Thursday, March 31, 2016

Don't Bring It to Louisiana, Either

Driverless cars, that is.  I love the concept, think that it's a cool idea.  A driverless car will be able to give mobility to the disabled and probably will reduce accidents.

Volvo's North American CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, lost his cool as the automaker's semi-autonomous prototype sporadically refused to drive itself during a press event at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Why not?  No lane markings.
 "It can't find the lane markings!" Kerssemakers griped to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was at the wheel. "You need to paint the bloody roads here!"
Paint the roads?  Are you high?  Hardly anyone paints roads in Louisiana.  I can take you to entire sections of roads that have never been painted.  Good, asphalt road with nary a center stripe nor a fog line.  Driving down them on a dark night is a lot of fun.
Shoddy infrastructure has become a roadblock to the development of self-driving cars, vexing engineers and adding time and cost. Poor markings and uneven signage on the 3 million miles of paved roads in the United States are forcing automakers to develop more sophisticated sensors and maps to compensate, industry executives say.
This technology is still in its infancy and it will be a while before it is mature.  But expecting government to paint the roads so that your technology can work, simply isn't in the cards.

Wirecutter says that they won't work in California if they need road markings.  They damned sure won't work in Louisiana, either.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ideal Conceal Pocket Gun

I note that a small company in Minnesota is making a pocket gun that folds up to impersonate a cell phone.  They call it the Ideal Conceal pocket gun.

From all accounts, it's a two-shot, .380 caliber derringer, which is better than nothing, I suppose.

From the website:
That’s where Ideal Conceal comes in. Smartphones are EVERYWHERE, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment.  In its locked position it will be virtually undetectable because it hides in plain sight.
It's an interesting idea, and I hope they sell them by the boxcar load.  For myself, I'll probably stick with the J-frame I carry in my pocket, but I can see that this might have a certain appeal to some folks.  It's certain to cause PSH (pants shitting hysteria) among the liberals in big cities.

Cell phones and other devices are ubiquitous in today's society and seeing someone with a device lipped to their belt is very common.  It's a very good idea if your concept of self-defense is two rounds of .380.  With a list price of $395.00, the actual retail will probably be a bit lower, and the little gun is certainly inventive.  It hides in plain sight, taking advantage of current societal mores.

Let Freedom Ring.

Wednesday WiseAss

If you follow, like I do, the antics of Tamara, over at The View From The Porch, you may have seen her post from this morning.

I don't Twitter, but that's a screen-cap from her twitter page.  And I agree completely.  The Republican side is a clown-show and the Democrats are about to nominate a criminal..    Very compelling choices.

Tam doesn't take comments at The View, but today, she wins the internet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Afternoon at the Army

Hanging out with the youngest grandkid today, after lunch he wanted to go to the military museum over at Camp Beauregard.  Climbing on military vehicles and talking about equipment sounds like fun, so we drove over.

Standing on the front blade of an M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle.  Ony 291 of these were made, some are still in service, and this one is on a museum pad.

And, on the front slope of the M551 Armored Cav Recon vehicle.  One of my very favorite armored vehicles.  It wasn't a tank, but it was a hell of a lot of fun to tool around in.

While we were wandering around, taking pictures, the curator of the museum stopped by.  We looked at each other, askance, and realized that w had served together.  He was in A Troop 2/108 Cav while I was in HHC 1/156 Infantry.  His unit piggybacked with us for tank qualifications, because we were both using M1 Abrams tanks at the time.  His little troop would fall in beside our battalion for tank quals.  No wonder he looked familiar.  Good times talking with an old soldier.

Of course, if there is a jeep, the boy has to get into it.  I'm not sure if this is a M38A1 or a M151, but either way, it's cool.  Good times, good times.

5th Generation

Sometime around the mid '60s, my Dad and a partner founded a little camping store.  Easy Camping, Inc, they sold boats and pop-up campers.  Dad and the partner traveled to Lebanon, MO to sign contracts with an outfit called Appleby, Inc.  In the intervening years, we sold a bunch of campers from Appleby and Coleman, but in the early '70s, Dad closed Easy Camping.

There was one boat left, a little 14 foot jon boat, so Dad gave it to his father.  Over the intervening years, that boat got pushed across most of the small lakes and rivers in central Louisiana.  My grandad fished in that boat, hunted out of that boat, taught grandkids basic boat-handling skills.  It's just an old jon boat.  Tippy, unstable, you have to be still in the boat.  But, it's made of good aluminum and with minimal care, it's still in service.

It's probably had a half-dozen transoms over the fifty years it's been in the family, and ten years ago, my elder son and I replaced a dozen or so rivets, to make ti water-tight.  (Truthfully, the transom I put inn ten years ago will be due for replacement in another year or so.)

But, this morning, the youngest grandson and I took it out in our little neighborhood lake to do a little fishing.  We spent a couple of hours in the lake, exploring the mysteries of small bream, worms, and bobbers.  It was his first trip out in the boat, but I doubt it will be the last.

Five generations of my family has used that boat, and with just a little luck, several more will learn basic boat-handling from it.

Quote of the Day

A quote from the New York Times, which totally screws up the description of America's favorite rifle.
The weapon was a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle adapted from its original role as a battlefield weapon. The AR-15, which is designed to inflict maximum casualties with rapid bursts, should never have been available for purchase by civilians.
I'll not link to the original article, it's probably behind a pay-wall, but Hot Air covers it completely, and I'll link to their article, with another quote.
 Nomenclature is key when discussing Second Amendment matters–and the liberal media has proven with metronomic regularity that they know nothing about firearms.
Anyone in this day and age that believes an AR-15 fires in bursts is a complete and total idiot.  The fact-checkers at the New York Times have becowned themselves   As far as gun ownership, firearms operation, or basic 2nd Amendment schoarship.  They are complete and total idiots on the subject.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Standard Army Breakast

Some of us were talking on a forum, and one wag made a comment about GI food tasting like shoe-leather.   While it's true that field rations were nothing to brag about, and food-service personnel are always trying to improve the quality of the food, I started reminiscing about what I called The Standard Army Breakfast.  Regardless of where I found myself, and which chow hall I wandered in to, The Standard Army Breakfast was uniformly consistent, and uniformly good.  Just what a young GI needed to make a day of running, jumping, toting stuff.

Invariably, the menu looked like this:

Eggs to order
Hash-brown potatoes
Chipped creamed beef
Fresh fruit (banana, orange, apple)
Prepared cereal (varieties)

You could go through the line and carry off anything you could put on your tray.  My favorite was to get a double order of hash-browns, put two eggs (over easy) on top, then slather it all with creamed beef.  Put a couple of biscuits on the side to sop the gravy and egg yolks.

I ate a lot of tasteless food in the Army, but the one thing I could never complain about was breakfast in garrison.  Many times, after dropping-off my tray, I'd stick an apple or banana in my pocket for lunch.

Some of my favorite memories revolve around The Standard Army Breakfast.

Idit - Somehow I forgot to list Chipped Creamed Beef, although I talked about it in the later paragraph.  - - Thanks, Jim!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Interesting Food Fact

It's strange, but true.  Seen on the Book of Face.

That's very true.  It's amazing what bacon can do for one's attitude.

Happy, Easter, everyone.


Surfing around this morning in the pre-dawn, I was struck by several articles over at PJMedia.  This one really got my head spinning.  This gal is be-moaning the millennial men she meets.
Last week, Tomi Lahren, a 23-year-old political commentator for The Blaze, ended her show by raising the following question:
“Is it just me, or have men gotten really soft these days?”
What, specifically, dear, do you mean?
“This has nothing to do with sexuality. It has to do with the helplessness of today’s young men. It seems few can change a light bulb let alone fix a flat tire or change oil, and that makes for pretty slim pickings for the females out there looking for a match.
 Chivalry is all but dead, and so is manliness. And by the way, wearing a flannel shirt and having a beard doesn’t make you a man if you still can’t change a tire and are scared of the dark. It seems like millennial men either don’t have jobs or are still using their parents’ credit cards to buy us drinks at the bar…
Ahh, you're talking about the bar scene, and if you write for The Blaze, you're probably in a big city somewhere, probably a left-eaning city (but that's redundant).  You're looking (as the song says) for love in all the wrong places.  There are still men out there, you're just fishing in the wrong pond.

Get in your car and drive out of town.  Drive for an hour or more, until there are more trees than buildings.  If bars are your thing, look for the ones that have pickup trucks around them.  There are men in there.  Real men.  Some have issues, some are almost dead broke, but they are men, with all their faults and foibles.

But, bars aren't the best place to find men.  Especially if you don't know what a man is (and it seems that you're having trouble with definitions, having been dating in millennial bars).  The men in there might scare you.

Better yet, find a church.  If you have driven far enough south, you'll find churches everywhere.  There are men in there too.  Many times, singe men.  Men who fear God, treat women like gold, and take time to get to know a woman before anything else much goes on.  Men who know how to pray, who know how to wait for a friend, and know how to build a home. They'll have dreams, they'll have plans, and if you're lucky, they'll change those plans to fit you in.

She continues, though:
So whose fault is it? Is it our fault, ladies? Are we getting too strong? Nah, I don’t buy that. See, a real man knows how to handle a strong woman, so this isn’t our problem. Maybe it’s the way boys are raised these days: fatherless homes and no male role models. It’s hard to learn how to be a man with no man around.”
Real men aren't afraid of strong women.  Real men depend on strong women.  Women who know how to be a partner rather than a dependent.  But, you're right that it takes two parents to raise a man.  Boys need a father figure, someone to teach them how to be a man.  They also need a mother, who teaches them what is responsible, gives them an idea of how a strong woman deals with a strong man.  It takes two to raise a family.

She finishes with a prayer:
“Please teach your sons to be men, because the women of the world are tired of the boys.”
It seems if there is only one thing for her to do.  Find a man, a real man, build a relationship, get married, and start raising a passel of children.  Or, one, or two, with a strong man, and teach the children to become responsible, loving, adults.

This is a generational problem.   Men aren't made in a day, and it's each generations challenge to raise the next generation of men (and women).  I'd like to offer optimism, though.  There are lots of veterans around, after almost 15 years of war.  Good men, probably some of them ooking for good women.  She can find these men, strong men, at any VA Hospital, any AmVets, or VFW lodge, or probably at the local bar.  They'll normally be clean-shaven, with short hair.  They'll be fit, because soldiers run PT every morning.  And, generally, they will be men.  Real men.

But, once again, a real man might scare you if you're not a strong woman.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


In another few minutes, we're headed over to Brother Bill's for a celebration.  Bill is Milady's big brother and her clan is congregating over there to share a meal.  It isn't far, simply across town, but PawPaw is on the hook for a pulled pork.  It's done, and in the crock pot.  I simply need to make sure we load it before we leave.

Y'all go read the goodness on the sidebar.  We'll be home later this afternoon.

Tomorrow, of course is Easter.  The weather appears is reported to be spectacular, so I'll spend most of it in the back yard.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Great Second Amendment

It's fairly safe to say that the Second Amendment is unique among governmental provisions world-wide.  Some argue that it is a collective right, and some argue that it is an individual right.  In the Heller decision from 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the possession of firearms is an individual right that protects traditional purposes, such as self defense within the home.

This morning I was clicking around and went to Brietbart to find an article on seven great 2nd Amendment quotes.  I was struck by the argument of Alexander Hamilton, who said, in Federalist 28,
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.
Here, Hamilton seems to argue that the right is individual, but can become collective, by individuals rushing to arms, "without concert, without system" in defense of their individual rights.  This is also a form of self defense, a collective form of self defense.

It is well that we remember such things.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Blue Bullets? Black Bullets?

It's been a while since I did any real reloading.  This Cowboy shooting thing has taken all my time and attention.  In my defense, I have no shortage of handloaded ammo around the place, so I really haven't had to do any reloading.

But, I was looking around at Joe's place today, and I see two companies who might be worth remembering, so I'm linking them here.  You all know t hat I use this blog as much for my own reference as yours, but Joe links to two bullet manufacturers I've never used.  Blue Bullets, and Black Bullets.  Both of them seem to be selling coated lead bullets, which might be really useful if you have neither the time, inclination, materials, or equipment to cast your own.

I cast my own bullets, but I'm not ashamed to use someone else's bullet when I find myself in a bind for time or materials.

They're pretty, ain't they?  Those are the blue bullets.  The black bullets look a lot like that except that they're.... black.

It looks like shipping is free.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Problem With Islam

Like many of you, I've considered the latest outrage in Belgium, and the possible answer to that outrage.  Because I've studied history during my spare moments (not a scholar, just curious), I look to history to see how we've solved such problems in the past.

There are those who might say that the United States is a forgiving nation, inclusive in many ways, based on freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom in many ways that most of the world does not enjoy.  Others might say that we have our share of national sin.  The deplorable treatment of the native Americans, the fact that we engaged in chattel slavery, our reluctance to grant female suffrage.  These are just a few examples of our national evolution.  I can only hope and pray that we reject the bad, and accentuate the good.

But, I look to our national involvement in World War II, and I'm struck by similarities.  Let me expound on those for just a moment.

During WWII, we were at war with Germany and Japan, yet from my readings of that history, we did not hold a grudge against the German people, nor the Japanese.  It's true that we disparaged them, called them by demeaning names as propaganda.  We were more particularly at war with Nazism and the extreme militaristic Japanese imperialism. Both of these were quasi-religions, with fanatical followers and tactics.  The Japanese particularly, with their banzai charges and kamikaze attacks.  Suicide missions are nothing new.  They were horrific then, and they're horrific now.

We took the war to both countries, and inflicted horrible damage on both Germany and Japan.  In both cases, we killed, bombed, strafed and rained scunion on the population until the will to fight had completely left them.  The reasons for this are two-fold.  One, to defeat their military, both tactically and strategically.  Second, to impress on their civil populations that war was horrible, to reduce the national support of the population.  If your home, factory, church, (or entire city) is bombed to rubble, you tend to forget about supporting the war effort and spend more time trying to put a roof over your head.  After the war, of course, we hanged both Germans and Japanese for crimes committed during the war.  It's an object lesson worth learning.

Americans love Germans, and Japanese, as we love every other nationality.  But, we could not defeat radical Nazism until we defeated the Nazis and we could not defeat extreme imperial militarization until we defeated Japan.  Those were the challenges of the mid 20th century, just as Communism was the challenge of the late 20th century.  Now, in the opening years of the 21st century, radical Islam is the challenge to free, democratic nations.  They wish to return us to chattel slavery, to religious theocracy, and backwards social norms.  I, for one, am unwilling to go.

I fear that this is the problem with Islam.   We can't defeat radical Islamic terror without addressing Islam.  Islam is more than a religion, it is a political philosophy, and so far we have been unwilling to address it as a philosophy, but I fear that we must address it as such, even if the religion is damaged.

 If Islam is unwilling or unable to rein in its radical adherents, they must not complain when we do so.  There will be collateral damage, as regrettable as it may be.  With the recent attacks in Europe and the United States, we may not long consider the Islamic problem to be simply one of law enforcement.  T here may be a backlash, and the peace-loving Muslims may want to consider how that backlash may affect them, should they choose to ignore the problem within their religion.

They might not want to play Cowboys and Muslims.  Once the backlash begins, they may not have a chance to influence the outcome.  I'm just sayin'.

Edit to add*** Proofread and changed a century.  Thanks for noticing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rock and Fire

Yesterday after work, I got home to a quiet house.

I decided to do some training, reactive training, which looks remarkably like Cowboy Fast Draw.  So, I went out and set up the range.  It took about five minutes to set up.  The targets have a little light in them, when the light comes on, you draw and fire.  One shot.  If you hit the target, it trips the timer and you get a time.

For almost an hour, I'd wait for the light, rock and draw.  Turn around and look at the timer.  Reload, and wait for the timer cycle to reset, then rock and draw again.  Nobody bothering me, just me, a revolver and the timer.  Fifty rounds later I was done.

We're not going to talk about my times, because they're not important.  But I'm faster and more accurate than I was six months ago.  There is something about waiting for that light, then snatching and firing that is really calming.  I'm using wax bullets, but the mechanics are the same.  Draw and shoot, one round, then check your time.  Do it again, over and over, get into the rhythm. Wait for the light, then hit the target.  It's great reactive training and I recommend it to everyone.

It's true that I'm a fan, a cheerleader for Cowboy Fast Draw, but if  you can react to an outside stimulus, draw,fire, and hit a target in under a second, you're well on your way.  With more targets, I could set up double-taps, multiple engagements.  But, still, the first round is often the one that matters.

After that hour, Milady came home.  I asked her if she wanted to shoot, but she deferred.  So, we poured a cocktail and spent some time talking about the day.  Spending an hour shooting in the back yard is truly a relaxing way to wipe out the rigor of a Monday at work.

I should have gotten into this game 10 years ago.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fences and Dawgs

I know how this guy feels.  I used to have a beagle named Buck.  He was an escape artist, never a fence that could hold him, or keep him out of a place he wanted to be.

Fellow beagle lovers would tell me that they had a nice pen.  I'd bring Buck over, put him in the pen, the turn to walk back to the truck.  Buck normally beat me back to the truck.  He'd load up and wait for me.

He'd either dig out, or climb out, or something, but he'd always get out.  I finally had to build a kennel with a concrete floor, chain-link fence with a roof.  Even then I had to fine-tune it.  It seems that a four inch gap, six feet in the air was just the break he needed.

This guy needs to do a little fine-tuning as well.

I know the feeling.

River Crest

The big news here in central Louisiana this week has been the flooding.  All eyes have been on the Red River and the associated waterways that flow into it.  The tributaries are all backed up, but the one piece of good news is that the river seems to have crested, according to the hydrologic data.

That's the plot of the gauge at Alexandria, about 500 yards upriver from where I work every day.  Hopefully, the river will drop back into it's banks over the next week or so.  Of course, they're predicting rain for Wednesday night and Thursday.

Just damn.  We don't need any more rain for a couple of weeks, but we don't get to vote on the weather.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sausage and Gravy

Miady and I are always ooking for easy recipes that will feed out clan.  The recipes don't have to be quick, but easy is always best.  Last week at work, she stumbled across an idea that she brought home.  We played with the idea and came up with something we're going to call Sausage and Gravy.

Sausage and Gravy

4 lb smoked sausage (or Keilbasa, or Italian sausage, your shoice)
1 large yellow onion, chopped in big chunks.  Don't dice it.
2 nice bell peppers, sliced.
Brown gravy mix.  We use Tony Chacere's, but not everyone can find it.
Salt, pepper, of course, to taste.

Cut sausage into rounds, likewise chop onion and slice bell pepper.
Line a slow cooker with a slow-cooker liner.
Dump sausage, onion, bell pepper into the slow cooker.
Mix gravy according to label directions, pour over sausage.
Slow cook on low, 4-6 hours, until your mouth waters and you can't stand it any longer.

Serve over rice.    Feeds a regiment.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New World's Record

The big news in CFDA today is that Honey Badger, a shooter out of Colorado has broken the women's world record.  Her time was 0.357.  Under our rules she has three shots to "back it up", by making an additional shot that falls within 0.03 (three hundredths) of that time to be considered a valid World Record Shot.  This shot must be taken at a sanctioned shoot, and this weekend, they're shooting at the Four Corners Territorial at Pioneer Village in Arizona.

The amazing thing about this shot is that even before today, Honey Badger was the current ladies world record holder with a time of  0.359.  She raised the bar today by 0.002.  Honey Badger is a fine competitor, a joy to be around.  She's an ambassador for the sport, and I'm glad that she's reset the record two years in a row.

Congratulations, Honey Badger!  We hope to see you in Fort Worth next month.

Glock Generations

In the early '80s, when Gaston Gock unveiled his new pistol, it set the world on fire.  Whether you like them or abhor them, you have to admit that Glock's design has changed handgun manufacturing.  However, as time goes on, and manufacturing changes are made, we are now in the fourth generation of the plastic pistol.  Commonly called Gen1, Gen2, Gen3, or Gen4, it helps to know what generation of pistol you're packing.

Actually, for Gen1, Gen2, or Gen3, it really doesn't make that much difference. Gen4 came out with interchangeable backstraps to better fit various hand sizes, and if you're shopping for aftermarket parts, they may not fit the Gen4 Glocks.  So, if you're packing a Gen4 and need spare parts, it's good to know that you're packing a Gen4.

I didn't know that this was an issue, because I figured every gunny knew what pistol he or she was carrying.  I currently carry a Gen4, because that's what the Sheriff gave me to carry.  One of the first things I noticed, upon opening the box, was the marking on the side of the slide.

It says Gen4, right on the slide.  Even someone as ignorant of Glock design as I am can identify the generation of this slide. And I am wholly ignorant of Glock design.  While I appreciate the ease of use, the reliability, and the practicality of the design, I've never been curious about the innards.  It's a gun, and it shoots, and that's all I care to know.  It's simply another tool on my belt.

Brownell's Tech Tips offers lots of interesting information on various guns, and when I saw this clip, I had to click on it.

Yep.  It says Gen4 on the slide.  Easy identification.  Oh, if you find a frame without the slide, the Gen4 is the one with the removable backstrap panels.  That's the easy visual reference.

I'm glad I could clear that up for you.

Tired of Politics

I'm tired of politics, tired of elections, tired of the unending yada-yada-yada.  We have to go through this madness every four years, but we don't have to ike it.

I'm going to the range.  My and my lady are due for some fun!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Women, Shooting, Luxury Travel

Forbes has an interesting article on women, shooting, and luxury travel.  I'm heartened to see this in a high-end magazine, because it reflects my own experience in the shooting sports.  He extols the values and joys of shooting Sporting Clays  on Maryland's eastern shore.
Her one-liner also pricelessly captured a transformation happening to both luxury travel and politics in America from the lens of a small Maryland Eastern Shore town that is ranked #5 in millionaires per capita in the U.S. and one of the most popular places in the country for waterfowl hunting and shooting sports. 
He also talks about the economic impact that women make on sport shooting.
 While the NRA reports a 77% increase in the number of women who own firearms between 2004 and 2011 overall, it isn’t just for personal protection. According to a recent study called “Girl Power” by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the number of women hunters increased 84% from 2001 to 2013. Say goodbye to the good old boy days of chiggers, marsh slogging, and freezing in a duck blind. The Pinot Grigio, golf-cart era of shooting sports has officially arrived.
It's true, women spend money on shooting.  According to the NSSF, on average, $870 on firearms purchases, and $405 on accessories.  That doesn't count what their loved ones spend on gifts.  I myself have purchased guns for Milady on a couple of occasions.

As a plug to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, we love our women shooters and couldn't survive without them.   They serve as Match Directors, Regulators, score-keepers, instructors and shooters.  Without the women, the CFDA would be a pale imitation of itself.  The ladies give us color and depth and style.  They drive economic activity, because comfort is important, and accessories are a must-have.

Wench, from Colorado and Blue-Eyed Belle from Louisiana
While I make-do with a single, well-worn, belt-holster rig for cowboy shooting, my lady needs a minimum of two, because a black rig doesn't go with the things that a brown rig might go with.  And, as grandson Zach said last year, "I like traveling with y'all because you stay in nice hotels and eat at fine restaurants."

Indeed, in April, we're traveling to a match in Fort Worth, TX.  Five days of shooting.  And, as Zach said, we're going to stay in a nice hotel and eat at fine restaurants.  We're also going to a chuckwagon meal, and tourist around the historic Stockyard district of Fort Worth.  We'll probably buy a tee-shirt.  Shooting drives economic activity.

Our ladies keep us straight, keep us on the high road, and worry about the things that men might not worry about if the ladies weren't around.  One example might be this gal, below.

Texas Rose.  Staunch competitor, gracious host.

That's CFDA's Texas Rose.  She's a club president, a Regulator (In the CFDA, a Regulator is a trusted adviser who is entitled to interpret rules and certify training.), She's also a steadfast competitor, recognized last year with the second-place ladies Top Gun award.  She shoots in lots of matches.

In CFDA, the ladies are an integral part of the organization. They coach, they organize, they help us have fun, they set standards, and they lend color and dignity to the sport.

The ladies, strapped and gun-fighting.

As happy as I am with Forbes article, I'm surprised that they haven't recognized earlier that the women are shooting.  Our organization couldn't function without them.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Supreme Court Nomination

Unless you've had your head under a bushel basket, you know that Associate Justice Antonin Salia dies last month, and there is now a vacancy on the high court.  President Obama, of course, wants to nominate a replacement, as is his right and constitutional duty, has nominated a guy named Garland, an appellate judge.

This does no good, of course, because the Senate has said that they will withhold consent until after the election, which is also their constitutional prerogative.  (You know, that whole consent thing.)  Additionally, Garland is a lawyer, educated at Harvard, which doesn't do much for the diversity of the Court.

Professor Reynolds makes a good argument, one that I've refrained from making, about the requirements for a Supreme Court Justice.  (Basically, there aren't any.)
Maybe it’s time to name a non-lawyer to the Supreme Court. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires Supreme Court justices to be lawyers, and there are some pretty decent arguments as to why non-lawyers should be represented.
Indeed.  Justices should be persons of common sense and common decency.  Right now, the high Court is awash in lawyers, trained either at Harvard or Yale.  Not a very diverse group, certainly not reflective of the society they serve.  

You can read the good professor's arguments at the link above, but I agree with him.  Lawyers have a limited place on the Court, and if we're all accountable to the law, then we should all have a say in its application and interpretation.  This task is too important to rely on one narrow profession.

So, in the interests of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, I stand ready to serve.  If the current, or any future President decides to nominate a non-lawyer, I'd be happy to serve.  I would bring to the bench a strong understanding of the written Constitution, a general disdain for idiots, a firm grasp of justice, and a streak of sarcasm that would blow like a cleansing breeze through the hallowed halls of jurisprudence.

I do not seek the nomination, nor do I shy away from it.  Mr. President, I await your call.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


It's now spring time in Central Louisiana and today I had to run two errands after work.  One, to get an air filter and spark plug for the lawn mower.  Two, to get gasoline for the lawn mower.  Between trips, I asked the dawg if he'd like to ride and he jumped in the truck.

He thinks he's a big dawg when he's in the truck.  There's a general store down the road from the house that sells good, non-ethanol gasoline, which is what I use in the small engines.

A quick maintenance routine with spark plug and air filter, a simple once-over on the engine, and it started on the third pull.  The back yard is mowed and spring time is upon us.  I haven't mowed the front yard yet, it doesn't need it yet.  The grass isn't growing there, but in another week or so, I'll start the big mower and give it a once-over.  We're mowing weeds at this point, but they spring up fast and the yard will start to look shaggy.

PawPaw mowed the grass for the fist time today.  Here we go.

Louisiana Controverial Bills

As a palate cleanser, let's talk about some bills pending in the Louisiana Legislature that opened on Monday.  Courtesy of our friends at KPEL, they give us a list of bills that they consider controversial.

HB 4 – Allows anyone over 21 to carry a concealed handgun without a permit
This one doesn't look controversial to me at all.  Open carry is already legal in Louisiana, and this would only take us closer to both the state and federal constitution as a matter of law.  I think this will pass easily.  Let freedom Ring.

HB 69 – Requires 10-day waiting period for gun purchases
I consider this one dead-in-the-water.  Strict scrutiny and all that. Probably some damned Democrat from New Orleans pushing this.  It will never get out of committee

HB 94 – would allow the use of monkeys as ‘service animals
Heh!  Okay.  Where does one go to buy a monkey?  Are we talking orangutans or baboons, or ... the mind boggles.  Only in the Louisiana Legislature.... I bet that the committee session will be as much fun as a "barrel of monkeys".

HB 597- Allows religious groups to snub same-sex marriage ceremonies
This one should be a big "DUUH!"  Of course churches can refuse to do marriages that fall outside their religious convictions.  This one will pass easy and early. Churches can refuse to marry hetero couples if the marriage is outside of religious guidelines.  Same sex couples should be treated no differently.

HB 151 – Prohibits ‘sanctuary cities’
Yes, again.  This one should pass early and easy.  We decided most of the legal claims to ignore federal law once in this country.  We called that unpleasantness "The Civil War".  A state or local government ignores federal law at their own peril.

HB 153 – Prohibits felons from qualifying for or holding public office
I have to admit total ignorance on the law here, but I thought that was already the law.  Maybe not.  It would be interesting to hear the arguments from both sides.

And, finally, a bill to Let hunters wear “blaze pink” instead of just “hunter orange
Heh!  Why not?  I've got no problem with blaze pink, as long as it is safe.

There may be bills of more substance that come before the legislature this session, but as always, I say Let Freedom Ring.

Never Known Freedom

 It's sad that some people never know freedom, ostensibly living in a free country.

Let me digress for a moment.

You've probably by now heard of the tragedy of Jamie Gilt, a young Texas mother who was accidentally shot by her four-year-old son, who found a loaded handgun in the backseat.  A moment of inattentiveness, a moment of neglect, and a tragedy results.  Thankfully, Jamie will recover, but the story is so horrific that it's gone around the world.  You can read about it here.

We hope and pray, of course, for Jamie's full recovery and for the continuing health of her child.  But, we see that the story has been picked up by the anti-gunners and used for their own perverse propaganda purposes.

One in particular, John Niven, a Brit who has regretably never tasted freedom yet insists on lecturing us about freedom.  Niven lives in a peculiar democracy where self-defense is illegal, where rape is an organized event, and a country where Sharia courts dispense their own barbaric justice, yet he presumes to lecture us on freedom.  To wit:
It seems increasingly obvious that the real infant with a gun here is America itself. Watch it stumbling around like a giant toddler, wreaking untold havoc and then screaming its head off if someone dares to confiscate its beloved toy.
It’s about time someone took the toys away for good.
No, Mr. Niven, it is increasingly obvious to us that your country has more challenges with liberalism than you can appreciate.  You have become so accustomed to your nanny state, where multiculturalsm reigns supremse, where you are not allowed to defend yourself, where children are raped at organized events, that you have forgotten (if you ever knew) what freedom feels like.  More's the shame.  Your country is but a hollow shell of it's former self.  I weep for Britain.

And to all the Americans, listen to Joe Huffman.
Don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you that no one wants to take your guns.
That is all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dash-cam Footage

Dash-cam footage. I don't have any, and that's the problem

Saturday before last, March 5, Milady asked me to stop by the barbecue joint on the way home and pick up a rib plate.

Coming out of the parking lot, I got on a side street going to the main drag.  I was following a black Nissan Armada.  She stopped at the stop sign and I stopped behind the Nissan.  For reasons I can neither understand nor explain, I saw her backup lights come on and she backed into the front of my vehicle.

Crunch!  A small fender-bender.  She got out of the Nissan, apologetic.  "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, my Dad is going to kill me."

No big deal, I called it in.  In just a few minutes, a local city policeman responded to the scene, got out of his vehicle, and asked me what had happened.

"She backed into me.  For reasons I can neither understand nor explain, she put it in reverse and backed into me."

The officer went to talk to the young lady, then asked us to move to a convenient fast-food parking lot to clear the traffic lane.

We did the license, registration, insurance thing, waiting while the officer completed his paperwork.  The officer went into the restaurant to see if anyone had witnessed the event.  He soon came out, handed me my vehicle papers, and told me I was free to go.  So, I asked about the report and he said that it would be ready in five working days.  I departed the area, and went home to share a rib plate with my lady.

Discussing it with Milady later, I told her that it looked just exactly like any of hundreds of accidents I'd seen in my career; a simple rear-end collision.  I reflected to Milady that if the young lady told the officer that I rear-ended her, it would be totally believable.  It looked like a simple rear-end collision.

Yesterday, I went to the police station for a copy of the report.  Sure enough, the young lady changed her story between the time she apologized to me and the time that the officer spoke with her.  When the officer went in to the restaurant, witnesses told him that I had rear-ended the Nissan.  They heard the crash, looked up, and saw the aftermath of a classic rear-end collision.  They didn't see the crash, but they thought they knew what had happened.

Except that's not what actually happened. She backed into me, and in the intervening few minutes between crash and police, she changed her story.   In the final analysis, the young lady is getting a freebie,   It's a trifling matter, no one was hurt, and the damage is fairly easily repaired.  Except that I'm being blamed for something that is someone else's fault.  It rankles.

So, it appears that a dash-camera is in my immediate future.  I've been Googling around and reading reviews.  Popular Mechanics is a source I trust.  Surprisingly, the one that they rate best is the least expensive.

Do any of you guys use dash-cams?  If so, which do you like?  It'll probably be a week or so before I order one.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sear/Bolt Springs

Couple of weeks ago we were shooting in the backyard and had a sear/bolt spring turn loose on my Uberti Cattleman.  I wasn't terribly upset, as I had a spare, and my elder son and I replaced it in short order.  It looked like this:

After everyone went home, I Googled around and found that those flat steel springs are prone to break, right where mine broke.  Those flat springs might be okay on a revolver that shoots a couple of hundred rounds a year, but our revolvers shoot a couple of thousand rounds a year.

The answer seems to be a wire spring, rather than flat steel, and they're made by both Wolfe and Heinie.  They look like this:

I went to both Brownells and Midway USA and, of course, that particular spring is on backorder.  I fussed and cussed, and put them on my wish list.  Today I checked Midway, and they're still on backorder, but I cliked over to Brownells and they have them in stock.  Hooray.

The Heinie Spring is Brownells number 394-630-000WB
The Wolff Spring is Brownells number 969-322-940WB

I ordered a half-dozen of them to keep in the spares.  We're shooting four different revolvers that might use these springs, so having a few spares is prudent.  While I was at it, I ordered some Wolff reduced power springs for the Ruger Vaquero/Blackhawk.

The Wolff springs for the Vaquero/Blackhawk are Brownells Number 969-000-200WB.

I put those numbers up for my own reference, but I'm happy to share if anyone is interested.

Universal Background Checks

A new study from John Lott.  Universal Background Checks.  They don't help reduce mass shootings.
Persistent claims have been made that expanding background checks to include any private transfers of guns would reduce mass public shootings. Yet, this is the first study to systematically look to see if that is true. In fact there is no evidence that these laws reduce the risk of these attacks. Examining all the mass public shootings in the US from 2000 through 2015, we find that states adopting additional background checks on private transfers they see a statistically significant increase in rates of killings (80% higher) and injuries (101%) from mass public shootings. There is not one mass public shooting that occurred over that period where these checks would have prevented it from occurring.

 John said to share it far and wide.  I'm doing my part.

Army Handgun Training

And old film about handgun training from the Army.

The Captain says it is from WWII, and he may be right, but I remember seeing a similar film at Knox in 1976 when I went though the Basic Course.  And yeah, to answer your question, I was taught to shoot the 1911 one-handed long before the Army taught me to shoot it two-handed.

Years later, when I was instructing the 1911, I conducted a basic qualification course for a bunch of REMF officers.  Over the course of a day, my senior NCO and I put about 150 officers, from 01 through 05 through the course.  About three months later, an irate Lieutenant Colonel called me on the phone.

"Captain" says he, "I was looking at these records, I believe you pencil-whipped my qualification."

"Really, sir?" I responded, "How so?"

"I'm looking at my card, and you say I got 22 hits on the target.  That makes me an expert with the .45."  He sounded exasperated. "I've never been an expert."

"Look at your round-count, Colonel."


"Look on the right column of the score card, Colonel.  I gave you five, seven round magazines.  You had 35 rounds to hit those targets."  I paused. "Did you turn in any ammo?"

The phone was silent, I could hear him breathing softly as he studied the score card.  "I see," he said.  "I suck with the .45, don't I?"

"You said it, Colonel.  I didn't."

Markley's Law

I knew that there had to be a corollary to Godwin's Law.  Godwin's Law is an internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.  In other words, the longer an internet argument goes on, the greater the probability that someone will be declared to be a Nazi.

The basic rule of thumb is that the person who makes that declaration loses of the discussion.

Joe Huffman discusses a variant, known as Markley's Law.
That has to be some kind of variant of Godwin’s Law: As an online discussion of gun owners’ rights grows longer, the probability of an ad hominem attack involving penis size approaches 1.
As in Godwin's Law, the first person to violate Markley's law, also loses the discussion.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Flow Rate

Yeah, I checked the numbers.  Toledo Bend spillway is releasing over twice the flow rate of Niagra Falls.

I said yesterday that there was a lot of water flowing down the Sabine River, but I didn't really know how much water that spillway was pushing.


Summed up well, over at Instapundit.
 “The rise of Trump, love him or hate him, conveys an inescapable message: The United States’ political institutions are in decay, and voters are angry at a government that they perceive (correctly) to be broken.”
That’s true. The solution there isn’t very well thought out, nor is the anger at “tax cuts” (where’s mine?) but here’s a thought: When you have a society that can’t do things that need to be done because every change threatens somebody’s rice bowl or offers insufficient opportunities for graft, you’ve got a society that is due for a reset, not for incremental change.
 The thing is, resets are often kind of ugly.
The political class has failed us miserably.  On the Democrat side, we have Hillary Clinton, who is a corrupt politico currently under FBI investigation, and Bernie Sanders, and avowed socialist.  The Republicans aren't much better.  A neighbor referred to the Republican primary as "a clown show", and I didn't disagree with him.

Resets get ugly, and that's where we are during this political cycle.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


We had planned, this weekend, to travel to Silsbee, TX to shoot with the Big Thicket Bushwackers, a CFDA group that my cousin honchos.  Unfortunately, rising flood waters got them too.  There's a creek behind the range and the water rose up to take the range.  Not just muddy and nasty, but so completely that they needed boats to try and save the electronics and other valuables.

Here's my buddy Mudcat, standing in front of the range shack.

It doesn't appear that the water is inside the range shack, yet.  I've lived through backwater floods and I know that the water doesn't stop rising as soon as the rainfall is over.  I'm not sure how the waters work in East Texas, but here in Louisiana, the water might rise for another two or three days.

That shoot is obviously cancelled, so I talked to our club marshal about our home range.  He's concerned that the muddy road going into our home range might be impassable and that perhaps we should let the ground dry for a while before we try to get in there.  That's prudent.

Both Louisiana and East Texas has taken abig hit this weekend.  We'll spend the weekend trying to dry out and get ready to hit it hard on Monday.

The big laugh this morning was that the LDWF has warned people that flooding is imminent in the Saline/Larto lake complex.
“All property owners in flood-prone areas are encouraged to make preparations for this flooding immediately. Water levels are expected to rise quickly over the next several days,” an LDWF news release said.
The water level is rising and is projected to reach a level of 50.0 feet Mean Sea Level next Friday, March 18.
No doubt the water will continue to rise in Saline/Larto for the next several days.  All that water coming out of the creeks, streams, ad bayous has to go somewhere.  Just because the rain has quit doesn't mean that the flooding is over.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Some have to wait longer than others to be rescued.

I hope the little fella' made it.


The big news this week in Louisiana is rainwater, turning into flood water.  More water than we've had in four or five years.  We've gotten over six inches of rain this week, officially, but the downpours have been much stronger in some places than in others.  Some locales are reporting as much as fifteen or twenty inches of rain over a three-day period.

All that rain has to go somewhere, and what we have now is backwater flooding.  All the tributaries of the major rivers are full, all the major rivers are full, and the water has no where to go.  The water backs up, flooding areas that don't normally flood.  It's impressive to see the water.  It also makes travel difficult.

On the border of Louisiana and east Texas, we have Toledo Bend Reservoir.  A huge lake that stretches for about a hundred miles along the border of the two states.  Formed as part of the Sabine river basin, tributaries from both states feed into the lake.  When the lake fills up, all that water has to go somewhere, so before it tops the dam, they open the spillway.  It's impressive.

That video was dated yesterday.  It's raining out there now. The folks downstream have had as much rain as the folks upstream, but they have to open the spillway to relieve pressure on the dam.  The folks downstream are about to get a large gush of fresh water, and as of this morning, the small bridges between the damn and I-10 are closed.  Too much water, too much flooding, and travel between Louisiana and Texas is all but shut down.

 This will only get worse over the next couple of days.  Hopefully by next week, we can start to dry out, but until then, we've got to deal with a five-year rain event.

Here's another view, from a light aircraft.

That's a lot of water, rolling downstream.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Crawfish Boil

We had a crawfish boil tonight to introduce a bunch of people who might not know one another, differing sections of our large clan.

Thirty-five pounds of crawfish, five gallons of crawfish etoufee, about 10 pounds of potatoes and an equal amount of corn on the cob.  It was quite a feast, and I fed about 30 people, (give or take).  It was hard to keep track of the folks.

The kids, of course, would rather play with the crawfish than eat them.

It was great, and the rain held off while we cooked and ate and visited.  Tomorrow is soon enough to clean up.  All the crawfish heads are accounted for and PawPaw will haul those off tomorrow morning.  The one thing I'm sure of is that the raccoons from across the road can't get into them.

It's time to take a bath and lay down.


The big news in central Louisiana today, as in most of Louisiana is rain.  Heavy, soaking, inundating rain.

The news out of Natchitoches Parish yesterday was grim, with lots of rainfall (over 12 inches), plenty of flooding, water over roads.  My LEO brethren in Natchitoches Parish were up to their eyeballs in life-saving work.  Here in Rapides Parish we got an inch or so in front of the slow-moving frontal system, but this morning at 4:00 a.m., the bottom fell out.  Right now, outside, there is a heavy, thrumming rain with lightning and thunder.  A look at the weather map tells me it's likely to continue like this all day.

According to the weather-weenies, it's going to take this system about 24 hours to pass across us.  Some schools are already closed in our area due to flooding, and more will likely make the decision as the day goes along.

This is the same system that hammered east Texas two days ago, west Louisiana yesterday, and now it's our turn.  With an early snow melt up north, and this big gush of water, it's liable to be a very wet spring.  All that water has to go somewhere on it's journey to the sea, and we're the natural highway for water.  I'll be watching the hydrology on the river system over the next several weeks.  It's liable to get damned interesting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Family from Milady's side roared into town Monday night.  This particular crew from Missouri.  Milady and PawPaw are in full hospitality mode.  One thing I've always done is cook for crowds, so having an extra half-dozen mouths to feed isn't much of a challenge.

On Monday, we didn't know what time they'd be in, so we made a big crock pot of Italian Beef.   It's not a cajun recipe, but it's a crowd-pleaser.

Last night was gumbo.  The clan from Missouri didn't understand gumbo, which is simply a regional stew.  Like many cultures, we put our stamp on some particular foods, and gumbo is ours.  But, in the final analysis, it's simply a hearty stew, made from whatever happened to walk, swim or crawl past us.  Last night was chicken and sausage gumbo, but I brought home some good andouille and some good craft sausage and we talked about the differences in sausage, which is also a food that stretches across cultures.

Tonight, I'm going to pick up some catfish and alligator.  We're frying tonight.  If the weather doesn't cooperate, I'll set up the fryer in the garage.(and, it looks like the weather will be really crappy for the next 24 hours or so).  The kinfolks fry fish in Missouri, too, but I'm going to take the menfolk into the frying area and show them some tips on a nice, well-done Cajun fish-fry.

I tell you all this because I'm making a list of things we need (and today it's a short list), but I've got to work today, and in the pre-dawn darkness with a cup of coffee at my elbow, it's a good time to plan the rest of the day.  I'll schedule this post for later, because I hear Milady stirring and it's time to let the dog out.

Tomorrow evening, I'm boiling crawfish for them.  I've already reserved a sack of crawfish at my favorite seafood vendor, and she tells me that the ones coming up this week and very nice indeed.

It's off to the races at PawPaw's House, and we're having fun.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Let Freedom Ring

While I wasn't paying attention, the West Virginia legislature debated a bill to allow Constitutional Carry, passed it through both houses and sent it to the governor.  He vetoed it.  So, the legislature over-rode the veto.  Constitutional Carry becomes legal in West Virginia on May 26th.

Of course, the left-wing is having a case of the vapors.
West Virginia Overrides Governor’s Veto To Pass Radical NRA-Backed Gun Law
That's their headline, not mine.  From what I read, the bill doesn't allow full open carry, but simply decrees that no permit is necessary for persons over 21 to carry a concealed firearm.

This is a huge win, not just for gun rights, but for freedom everywhere.  As I understand it, the anti-gunners threw millions of dollars into the fight, and they lost big.  The nanny-staters spent millions and have zero return for their dollars, and that's a huge win in my book.

As Joe puts it:
Probably the best we can do is make the cost, in time, money, and public opinion, as high as practical such that the return on Bloomberg’s investment is as low as possible. In the case of West Virginia, gun rights supporters caused him to do the equivalent of setting a very large pile of $100 bills on fire. Bloomberg has an distressingly large number of $100 bills he is willing to throw on the fire but getting nothing reports of his failures in return for spending large amounts of money will be discouraging to both him and the people he is funding. It also demonstrates that the claim that “the greedy gun manufactures with lots of money” and the NRA get votes by outbidding the virtuous anti-gun activists is false. With this key assumption falsified it demoralizes them and makes it more difficult for them to recruit additional people and raise money from other people.
Let Freedom Ring

It Begs the Question

I'm a lifelong Louisiana resident, and I'm watching Louisiana's budget problems work out.  I check the paper this morning, and I find this little interesting snippet from
Lawmakers have two days left to find up to $200 million in order to close this year's budget gap. 
Jeremy Alford, publisher and editor of LaPolitics, said, "If they can't find that cash by Wednesday at 6 p.m., we're talking about furloughs of employees at universities, summer classes shutting down. There are hospitals that are providing services that need that funding." (emphasis mine)
Which begs the question?  Which hospitals?  Governor Jindal closed many state hospitals.  Central Louisiana State Hospital is a shell of what it used to be, so is the Huey P. Long hospital in Pineville.  We don't need public hospitals, because we have Obamacare.  Basically, all the state does is pass-through Medicade and Medicare money.  I'm told that there is a roughly $64 million dollar shortfall in the DHH (Department of Health and Hospitals) budget this year, and I wonder why that is so.  Many of our por are treated at private hospitals under government contract.

Isn't everybody insured?  Isn't that what Obama promised us?  If those people aren't insured, why aren't they insured?  It's the law, right?

As a local doctor told me this morning.  "We've got Obamacare.  Cut the state contract to hospitals by 10% and the budget problem is solved."

Louisiana's budget crunch can be attributed to many things, but saying that we need extra dollars to fund hospitals is nonsense.   When times are tight, Louisiana household tighten their belts and make do on the money that they have.  Louisiana government should do the same thing.  I'm tired of being taxed to provide for the pore-an-starvin'.  Lots of Louisiana families are hurting, and this tax-and-spend legislature is only going to hurt us more in the long run.

Monday, March 07, 2016


Let's talk about bluegill, my favorite panfish.  Bluegill is found all over Louisiana.  It's often the first fish caught by young anglers and the favorite of old men who want to feed a family quickly.  Bluegill can be caught everywhere, most likely on a cane pole with a worm or cricket, and lots of them are caught with very simple gear.  Mentally, I also link Chinquapin in the bluegill family, although they have a red ear, and they're called the Redear Sunfish by biologists.  They're not commonly found in the same water, so you're either catching Bluegill or Chinquapin.  The techniques are the same, the gear is the same.  The only difference is that red flash on the fish.

Louisiana has no limit on bluegill as a matter of law.  As a practical matter, my first father-in-law, Boonie, used to say that the limit on bluegill was the one that sank the boat.  You were simply being greedy and deserved to sink.

Let me tell you a story.

Back in the late '70s, I was in the Army, at Fort Knox, KY.  I had a good friend, named Neil, from Ohio.  He and I told lies, drank whiskey, and swapped yarns.  I told him about bluegill fishing in Louisiana, and he didn't believe me.  Simply couldn't comprehend.  The next year, I left active duty, came home and got on with my life.

A year later, Neil called me.  He was coming to Louisiana and wanted to go fishing.  I told him I'd pick him up at Fort Polk and we'd go.  We made plans, and I told my father-in-law, Boonie about the plans so that he could guide us.

On the day in question, I picked up Neil at Fort Polk and we drove the hour to Boonie's house.  We got in his truck, drove to Kincaid Lake, launched the boat.  I walked over to the bait stand and bought some crickets.

Boonie had a case of beer in a cooler, and told Neil that the one rule on the boat was that he could not have a beer until he put a fish in the cooler.  We wiggled that boat, an old aluminum john boat with a five-horse Elgin engine up in the sypress stumps and started fishing.  In just a few minutes, Neil caught a fish, dropped it in the cooler and snagged a beer.  And the morning commenced.  We got in a honey hole that Boonie knew about and in about two hours, we had drained the cooler of beer and filled the ice chest with bluegill.  Then, half-drunk, we motored back to the launch.

DWI wasn't really against the law yet, in Louisiana, so we loaded the boat and drove, half-drunk to Boonies house, where he instructed Neil on the proper way to scale and clean a bluegill for the table.  In two hours or so, we had cleaned that cooler full of bluegill ,  We counted 87 of them.

Boonie sent me up to the store for french fries and another case of beer, and when I got back to his house, he had assembled some family, set up the fish cookers and we commenced to drinking beer, frying fish, and listening to Boonie tell stories about fishing and hunting in Louisiana.  By dark, we had eaten the fish, drank the beer, and I loaded Neil in the truck to take him back to Polk.  Boonie gave us a bottle of peppermint schnapps for the road.  Did I mention that in those days in Louisiana, the DWI laws were fairly lax?  DWI was defined differently back in those days.

When we got to his BOQ parking lot, I asked Neil what he thought.

"Back at Knox, I thought you were lying to me." He said. "Now, I'm convinced that you were telling the truth.  I have never caught more fish in one day, in all my life."  He poured himself out of the truck, leaving me to return to Alexandria, trying to avoid the fine fellows in the Louisiana State Police.

My Dad said if before, and I'll say it again.  If you can't feed yourself in Louisiana, you deserve to starve to death.

We've got family from Missouri coming in for a visit in another hour.  If PawPaw gets time, he'll blog later this week, but don't count on it.  But, probably the next thing I should talk about is Daddy and his catfish traps.  It's a pretty good story.


Crappie, also known as white perch, or sac-a-lait (sack of milk) are a staple of Louisiana fishing.  Late February, early March is the best time for big crappie (and I have trouble typing that, we call them white perch).  Eaton Rapids Joe sent me to an article in a north Louisiana newspaper about some boys who have been catching some big ones in the Poverty Point reservoir.

Oh, and these are some slabs, in the 3.5 pound range.  Kudos to them, those fish are worth weighing.

Damned big white perch.  (Or, crappie, if you prefer.)

Joe's email reminded me of a time when my Dad was part owner of a barge on Toledo Bend, and the white perch were phenomenal.  Not in size, so much, but in numbers.

What we called barges, back in those days, many people might call party boats today.  Large pontoon vessels that would hold 12-14 people comfortably.  Dad and Chester built this barge in Chester's shop and christened it the Afta' Sundown.  It was designed specifically for catching white perch (crappie).  We might have 8 poles out at any time, rigged for white perch.

Chester knew a honey hole, out on the bank of the old Sabine river channel.  That channel runs through Toledo Bend and forns the Texas, Louisiana state line.  Chester would park the barge on that channel, anchor solidly, and rig the poles.  We'd commence fishing.

The limit, per person, was fifty (50) fish.  So, with Dad, and Chester, and I, and another sibling, and one of Chester's boys, we could catch 250 fish, legally, per day.  If we stayed out overnight, we could catch two limits each (the possession limit) of 500 fish.  At that time, the white perch on Toledo Bend averaged over a pound per fish.  Sometimes we'd get up to two pounds per, and we threw the small ones back.

So, if you figure an overnight fishing trip, 100 fish per angler, you might come back to the dock on Sunday morning with 450-500 fish.  Each fish would yield two, 4 oz filets, so we'd borrow an electric outlet at the landing, filet those fish with electric knives, and bring back about 200 lbs of pure, white, crappie filets for an overnight fishing trip.  It's not a bad way to feed a family, ad we ate lots of white perch (crappie).

Dad always said that if you can't feed yourself in Louisiana, you deserve to starve to death.

Maybe one day, I'll tell you about catching bluegill with my father-in-law, Boonie.  It was almost un-sporting, and there is no shortage of bluegill in the state o Louisiana.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

I Love YouTube

It doesn't matter what you're trying to do, there is a YouTube video to show you how to do it.  Some YouTube videos are instructive in what mistakes NOT to make, but if you search around for a few minutes, you'll find a pretty good video to show you how to do what you're trying to do.

For example.  Yesterday, PawPaw was driving his Mercury, and a young lady backed into me, with a Nissan SUV. It was a low-speed accident.  She is okay, I'm okay, and after she apologized, she said "My Daddy is going to kill me."  I doubt that, but we called the on-duty police and had a report done.

No real body damage on the sheet metal, but she crushed my header panel, the plastic/fiberglass/whatever thing that holds the headlights, grille and side marker lights.  A quick Gooogle shows that it's about $100.00 for the new header panel and several hours work.

Did I mention that I love YouTube?  I'm going to eave this right here where I can find it later.  It closely matches the damage to my vehicle, and this guy shows me step-by-step how to fix it.

In another week or so, I'll order parts.

Remember the Alamo

I am reminded that on this day in 1836, one of the great battles of American history came to an end.

On the morning of March 6, 1836, the Mexican Army under Anotio Lopez de Santa Anna stormed the walls of an old church complex in San Antonio.  Inside, some 187 (accounts and rosters vary) Texians opposed him.  By all accounts, the Texians beat back two assaults by their use of cannon and small arms fire.  The Mexicans regrouped and and under fire from the walls, found themselves bunched against north wall.  They soon breached it and the fight moved inside the complex.

Using captured cannon, the Mexicans blasted the doors of the long barracks.  The Mexican infantry swarmed the barracks and in minutes, the fighting was over.  No Texian defender was left alive.

The Texian defenders were launched into eternity and into history.  Their sacrifice was the flash point that propelled Sam Houston toward a marshy little meadow near present day Houston.

Remember the Alamo.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Saturday Club Shoot

Thorn Valley was out at the club shoot today, about 11 shooters on hand to enjoy the companionship and competition.

Club president Big Mark working with a new shooter.  We've gotten a lot of new shooters lately, and our club rolls are up to 21 members.  Last year at this time, there were barely 10 of us.

New shooter, Greg on lane one.  Greg is my son-in-law and just started shooting ast month.  New shooter, Rick on lane 2.  He has only been shooting a couple of months.  Old-hand Sal on lane 3.  Sal is one of the founding members.

We're growing the club and doing fine.  One shooter at a time.

PawPaw is home now, I stopped at a barbecue joint and got a couple of rib plates.  Milady and I scarfed them down and now we're having a late afternoon digestif.  I have a couple of pork butts in crock pots for puled pork tomorrow, and I'm just about to retire to my recliner.

Sunday will soon be on us.


This past July, Milady bought herself a revolver.  A Traditions Liberty Model.  This thing is engraved, with white PVC grips and it fits her hand.  Fits her hand just fine.  It has become her go-to CFDA revolver.

This particular revolver weighs in at 2 lbs, 7 oz, according to my household scale.

She's got a birthday coming up, and needed a back-up revolver.  I was walking through a gun shop earlier this week and found another Traditions revolver.  We're heading into the spring competition season.  I figured that another revolver of the same make would be better if her Liberty malfunctioned.   So, I picked up this other revolver, for her birthday.

They call this one the Rawhide series.  It's got a parkerized finish and walnut stocks, but it's basically the same revolver that she bought in July..  I gave it to her earlier this week, and when she felt it, she thought that it felt just a tad heavier than her Liberty.  So, I went out and put it on that same household scale.

If I'm reading that scale correctly, the new gun runs about 2 lbs, 6 oz, a full ounce lighter than her Liberty.  That shows that the minuscule differences in a firearm affect the way that we percieve weight.  The Rawhide is lighter than the Liberty, but by only an ounce.

Here's a side-by-side comparison.

The CFDA Journey continues.  I still have to lighten the mainspring on the Rawhide, but otherwise, Milady has two almost identical revolvers.  Both by Traditions. And, I'm reminded that I have now bought her a revolver for two birthdays in a row.

The Traditions company has been selling muzzleloaders for years.  Over the past couple of years, they've started selling centerfire revolvers.  The paperwork in the box says that these revolvers are made by Elli Pietta, an Italian outfit that's been making reproductions or years.  These two revolvers have a frame-mounted firing pin and a transfer bar, so they're not an exact clone of the old Colt Peacemaker.  It's safe to carry six rounds loaded in these firearms. Several companies use Pietta revolvers as the basis for their revolvers.  Traditions, for one, and Cimarron Firearms.  Of course, Pietta is a sponsor of the CFDA.

Another revolver added to the battery, and we're still on the gunfighter trail.  There's a club meeting today where we'll tune up for an invitational match next weekend with the Big Thicket Bushwackers, the club is Silsbee, TX where my cousin shoots.  We hope to take a dozen or so of the Thorn Valley crew.  Then, in late April, it will be time to travel to Fort Worth for a combined five-day shoot.  They're holding the Texas State Championship and the Southern Territorials on that 3rd weekend in April.  We'll be shooting at the Historic Stockyards in Fort Worth, TX.  They're calling it the Showdown in Cowtown and it should be a great shoot.  Milady and I already have reservations, vacation time is approved, and we're looking forward to five days of fun, friends, food, and competition.