot

It's become quite common, weather permitting, that we shoot wax bullets on Sunday.  The shoot is growing, and we're getting another target so that we can have a regular match.  Today, seven of us shot, and we're happy to announce that my sister Frannie, came over to try her hand at Fast Draw.  I didn't get a good video of her shooting, but I did get a good picture of her with Milady.

That's Milady on the left, and my little sister on the right.  You'll notice they're both strapped, with Ruger Vaqueros.  That's how we roll in my family.  We also strapped up grandson Quinton, for this first go-around in the game.  He's fast as a rattlesnake, but his Dad didn't get his time.  That's a shame, because I believe he would have had a time in under a second.

That's how my family rolls on Sunday afternoons.  I can't wait until we get that second target and can start holding matches.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's been a while since I did a Sunday Dawg, but we were out on the back porch this morning during coffee and I got a pretty good shot of him.

Last night before bedtime, I put a couple of small roasts in the crock pot with good Italian seasonings.  It's been slow-cooking all night, and when the crew gets here for lunch, I'll pull it and we'll have Italian Beef on good bakery rolls.

Then, if the weather cooperates, we'll do some wax bullet shooting in the back yard.  If it works out, I'll have some pics later today.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Morning

The trap worked fine

The raccoon drama is over.  The cats are at peace and things return to normal on the patio.  We'll speak no more of this unpleasantness.

Friday, May 29, 2015

That Varmint

That varmint we talked about earlier this week?  I wonder if this will end the problem?

I've got it set on the back porch right now.  Hopefully, the cats will learn to stay out of it.  We'll see.


Drinking my second cup of coffee this morning, brewed at home in my $20.00 coffee maker (that's served us faithfully for several years) I see this screen shot from Matt Yglesias.  Courtesy of Instapundit.

Matt Yglesias is, of course a progressive who espouses progressive causes.  And, while I agree that kids living in poverty is a shame, I'm not convinced that we have much real poverty in the US.  Let's look at the photo he references to show the poverty stricken children:

It's hard for me to tell, but what I see are kids that are reasonably well-fed, well-dressed, and have adult supervision.  Of all the things in the world, that doesn't look like poverty.  The true problem is that we've watered down the concept of poverty.So, just exactly how do we define poverty today?  Simpy, it's a number assigned by the US government.  Simply a family of four is considered poverty-stricken if they have an income of less than $24,250.  That's over $2,000 a month coming in to the household, plus they qualify for lots of federal benefits, to include food stamps, free school lunches, and subsidized medical care.

Obviously, it's not the kids fault that they're "poverty-stricken", but poverty today doesn't look like what poverty looked like when I was a kid.  I was never in poverty, but as a young adult, I raised kids with a lot less than $24k per year.  We had food on the table, a roof over our heads, a car in the yard.  The kids were fed, educated, loved, and their illnesses cured without the government.  We were cash-strapped sometimes, but we were never in poverty.

Then, Yglesias shows his idiocy by posting that he just bought coffee with his watch.  Perhaps  Matthew should sell his hi-tech watch, make coffee at home, and give the proceeds to the poverty-stricken children.  But, he's not going to do that.  He believes that the government should pay for everyone.  The dissonance is jarring, but Yglesias seems to not recognize it.  He's a typical progressive.

EDIT:  My math was wrong above.  It's fixed.

Fabulous Friday

A look at the weather map, and I see another line of thunderstorms coming out of east Texas.  It didn't rain yesterday, indeed, the last rain was Wednesday morning.  The yard is still boggy, but I decided that if I was going to mow grass (which has been growing in this subtropical climate for about 12 days) it was now or never.  So, I cranked up the lawnmower and mowed the back yard and the front yard.  The side lot will have to wait, it's plenty soupy over there.  Still, I'm about to get run-over by another rail-car in the train-wreck of weather we've been experiencing, so I decided to start some small engines and get busy.

The consensus on the varmint seems to be a live trap, so I'll go to Lowe's this morning sometime and see if I can find a live trap.  They seem to have a live trap that will handle a raccoon, so I'll call the store in another hour and make sure it's in stock.  My plan is (if I can find one) to put it out today and let the cats get caught in it.  Hopefully, they'll learn to avoid it.  Then, I'll set it tonite before I go to bed.  With any luck, this will be the last night I have to deal with an aggravating raccoon.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

That Varmint

I've been a fan of game cameras for years.  I've used them to watch wildlife and considered them just another way to enjoy the outdoors.  Also, as a full-time cop, I've used security camera footage to try to help solve crimes.  The downside to using video to solve crimes is that you have to watch the video.  For example, a high school where someone is suspected to have been in the building between the time that the custodian locked up at night and the time the principal unlocked in the morning might be 10 hours.  Do you know how long it takes to watch 10 hours of video?  You guessed it, 10 hours.  It's like watching paint dry.

Sometimes your video doesn't show anything, but sometimes there's that "AH-HA!" moment, when it all comes together, and you've got it all on tape.  Those are good times.

In this particular case, Milady and I have been plagued by a varmint, eating cat food and re-arranging the furniture on the patio.  I suspected a raccoon, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and I wanted times so that I could mount a proper response. So, in proper police fashion, I laid a trap for my bandit in the form of my old, trusty vame camera.  And sure enough, he tripped it.

 There's the varmint, right there.  Just as I suspected.  I know what he looks like and I know what time he tripped the camera.  A review of the evidence shows that's a big ol' coon, fat and healthy.

So now I consider my options.  Several come to mind, but I've rejected a couple.  For example, if I set a box trap, I'd probably catch my inquisitive cat, leaving the coon to continue his depredations.  I live in a suburb, so the idea of gunfire isn't particularly appealing.  I admit, as a gunny-person, it was the first thing that comes to mind, but I have to deal with the possibility of pass-through, fields of fire, and collateral damage.  These things I'll ponder in the days to come.

However, the first problem to consider was how the varmint was getting into the yard.  He's been doing this for several days, so he's probably found a route in and out.  It's simply a mattter of finding it.  Fortunately, the weather has conspired against the coon, in that the ground around the house is saturated.  My son, who was spending the night with us on a job, found the trail as he was leaving for work this morning.  In the mud outside the patio gate, he noticed two small tracks.

Sure enough, those are raccoon tracks in the mud outside the  gate, so I can be fairly certain that he's coming in from that direction.

So, now we've identified the target and his route.  We know approximate times.  All that's left is to determine an effective response.  Readers are invited to game this scenario.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Morning

It's Wednesday morning, and I was finishing my coffee, so I decided to click on Accuweather and see what the climate change would bring.  It looks like we're about to get run over by another rail car in the continuing thunderstorm train that's been hammering us for the last few weeks.  As I type this I hear thunder to the west, and a look at the map tells me why.

I doubt I'll be mowing grass today, so I'll cast about and find something to do that doesn't require standing in the yard.

I need to buy some C Cell batteries.  We've got a varmint visiting us almost nightly.  I suspect a raccoon, but Milady is ready for some payback.  I'll set up the game camera on the back porch and see if we can identify the little bugger, perhaps find out what time he's coming through.  In the next day or so, PawPaw may make a night hunt on the lanai.   I suspect that a flashlight and one round of .22LR will put an end to the depredation.

I need to buy a leather punch to adjust a gun-belt to fit a grandkid.  When I buy a gun-belt and specify a center-hole measurement, I don't need the saddle-maker adding three inches because I might not know what I'm talking about.  Any jazzbo with a yardstick should be able to tell where 34" lies on the leather belt.

Last, but not least, all this fresh water has played hob with my swimming pool chemistry.  I'll need to stop by the lumber yard and get a couple of bags of salt so that the chlorinator can do its job.

The rain has started in earnest, so the dawg and I will hunker down and wait till it passes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I'm continuing to learn the Uberti, and I have to admit that I like it a little more all the time.  Today, I happened to notice a little slot in the back of the hammer, and started wondering what that is?  Turns out, it's a safety.  Two pictures tell the tale.

That's he bottom of the Uberti hammer, and Colt aficionados will recognize it immediately.  The three notches on the bottom of the hammer are familiar to Colt smiths, and (from left to right), they're the full cock, half-cock and safety notch.  If you look in the safety notch, you'll find a little pin.  That pin engages a hammer block safety when the trigger engages that notch.  The hammer block is higher on the hammer, so another picture is in order.

That's a drawing from the manual.  When the trigger engages that pin in the safety notch, it rotates the hammer block (colored black in the drawing) down into contact between the frame and the hammer, keeping that hammer away from the frame, and the firing pin away from the primer of a cartridge.

I'm sure that Uberti put that little hammer block in as a passive safety, probably for import reasons, and the fact that you can't really see it when the gun is in use, and it doesn't get in the way unless you want it in the way, is a good thing.

Colt guys tell me that the safety notch is notoriously ineffective, it breaks easily, and shouldn't be trusted speaks volumes to the design. The standard way of carrying a Colt revolver is to load one, skip one, and load four.  Then index the cylinder so that the hammer is down on the empty chamber.

That's been my practice for years with Rugers, whether Blackhawk or Vaquero and I see no reason to load six.  However, that hammer block is a fairly intriguing safety feature, and I/m glad I figured it out.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Tale of Two Pistols

Milady and I started playing this Cowboy Fast Draw game in March, and quickly geared up with holsters, Ruger Vaqueros, bags, ammo, and targets.  After watching the grandkids enjoy playing the game, we decided that it might be nice to have another revolver, a loaner, a spare, so that we could keep our revolvers in our holster while we are on the line.  So, I started casting about for a suitable third revolver.

A. Uberti makes a creditable copy of the old Colt 1873 Peacemaker revolver, and when we were in Texas at the Texas State Championships, we noticed that the line was just about split on Vaqueros and Ubertis.  Some quick checking revealed that the Uberti is about $100 less expensive than the Ruger, and that made my choice a bit easier.

Yesterday, reading the Sunday paper, Milady noticed a sale at a place called The Spotted Dog, just north of our house, about an hour away.  She bade me call them this morning, and they told me that they had a selection of Ubertis, so we got in the car and headed north.  Before long, we were at the store, and looking at revolvers.  We found one we liked, and it turns out it was made by Unerti for Stoeger.  Called the Cattleman Mellinium OT, it has a matte finished barrel and receiver and a brass grip frame and trigger guard.  A quick look at the Uberti site tells me that this is the same revolver that Uberti markets as the Hombre.  The Hombre is Uberti's lowest-priced revolver.  The matte finish is easiest to achieve, but inside it's all Colt-clone.  So, we wrapped it up and brought it home with us.

While I was driving, Milady took it out of the box and started exploring it.  She believes that the grip frame is just a bit trimmer than the Ruger.  Truth be told, Milady has small hands, and I had to modify the Ruger grips so that she could use it.  She also noticed that the hammer seems to cock easier on te Uberti (and I had modified her Ruger by cutting four coils off the mainspring).  She also likes that te ejector rod isn't centered in the Uberti.  The Ruger centers the ejector in the chamber, and the shotgun primers of the CFDA loads drop out.  The Ruger ejector comes through the hole left by the primer, making ejection sometimes problematic.  She also thought that the Uberti felt a couple of ounces lighter than the Ruger.

So, when we got home, I put the Uberti on the old family scale I keep in the shop.

The Uberti weighs in at 2 lbs, 9 ounces on my old scale.

The Ruger weighs in at 2 lbs, 11 oz.  Not enough for me to tell the difference, but Milady's calibrated hands felt the difference in those two ounces.

Still, on the way home, I heard this come from her mouth.  Guys with women that shoot know this conversation.

Milady looked at me from the passenger seat.  "I think it's pretty.  I can't wait to shoot it."

"Oh, really?" says I.

"Yeah," says she. "I like the heck out of this thing."

Either way, it's nice to have another revolver in the bag.  We'll provide a more thorough review as time goes along.

Memorial Day

Studied by few, the Allied invasion of Italy during WWII is largely forgotten in today's history books.  Yet, it occurred before D-Day, thrusting a knife into the soft under-belly of Europe.  One of the division commanders was a fellow named Lucian Truscott, who commanded the 3rd Infantry Division.  While his Corps commander was organizing on the beach, preperatory to the breakout, the Germans were able to ring the beachhead, resulting in a bloodbath.  Eventually, the Allies broke through and made for Rome, capturing it mere days before the Normandy invasion we now call Overlord.

That Corps commander was relieved, and Truscott took his place, eventually leading the Allied Forces to victory and liberating Italy.  In May, 1945, Truscott gave the Memorial Day address at the cemetery where some 3,000 of his Anzio soldiers were buried.  We don't have a recording of his address, but famed cartoonist Bill Mauldin was present and gives us his account of the address.

Mauldin's account of Gen. Truscott's speech at Nettuno is the best record we have of that day.  He recalled the general taking the stand and then turning his back on the audience in order to address the buried corpses arrayed behind him. "It was the most moving gesture I ever saw," Mauldin said.
In his heavy rasp, Truscott told the dead men that he was sorry for what he had done. He said that leaders all tell themselves that deaths in war aren't their fault, that such carnage is inevitable. Deep down, though, if they're honest with themselves, he said, commanders and politicians know it's not true. Truscott admitted he had made mistakes, perhaps many. 
Then he asked the dead to forgive him. He was requesting the  impossible, he knew, but he needed to ask anyway. 
Finally, Truscott debunked the idea that there was glory in dying for one's country. He saw nothing glorious about men in their teens and twenties getting killed, he said. He then promised the men buried at Nettuno that if he ever ran into anybody who spoke of the glorious war dead, he would "straighten them out." "It is the least I can do," he concluded.
Would that we had such leaders today.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday afternoon at 3:00 and everyone had decamped.  It's been raining here all day.  Little severe thunderstorms that drench us with fury, then pass off to the north, leaving everything hot and humid till an hour later, we get another.  We've been rained on four times since noon.

That's our radar map this afternoon, with a strong southerly flow.  Storms building to the south, washing across us heading north and dropping water at a monumental rate.  T here's nothing to be done in the yard, because about the time you get started, the rain drives you indoors.

This is the wettest May that I can ever recall.  I'll be glad when we get into a more normal weather pattern.  Right now, we're in the rainy season.

Milady and I will be celebrating Memorial Day tomorrow, in our own way.  This will be the first Memorial Day in several years where we're both off, and we're going to slip off and have some fun.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Afternoon Shooting

We shoot whenever we can, and this new target is a big help in recording times.  Here, Louisiana Calamity Jane takes her turn on the line.

Our dress isn't necessarily approved dress for the association, but this is backyard practice, after all.  My lady is getting faster, and she's hitting a bit more regularly.  That voice in the background is our new member, grandson Zachary, running the line.  He's turned into quite the safety fanatic and rangemaster.

Oh, the birds you hear are purple martins.  Their condo is just over the target butt, and I don't think that the firing bothers them one whit.  They seem to do just fine while the line is hot.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Two Books

Two books that I've been meaning to read.  I've been meaning to read these for years.  Nay, decades, and I finally pulled the pin and bought them.

No Second Place Winner, by Bill Jordan and The Art of he Rifle, by Jeff Cooper.  I'm told that these two are classics and why I have neglected to have them in my library is only answered by my penchant for procrastination.  They're both available from Amazon, of course, and I intend to begin my education immediately.  I'm told that Jordan's chapter on the fast draw is particularly illuminating.


It's been raining most of the last couple of weeks.  Steady downpours that continue to fill the creeks, bayous ditches and swamps.  The Red River is at flood stage, and no indication that the rain is going to let up in the near term.  All that water has to go somewhere.

The weather is the talk of the office, and I'm hearing reports that local communities are being affected.  Bayou Derbonne in southern Natchitoches parish is flooding, and the Good Hope community near Cypress, LA is likely cut off.    Other co-workers report that Bayou Rigollette is near flood stage and the road that links that community with Pineville.

That's what the weather map looked like at 11:00 a.m. today.  I'm not sure where all that water is going to go, every drain we have is full.  For folks in low-lying areas, it's liable to get interesting in the next day or so.

One thing that I learned when I lived in the swamp along Bayou Derbonne is that it never floods while it's raining.  Normally, it takes two or three days for the water to work its way down from the hills, to fill the creeks, which drain into the bayous and sloughs.  Normally, it floods in good weather.  After the bad weather.  It might get interesting around here in the next two or three days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lighted Target

This came in yesterday, but I didn't have time to assemble or test it.  When I came in tonight, I found that Milady had broken into the box and started assembling it.  So, I finished and tested it.

It's a complete CFDA target system with light, timer, cables, everything we need to get good times in our backyard range.  As soon as we take measurements from this one, we'll build another target and I'll order another set of electronics.  Then we can start holding matches in the back yard.

It's not like we've gotten into this game or anything.

Monday, May 18, 2015


My eldest grandson is graduating from High School tonight.  Milady and I will be there to see him walk.  He's heading to my old alma mater, NSU, to study music education.  We're awfully proud of him.  Below, he's with his dad and younger brother.

Congratulations, Michael.  We're looking forward to attending several more graduations.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wax Bullet Seater

Fred asks, in comments:
Question--Do you have a "speed loader" of some type to load wax bullet s?Between you nd my barber I became interested and bought wax and brass. Now my fingers are sore from loading for my grandchildren. Great fun.Fred
As it turns out, Fred, I do.  It's built from a Y-Tex Plus Ear Tag Applicator I picked up at Tractor Supply.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't.  I understand that it came from a bunch of shooters in East Texas, the Big Thicket Bushwackers, who were looking for a way to quickly seat wax bullets. When you buy the thing from the vendor, you'll notice that it has a little clip that holds the ear tag.  Pop that off.  Then you'll have to get out your Dremel tool and hog-out an area that will accommodate a standard shell holder.

Cut a little, fit a little, cut a little more.  Use the pin that cowboys normally use to insert the ear tag into the cows ear, use that pin to center the shell holder under the ram.

Use that pin to make sure that the shell holder is centered, then epoxy that shell holder into the lower arm of the ear tag applicator.

That applicator pin simply unscrews from the ram.  What you're left with is a shell holder centerd under the ram.  Put an empty brass in the shell holder, start a wax bullet, then squeeze the handle.  That ram will seat the bullet "As Slick As A Gut".  Again,simply unscrew that pin so that you can use the full diameter ram for seating bullets.

The Y-Tex applicator costs about $20.00 at any Tractor Supply.  The shell holder is about $5.00, give or take.  You may have an extra shell holder laying around.

I wish I could take credit for this easy modification, but I'm told the idea came out of east Texas.  If anyone else has any better information, I'll be happy to give credit.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ken's Leathercraft

On Valentine's Day, I surprised Milady with a gunleather rig from Dusty Damrel at Crease N Corral.  Yesterday, she surprised me with a gunleather rig from Ken's Leathercraft.  Ken is a Virginia based company that caters to the Cowboy niche market.  We've seen his holsters at shoots and they've come recommended to us by friends.  At a price point of $130.00, it's probably the smallest cost you can have for a semi-custom holster.  Even the big firms like El Paso Saddlery don't put together a rig like this for the money.
Initial impressions:  This is a very nice holster and belt.  Double-stitched, the belt is double thickness.  A nicely dyed leather on the outside and a heavy suede on the inside.  It gives the impression of a very durable belt.  The holster is likewise double-stitched, of matching leather.  It's the standard Mexican loop style that is so common in our game, and the holster is lined with smooth leather to assist in the draw.    Of course, it has a bullet deflector and is cut with a rearward cant, as is also common in the game.

The buckle is a roller buckle, attached with Chicago screws.  That's  a nice attention to detail, in case something ever happens to the buckle, it's easy to change.

The belt also comes with cartridge loops.  While I don't see the need for cartridge loops in a competition holster, if you're going to use this belt for woods-cruising, having extra ammo might be nice.  Ken thoughtfully  attached the loops with Chicago screws and if I don't want them on the belt, they'd certainly be easy enough to take off.

All in all, it's a very nice rig for the money.  Thanks to Milady for such a thoughful gift.  We've got an anniversary coming up in June, and she told me that's my anniversary gift.  I'll have to do something appropriately thoughtful for her.

Friday, May 15, 2015

BB King. The Thrill is Gone

I see with some sadness that blues legend B.B. King passed away yesterday at his home in Las Vegas.

I grew to love his music during my time with Junior Doughty, who also passed away last year.  It seems like the blues legends are dying off.  The world will be a lesser place without their music.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wax Bullet Deflectors

When Milady and I started this CFDA hobby, we realized that we'd need a couple of extra holsters to let friends and family try the game, so I ordered a couple of Triple K Cheyenne holsters from MidwayUSA.  At just over $50.00, they're not the greatest holster in the world, but I've been pleased with mine so far and don't feel handicapped using it.  I ordered one for both left and right hand, and they've both gotten plenty of use.

A quick review of the regulations for the association, and I learned that wax bullet deflectors are optional for adults, and mandatory for youth.  I am told that if you play this game long enough, you'll shoot the bottom of your holster, and even though we're using wax bullets, it's coming out of the muzzle at something over 600 fps, and it will hurt for sure, and may cause injury.  Wax bullet deflectors are a good idea.

So, I emailed some holster makers and learned that they don't sell wax bullet deflectors, but that they're made out of mild steel, and I've got some of that, so I decided to make my own.  After cutting the metal, bending and painting it, I had to find Chicago screws.  But, they're installed now, and I feel pretty good about my efforts.

If you look down on the muzzle end, you'll see the deflectors.  They're screwed to the back paddle of the holster and line up nicely with the muzzle of the holstered revolver.  Here's a closer look below.

That's not too bad for the first time I've attempted something like this, and I feel confident that it will catch an errant wax bullet if someone gets his booger hook on the bang switch a little too early.

The custom guys cover them with leather to match the holster, but I don't see anything in the rules that requires the deflector to be leather wrapped.  Sometimes, home made is best.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chicago Screws

When I was learning things at my father's and grandfather's knee, I learned about something called a Chigaco Screw.   These things are the bees knees for leather work, and I was doing some work on a holster, and I went to my local hardware store, and they had never heard of Chicago Screws.

"Never heard of a chigago screw." the kid told me.

"You've got them, let's go look" I replied.

And he had them, but they were labeled Post Nuts, which I guess makes sense, because it's a standard machine screw with a fancy threaded post and flange for the nut.  I bought the three that he had, then two days later needed more and went to Lowe's in town.    I asked for Chicago screws, got the same blank gaze.  But, the hardware guy and I looked and found them.  For the record, they look like this.
So, I started Googling around, and found this:
A sex bolt, (also known as a barrel nut,[1] barrel bolt, Chicago screw or post and screw), is a type of fastener (nut) which has a barrel-shaped flange and protruding boss that is internally threaded. The boss sits within the components being fastened, the flange provides the bearing surface. The sex bolt and accompanying machine screw sit flush on either side of the surfaces being fastened. It is normally chosen because of its low profile compared to other nuts. The sex bolt often has a built-in feature, such as a slot, to aid in tightening the fastener. Some sex bolts, more commonly known as architectural bolts, have knurled barrels to allow one-sided assembly. Binding posts are similar to architectural bolts in that they are designed to be assembled from one side, but they have teeth on the flanged surface to keep them fixed.
At any rate, I found a few at Lowe's and have enough to finish the project.  What I did find interesting is that the name my dad and grandad used must be an archaic term today.  And, I learned that I can buy them at  

 Another bit of arcane knowledge from PawPaw's House.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Tires

Several years ago, when Dad was still alive and kicking, Milady and I went to Dad and Mom's place for supper.  After supper Dad was walking us out to the car, and noticed that the tires on Milady's ride was starting to wear.  He mentioned that she might think about some new tires.

"Really," she asked "You think it needs new tires?"

"Either new tires," the old man retorted, "or trade it in."

We laughed and went home.  By the next weekend, Milady was driving a new car.  Dad's recommendation was all she needed.

Fast forward several years, through two different rides, and Milady actually put new tires on her current ride.  Shortly thereafter we began hearing road noise, and thought simply that the tires were noisy.  But, last week, she mentioned that she had been looking at car ads.  Her current ride, a 2010 Ford Explorer, with just less than 100K miles was starting to show its age, some of the little courtesy lights were going out, and the Explorer was now too big for our needs, and she was jonesing for a new ride.

So, last Friday she went car shopping.  Milady shopped online during the week, identified some targets, and headed south, toward Lafayette.  (Note to car dealerships.  If you don't have your full inventory online, Milady doesn't know that it's there.)  She made a deal at Courtesy Ford, in Breaux Bridge.  With her trade, I think she got a screaming deal and she's very pleased.  But, during new vehicle prep, they found a problem with her new ride, a 2015 Ford Edge Titanium, so they gave her a loaner to drive for the weekend, a 2014 Edge SEL.  She brought it home for the weekend, and we were able to spend the weekend getting to know the platform.  It's not her new one, but it's very close.

First impressions.  In the last five years, they have packed a lot of technology into cars.  Milady's ride is the Titanium package, and the loaner was the SEL, a step down, but even the SEL is impressive in the tech department.  Lots of safety features that five years ago was not available at any price.  Back-up cameras, blind spot monitors, sensors that tell you when you're too close to something.  The technology is impressive.

Both the loaner and the Titanium are equipped with the 3.5L V6 engine.  It's sporty and with front wheel drive, seems to power the vehicle very well.  Handling is nimble and the car seems to want to run.  It's a good thing that it has cruise control, because I found it hard to hold the car to the speed limit.  Milady really likes the way it handles, like it's glued to the road.  We drove it to her mother's on Sunday, up Louisiana Highway 8, a fairly good two-lane road with twists and turns. The car feels good on the road, like you're connected to the road.  

The dealership called yesterday, her car is ready for delivery.  They're going to drop it off to her today.  This morning, she went to the insurance office to swap the insurance for the new ride.  As it turns out, the new car with all it's safety features is cheaper to insure than the older Explorer.  To the tune of about $250.00 per year.  Go figure.  Safer car, cheaper insurance.

Newer ride, screaming deal, better technology, better gas mileage, cheaper insurance, what's not to love?  We'll have to learn to use the "beells and whistles", but that's  just a matter of getting acquainted.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wierd Monday

The news is just weird today, and the less said about it, the better.  Everybody seems to be amazed that Hillary Clinton is corrupt and that the bad news about the Clinton Foundation keeps rolling in.

Really, people?  Really?  Of course, she's corrupt, and her husband is corrupt and the Clinton Foundation is shot through with conflicts of interest.  This surprises you why?  These are the Clintons.

Two police officers were killed this weekend in Mississippi.  That depresses the hell out of me.

Then, there's this racist professor at Boston University that says white men are a problem population.  Of course, this idiot is an assistant professor of sociology and African studies.  A direct quote attributed to her incorrectly claims that only white people enslaved other people.
Grundy posted a number of other controversial tweets, for instance incorrectly claiming that only whites enslaved entire generations of people. “Deal with your white sh*t, white people. slavery is a *YALL* thing,” she said.
Itt sounds to me like Professor Grundy is a racist.  I'm surprised that Boston University would have such a person on faculty.  Even Michael Bane is piling on this idiot.

The news today runs from the idiotic to the depressing.  I think I'll do something productive, like washing my socks.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Club Practice Day

We had a practice match at the CFDA club today.  About eight shooters showed up and we had a good time.  Grandson Zach came with us, and tried to increase his speed.  He was getting hits on the target in the 1.2 second range.  He's getting better, but he's handicapped because he has to shoot two-handed.  Until he can pass the test for Level 3 Youth, it's two-handed shooting.  And, it's not so much that he can't pass the test, it's that no one at the club is qualified to give the test.  We'll have to make a trip to Texas this summer to let him take the test.

Still, he loves the game, and I think I've got a shooter on my hands.

Here, he's shooting against the old man, and doing a credible job..  In case you're interested, shooting a 1.2 means that he's drawing, cocking, and firing a single-action revolver in 1.2 seconds.  And, he gets no time unless he hits the target.  Without a hit to stop the timer, it simply keeps rolling.  So, Zach is drawing, cocking, shooting, and hitting in 1.2 seconds.  Not bad for a neophyte.

Push Forward

More and more is coming out about the Garland jihadi shootings last week, but the undisputed hero of the incident is the officer (as yet un-named as far as I know) who ended the firefight in the parking lot.  You can Google around for background, but this article, by Bob Owens shows that the officer pushed forward during the engagement, moving toward the threat as it unfolded.
The evidence markers at the bottom of the photo above show us a remarkable story, as they denote the final locations of the shell casings ejected from the officer’s Glock duty pistol. While every pistol is different from another in its ejection pattern, and the movement of the officer and the cant of his gun precludes us from knowing exactly where he was, there, is a distinct trial of shells showing that the officer was moving forward from the bottom left of the photo above towards the terrorists at the rear of the vehicle.  He appears to have opened fire from 20 yards away, and fired at least a dozen shots by the time he reached an area near the traffic cones, roughly 7-10 yards from where the terrorists died.
Extreme bravery, absolute dedication, heroic actions under fire.  All these describe the officer, and I don't intend to take anything away from his bravery.  He did it exactly right, but that's the point of this post.

For the past twelve years I've been in an assignment where I'm often alone among innocents, and we've trained for an active shooter scenario.  The best available training shows that when engaging an active shooter, you move forward, toward the threat and violently engage him with fire while maneuvering.  This brave officer did it exactly right, and shows (yet again) the benefit of his training.

I note, with some humility, that the event had a SWAT team on-site for just such an eventuality (and I'm not taking anything away from the SWAT guys here), but by the time they were aware of the threat, oriented toward it, and moving toward the firing, it was over. I'm sure that for the next several hours they were fully employed, putting the site on lockdown, moving innocents out of the way, assisting the crime-scene folks, all the different activities that come in the aftermath of this type incident.

Again, I'm not taking anything from the SWAT guys, but the simple fact of the matter is that these things happen extremely quickly, and if you're not standing there when it happens, you probably won't be in the fight.  If (God forbid) one or both of the jihadis had gotten past our hero, the SWAT guys would have been fully employed, but it didn't play out that way.

Great article at the link in the first paragraph, and I recommend that you go read the whole thing.

I"d love to know what that officer drinks; I'd send him a case of it.

Friday, May 08, 2015


It seems that some of the major news this week revolves around the unfortunate, untimely death of a fellow named Freddie Gray, recently arrested by the city of Baltimore for carrying a knife.  Gray died, riots occurred, police officers were arrested, the prosecutor is being accused of conflicts of interest and other allegations of prosecutorial over-reach.  It's a damned shame on many levels.  First, the idea that carrying a knife poses s a threat worthy of police intervention, second that the law is written so poorly that so many people can misunderstand the law, third that the police charged with enforcing the law have any problem deciding what is legal and what is not.

It is my considered opinion that no man is properly dressed or accoutered without a knife on his person.  The type of knife should be purely a personal choice, but a sharpened bit of steel is very useful in any number of tasks.  Indeed, I am reminded of my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Graham, who not only knew, but counted on the fact that every boy (and most of the girls) in her class carried a pocket knife.

A package would come to the classroom and Mrs Graham would announce "I need to borrow a knife."  Fifteen little boys would begin digging in their pockets and move to the front of the class, holding out knives.  Mrs. Graham would select one, critique the particular knife in question, open the package, then send the child back to his chair.  This, as I recall, was about 1963.  Somehow, in the intervening 50 years we've gotten the idea that a sharpened bit of steel is illegal, nefarious, criminal.

That is a dangerous mindset, because the very idea that a knife might be illegal has led, in this case anyway, to the death of one man, riots causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage, the arrest of six police officers, and allegations of misconduct against an elected prosecutor.  All over a sharpened bit of steel.  My mind boggles at the thought.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


A gar is a fish common to Louisiana waters.  It's a predator with a toothy mouth and a slender body.  Here in Louisiana we call them Alligator Gar because they have a snout like our alligators.  The fossil record goes back to the early Cretaceous period.  They're living fossils and have been living in our waters for lots of years.

When we catch an alligator gar, we do one of two things with it.  1) cut its head off and throw it back to feed the smaller fishes that it has been feeding on, or 2) make gar balls out of it.  Back when I lived on Bayou Derbonne, there was a cook down the road, Ginger, who made gar balls once or twice a year.  She'd call us and tell us to come down to the house.  We'd bring something to add to the feast, load the ice chest with beer and soft drinks (for the kids), and head toward Ginger's house, where we'd eat gar balls, tell lies, and hang out under the pecan trees.

I tell you all this, because while we were in Missouri and stopped by Bass Pro Shops, we saw an aquarium with an alligator gar in it.  Milady asked me to snap a picture, so I did.

That's a pretty good fish, but it wouldn't come out from behind that post.  I reckon it was about six feet long, not the longest I've seen, but a fair example of the species.  That gar will probably live to a ripe old age, being fed twice a day.  The biggest one I've ever seen was over 12 feet long, from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail.  That was a big scary fish, caught out of the Red River near Cloutierville, LA.

Ginger cooked him into gar balls, ad he fed about thirty people, with all the fixings (taters, hush puppies and salad.)  I don't care if I never catch another gar.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


Interesting conundrum that Pam Geller revealed in her "Draw Mohammed" contest.  They're talking about it over at Hot Air, and because they are better wordsmiths than I am, I'll let them lay it out for you.
That’s an interesting conundrum for the left, acknowledged elsewhere in the piece by author Noah Feldman. Have we reached the point in western civilization where violent attacks on people who blaspheme Islam qualify as “reasonably foreseeable”? If you say no, Geller’s off the hook. If you say yes, you’re conceding that the threat of Islamic violence in response to images of Mohammed is now sufficiently great and steady that we should actually count on it happening in response to events like this, an admission that tends to undercut the “tiny minority of extremists” narrative.
So, let me see if I can break it down.
Do we believe that violent attacks on persons that blaspheme Islam are reasonably foreseeable?
If no, then no one could have foreseen the attack on Sunday, and Geller is off the hook. She could not have foreseen the violence, because Islam is basically peaceful.
If yes, then we agree that Islamic violence is sufficiently great that we can count on it happening in response to events (which gives lie to the "tiny minority of extremists" argument.

So, if we blame Geller for hosting the event, we can agree that Islam is sufficiently violent that a violent response is almost certainly expected.

Interesting conundrum.

Monday, May 04, 2015

No One is Safe

By now, I'm sure that you've all heard of the event that happened in Texas yesterday.  Some free-speech folks organized an event to depict Mohammed at an art venue, and predictably, some jihadists showed up with rifles. Fortunately, the police were ready for them and the only fatalaties are the followers of the pedophile prophet.

For years, I read Richard Fernandez when he blogged at the old Belmont Club under the pen name Wretchard.  He's still blogging over at PJMedia, under a column of that same name, and his topic today is that none of us are safe.
A Texas event attended by Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer was attacked by an undetermined number of persons.  Two of the suspected assailants were killed and one was injured by the cops.  A police officer was also wounded, but not critically.  The scene is still being combed for explosives and evidence
There are probably many pundits who are comforting themselves by thinking: “I’m not Pamela Geller and therefore I will be safe.  I don’t say what she says.  I don’t know who she knows.”  Therefore this trouble will pass me by.
But the truth is, no one is safe.  Not left-wing artists in Europe nor Nigerian schoolgirls nor high school students in Pakistan.  Not agricultural college kids in Africa nor Yazidis in their remote mountain villages. Not people working a regular day in Manhattan on bright September days.
No one is safe. 
Richard is right.  No one is safe.  Until we all convert to Islam, we won't be safe, Safety is fine, in it's place, but I have never been overly concerned with safety.  There are too many other things to command my attention.  Like freedom.  There are those who believe that if they don't say certain things, or don't do certain things, they'll be passed by when evil comes.  They are wrong; no one will be passed by and even the innocent will suffer.

No one is safe.  With the World Trade Center bombing, the Boston Marathon bombing and the "lone wolf" attacks that have been in the news for the last several years, the illusion of safety is only a pale illusion.  Radical Islam wants you dead and if you're not willing to see that simple fact then you're  probably best left to your illusion of safety.

The Good Guys won in Texas yesterday, but I think that as Radical Islam grows, we'll see more of these attacks.  Unless we crush it ruthlessly, and our political leadership has neither the stomach nor the knowledge of how to do that.  Because they failed to crush it overseas, it's now come to our shores and the fight might be a whole lot closer to home than we'd like, but that's the price we'll pay for failing to identify the enemy and crushing him ruthlessly.

No one is safe.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Sunday Morning Dawg

This morning, Milady and I are in Missouri, having attended a wedding yesterday.  The Dawg is at my Momma's house, being pampered and spoiled, but one day last week I snapped a pic of the Dawg being spoiled by Milady.
We'll be home tonight sometime.  It's great to take a road trip, and we're looking forward to sleeping in our own bed tonight.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Rpad Trip

Milady and I spent the day driving, and we made it to Warsaw, MO.  A nice steak, a drink, and we're ensconced in our hotel.  Tomorrow, we'll find our hosts and go to a wedding.