Friday, November 29, 2019


We rolled out of Roswell, NM at 0900 CST and rolled into the driveway at 2230 CST.  By my math, we covered those miles in 13.5 hours.  We stopped for gas several times and ate lunch at a local place in Sweetwater, TX.

We ate at Buck's Steak and Barbeque.  If you ever stop there (and they have the PawPaw seal of  approval), do not be so weak as to order the large chicken-fried steak.  It was all I could do to get around the small one.  The boys both ordered the brisket sandwich.  I gave half my steak to one of the boys and Belle gave half her steak to the other one.

It is nearly impossible to fill up teenaged boys.  But, I reckon, with the time in New Mexico this morning and the time in Louisiana this evening it took us about 10 hours to waltz across Texas.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Roswell, Ruidoso

We ate lunch in Roswell with elder son, then decided to take a drive up into the Sierra Blanco mountains near Ruidoso.  The day was drizzly and grey, but the stark beauty of the mountains shown through.  For a boy who grew up in the swamps of Louisiana, these landscapes were simply amazing.

Fog, or clouds rolling over the mountain.
The elevation over the pass into Ruidoso was 6000 ft.  Not as high as Los Alamos (7171), but a lot higher than I had been in a while.

It's hard to capture the grandeur of these mountains.  I'm going to have to come back in the summer when I can get out of the vehicle and take better photos.

Tomorrow morning we're going to point the van east and start home.  With three drivers and a 12 hour jaunt across Texas, we should be able to make it in one day.  With luck, I'll be in my own bed sometime late Friday night.

Travel Day

Wednesday was a travel day, from the mountains of northern New Mexico to Roswell in the desert.

I don't know why it amazes me so, because I've sen Louisiana transition from piney-woods hills to to lowland swamp in just a couple of hundred yards.  Still, around here you're in the mountains one hour and the desert the next. 

From the mountains
to the flat desert
This landscape is so unlike everything I've lived in, I find it mysterious, beautiful, and alien.. 

Speaking of Aliens.

You can't do Roswell without the aliens.  Even the streetlights downtown have alien globes.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Day Tripping

We took a few hours to run into Santa Fe.  Too damned cold for sightseeing, but Belle wanted to go to a shopping center, and we took the time for a little car-touring and lunch.

Grandson Quinton driving, Belle navigating.  PawPaw was in the back seat  enjoying the ride.
Weird rock formation outside Santa Fe
Inside a restaurant in Santa Fe.  I don't remember the name, but the burritos were excellent.
Carne asada burrito.  It weighed about 2 lbs, and I ate it with a fork.
Mesas amaze me.
The Los Alamos Airport (KLAM) is 7171 MSL
We'll spend tonight in Los Alamos, then head to Roswell tomorrow morning. 


The snow in the mountains is totally unlike the show I'm familiar with from home.  While we don't get much snow at home in Deep South Louisiana, the mountains get plenty of snow, and it's light, fluffy, and dry.  The snow I'm familiar with is big flakes of wet heavy snow.

It's interesting, the regional difference of nearly everything.  Not better or worse, necessarily, but different.  Los Alamos is an interesting study in juxtaposition.  While the lab is still the main reason for this place to exist, and they're still doing science over there, it' is easy to tell that this place is basically a converted military town.  The housing, for the most part, is military quarters from the '50s or '60s, still in use, but privately owned.   So, when I look around, I feel like I've been here, knowing full well that I haven't.  The residential areas feel like military housing, which they once were.

The kids are at work, so we're going to go down the mountain to Santa Fe to plunder around for a bit.  I don't know how much sight-seeing we'll do, but Belle want to find a Best Buy, and there isn't any such thing on this mesa.   So, in a bit, we'll head to Santa Fe and meet the kids back here after work.

Monday, November 25, 2019


We spent the day in museums in Los Alamos.  Normally, a place has a history, but the history of Los Alamos began, basically, in 1939.  Oh, there were some homesteaders, but the government ran them off.  And, there was a prep school for wealthy east-coast boys, but the government ran them of and used the buildings to start the atomic lab.

They needed a place to blow-up stuff and this remote mesa seemed like just the place.  They've been blowing-up stuff ever sense.. 

Grandson looking at a replica of Fat Man, the bomb we dropped on Nagasaki to end the war.
Grandsons looking at a replica of Little Man, the bomb that put Hiroshima on the world stage.
It's been a day of museums.  The kids will be home from work soon and we'll plan supper.

Roswell and Los Alamos

Belle and I are touring this week with a couple of grandsons.  One of our sons lives in Roswell, NM, working for a huge manufacturer of cheese.  Another son lives in Los Alamos, NM, where his wife works as a veterinarian and he works for the park service.  So, we're touring around, visiting kids.

We drove across Texas in one day, Saturday.  That in itself is no small feat and when we rolled into Roswell on Saturday evening, we were whacked, and fell into bed.  We got up yesterday morning, ate lunch with elder son, and drive north to Los Alamos, got here last night just after dark.

The kids are at work, so we're going to tour about here today.  I want to see the Manhattan Project museum and the Bradbury Museum, then we'll meet back at the house for the evening.

We;ll leave here Wednesday morning, and return to Roswell, where we'll spend Thanksgiving.

We will load the van on Friday morning and head east, planning to make Texas again in one jump.  With luck, I"ll sleep in my own bed on Friday night.  If, not, on Saturday.  One thing I've learned so far on this trip is that altitude is a thing.  At 7300 ft elevation, I can't climb stairs like I can at 87 feet where I normally live.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Life Events

There are certain days that we all remember, life events that affected us all, in ways large and small.  My dad's generation had Pearl Harbor ad ormandy.  My generation had several, but this is the first one I remember.

If you want to play an interesting alt-history game, consider what might have happened if Oswald has missed.

So What? It's Not Illgal

I see breathless reports coming from California that the school shooter last week used a "ghost gun".  These are generally defined as a gun without a serial number, assembled from parts.  They put in in scare quotes, like its a bad thin.

Let me tell you a little secret:  All guns are assembled from parts, and serial numbered frames were not required before 1968.  These are still perfectly legal.

Large manufacturers like Colt, Smith and  Wesson, Remington, Winchester et. al.  used serial numbers to help with book-keeping, but many manufacturers did not.  Adding a serial number was an additional manufacturing step and was not required by law until 1968. 

Properly made firearms might last well beyond the fifty years since serial numbers have been required.    It is not uncommon to stumble across and old gun that was found in granddad's closet that doesn't have a serial number.  There is nothing malevolent about these guns.  They were simply manufactured at a time before excessive government regulation.

And,, to recap:  All guns are built from parts.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bean Soup

Mamma used to cook this, it was an all-day affair.  Nowadays, not so much.

My sister-in-law gave me a pressure cooker that she didn't use and I've been playing with it.  It will cook two pounds of beans to tenderness in 30 minutes, it's quite the time-saver.  This soup uses white beans, either Great Northern or Baby Limas.  Today, I used Baby Lima beans.

Bean Soup
2 lbs dried white beans
1 lb tasso (a Cajun smoked ham.)
Salt, Pepper
Belle Pepper, Celery (Or frozen seasoning blend)
Three medium russet potatoes
Chicken broth

Rinse and sort beans, put them i the pressure cooker for 30 minutes.
Saute vegetables.
Chop tasso into tiny bites (about 1/4 inch)
Wash and peel the potatoes, chop them like the tasso.

When the beans are done, release the pressure on the cooker, slowly.  Dump everything into a slow cooker and turn it on high for a couple of hours.  This will cook the potatoes and let the flavors blend.  Serve with saltine crackers.

And, thanks to sister-in-law for the pressure cooker.  Belle has one in the house, but now we have one in the shop as well.  It will get a lot of use, I promise.

When the boys get home from school, we'll break out the saltine crackers.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Terrible Idea

How to make gun cotton using easily available hardware store stuff.

I've been watching the Modern Rogue for a while, and I don't know how I missed this one.  Nitrocellulose is a precursor to smokeless gun powder.  There is a reason that it is called gun cotton.

That Football Thing

I'm not a football fan.  Especially the NFL, and it has nothing to do with the kneeling controversy.  I wasn't a fan for years before; I simply had better things to do on a Sunday afternoon.  But, it is impossible to not know that last week, a Brows player ripped the helmet off a Steelers player and smacked him with it.

And, the question becomes: Should he be criminally charged?  I think not, ad I'm happy to explain it.  It goes to something called implied consent and the Games People Play.

We can all pretty much agree that it's against the law to shoot someone, but if a bunch of folks get together to play paintball, it's good clean fun.  However, if you take that paintball gun into the Dollar General and light up the cashier, you can believe that the cops will be along soon to admonish you.  Consent is important.

Another example:  If I slip up behind my wife and kiss her on the neck, it's endearing.  But, if I try that with he clerk at the Dollar Store, the police will be along shortly.  It's all about Consent.

Laws vary from state to state, but pretty much everything that happens on a football field could be considered an assault, or a battery.  The simple act of suiting-up and stepping onto the field implies consent that you know you may  have the living-hell knocked out of you.  It's part of the game.  It has rules and it has penalties, and the players are disciplined for breaking the rules.

I don't watch much football, and especially not at the NFL level.  I believe that they are overpaid, pampered prima-donnas who generally spend too much time playing a child's game.   But, its a huge money-maker and I understand why some people like it.  I simply have better things to doon Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Louisiana Screws Itself

Louisiana has once again elected a Democrat governor, by the slimmest of margins.  The deep-blue urban voters came through to elect a governor that would be unacceptable as a Democrat in many areas of the country.  He's pro-choice, pro-Second Amendment, and claims to be bi-partisan.  We will see how bi-partisan he truly is, because our legislature is solidly Republican, with a super majority.  Hopefully, he won't do any more harm than the has already done.  Louisiana is shedding population, and precisely the population no state wants to shed.  The taxpayers are leaving at a prodigious rate.  I, personally, had two adult, tax-paying children leave Louisiana this past summer for better opportunities than they could find in Louisiana.  This outward migration has occurred thousands of times this year, to the tune of Louisiana population declining by some sizable percentage of the population this year.

But, the urban tax-grabbers want to elect another Democrat.

It was a close-run thing, but Louisiana should be ashamed.  Our only hope now is the Legislature.  With a super-maority, hopefully we can tamp down the excesses that the governor wants to foist upon us. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Peanut Brittle

We had a family gathering today, and while we were preparing, Belle whipped up a quick batch of peanut brittle.  She makes this treat occasionally, normally during the cool months, and today she had a sweet tooth.

This candy is easy, it really is.  It's all done in the microwave.  The recipe is here.

In Louisiana, it's a big voting day.  This is our general election, and were deciding our governor and a host of local races all over the state. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

School Shooting Southern Cal

Evidently, there was a huge problem at a high school in southern California today.
The Santa Clarita Sheriff's Department just held a press conference and confirmed that two students aged 16 and 14 have died in the hospital. The shooter is alive but gravely injured and under medical care. The shooter's social media accounts are being investigated. The weapon used was a semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol. Thursday is the shooter's 16th birthday.
It's quite disturbing the number of laws that were broken there today.  By my calculation, it is quite illegal for a 16-year-old to possess a handgun without an adult around.   It's also illegal for a handgun to be on a school campus, and it's decidedly illegal to shoot someone with it.

I would also note, for the record, that once again, a mass shooting happened in a gun-free zone.   I haven't seen any reporting on how the shooter became wounded, whether by his own hand, or by other armed personnel.

Safety Tip

A winter safety tip from the Glen Rose (TX) Veterinary clinic.

That's good advise, and a cautionary tale.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Baked Mac and Cheese

My grandfather would make macaroni and cheese whenever he got a hankering.  Not that stuff in the box, no, this was baked in the oven.  He'd start digging in the cabinets, looking for pasta, and he didn't care.  Elbow macaroni, spaghetti, even lasagna noodles would go in the pot.  While that boiled, he'd grate whatever cheese he could find, mix it all in a bowl, and add mild, then stir in a little salt and pepper.

When the noodles were cooked, he would drain them, put them in a casserole, and add it the cheese/milk mix, stirring it together. Then he'd add enough milk so that he could see it was enough (Sorry about that) and put the casserole on a cookie sheet.  I asked him about that.

"When it boils over, it's done."  He'd take it out of the oven and let it rest on the stove top for a few minutes to firm up. 

That's what I cooked today.  Along with a standard green-ban casserole, and made a big honking meatloaf. 

The boys will eat when they get off the school bus, and later they can nuke a plate if they are peckish.  I'm done cooking today.  And, yeah, the mac and cheese boiled over when it was done.  Good thing I had a cookie sheet under it.

Hillary Dreams

Hillary evidently said on BBC: I Think About What Kind of President I Would Have Been All the Time'

I bet she does, which is why I'm very happy that Donald Trump is president.  Frankly, I"m tired of listening to her whine.  She's not the first person in America to lose an election.  (I know; I lost one last month.)

But, America moves on.  And we've done quite well without Hillary. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Global warmening has bit us in the butt.  The weather-weenies are telling us that a severe arctic front has descended upon us, stetting records all over the US.  Here is the weather-weenie graphic for central Louisiana.

Wut?  19 frigging degrees tomorrow morning?  Yeah, I ain't in the mood for that.  I"ll spend a goodly portion of the day making sure that our stuff is going to be okay.  I have seen 19F before, but I don't believe I've seen it in November.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veteran's Day

I am not a hero.  I'm a soldier. 

I have known heroes and was privileged to walk beside some very heroic people.  To a man, they were always a bit surprised that people called them heroes.

I simply served the best way I knew how, based on the training and experience of my mentors.  Many of them didn't realize what mentoring meant, had never heard the word.  They were my superiors, and insisted on a rigid code of behavior and a firm reliance on discipline.   They didn't like me much, or at least never showed it, but they were always fair about what they expected of me because they expected the same things of themselves and the other people that they supervised.   We stood in the same mud and breathed the same dust.  They were there with the rest of us.

I had good duty, and crappy duty, but the duty I remember best was the duty that was the crappiest.  It was there I was the happiest.  In the field with other soldiers, doing soldier-stuff.  The absolute joy in a hot cup of bad coffee after a cold, wet, night.  The honor and privilege of commanding American soldiers.  When you tell a soldier to do something dangerous, and he looks you in the eye, says, "Yes, sir.", then picks up his rifle and walks off, trusting that you know what you are doing.

I'm not a hero, but I had the privilege of commanding heroes.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Convert Stroke to Torque

I wonder how long it took him to figure out that set of angles.  Of course, two 45s make a 90.

It looks like the little gizos that were in my grandfather's shop..

Friday, November 08, 2019

Eleven Years

Has it been eleven years since Federal announced the development of the .327 Federal Magnum?  It doesn't seem like that long ago.  There is a nice article here about the development of the cartridge.

I've never been much o a fan o the .312 bullet, but Belle is.  She has always liked .32 revolvers and has a nice Colt D Frame in .32-20 as her car gun.  Several months ago, she saw a video on the new Charter Arms Professional and decided on the spot that she wanted one, to retire her antique Colt in favor o something more modern.

We started looking around, and finally found one at    They had them cataloged, but on back-order, so we checked the site often.  Earlier this week, they became in-stock, so Belle clicked the button and got one heading this way.  We got the call from the FFL yesterday and we'll pick it up this morning.

Belle is getting a new gat.

Thursday, November 07, 2019


The truth continues to come out about Jeffrey Epstein, the serial pedophile, purveyor of young girls to the rich and famous.  James O'Keefe from Project Veritas has a new leaked video where ABC News Amy Robach claims that she had the whole story three years ago. 

She should watch her back, indeed.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

It's Getting Hot

Not the weather, the weather is beautiful.  What is getting hot is the general election in Louisiana.  We have Dem governor John Bel Edwards being challenged by Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.  Rispone wasn't my first choice, but he's the Republican in the race and I doubt I'll ever vote for a Democrat again.

Below is one of the ads going around.  In the original ad, a Dem PAC drew direct parallels between candidate Rispone, President Trump and failed KKK leader David Duke.  The ad is despicable.  But, Governor Edwards has cover, correctly claiming that he did not run the ad.  Still, anyone with two firing synapses knows that he was aware of the ad before it ran, and he certainly hasn't disavowed the message.  Let's listen.

That's the Race Card, folks, and it is despicable.  It's how the Democrats like to win elections, and I"m tired of it.  In state and local elections, I used to sonsider the candidate over the party, because the Southern Democrats were by and large, more conservative than the northern and coastal wings of their party.  But, ads like this taint my view of the Democrats to the point where I can no longer pull a lever for a Democrat at any level.

Early voting is upon us in Louisiana, and in a few minutes I am going to the poll and exercise my right and privilege.  I won't be voting for any Democrat on any level.  I'm tired of the race card. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

BMW Isetta

The BMW Isetta was a quirky little microcar built by BMW from 1955 till 1962.  I've only seen one in my life, but evidently the aficionados are quite adept at keeping these things running.

Today, we find a picture of an Isetta that has been extensively customized,  and seems quite ready to deal with any problem that might occur.

Yeah that appears to be a Ma-Deuce mounted to that thing.  I don't know where the gunner would stand. I found the photo on Brownell's Facebook page.


With the change from daylight time to standard time, I'm in the same mood as these two pups.

I understand, pup.

Monday, November 04, 2019


Grandson Quinton comes in from school ad finds me in the shop..  He's hungry.  Wants a burger, so we fire up the stove.  I'm not firing up the griddle for one burger.  What does he want on the burger?  From bottom up:  toasted bun, quarter-pound hamburger patty, hashbrown patty, cheese, fried egg, tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard, and salsa.  Topped with the toasted bun.

He ate it with a fork.

Honor and Privilege

I went to a funeral yesterday.  A Vietnam-era veteran who my wife knew.  I went not for him, I hand never met him, but for Belle, and his family, to show respect to a veteran who had served honorably.

There was an honor guard, provided by a local veterans organization.  They fired a salute and folded a flag, presenting it to his survivors.  He wasn't currently married and had no children, so his sister took possession of the flag.  I wore my Cav hat, out of respect After the ceremony, I thanked the honor guard for their service.  They told me it was an honor and a a privilege to serve deceased veterans, to show the last measure of respect to veterans.

One thing I found interesting during the sad, somber event, was the rifles that they sued to honor the dead.  They used Garands.

Veterans die, just like everyone else.  It's comforting to know that veteran organizations exist to provide that last measure of respect.  They provide pride and dignity to what otherwise might only be a sad and somber event.    If you ever see these guys at a funeral, go over and thank them.  They provide an invaluable service.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Turkey Shoot

We hosted an old-fashioned Turkey Shoot at the church yesterday, as part of our Fall Festival.  We got some prizes donated (Turkeys, hams, etc),  It's fairly simple in concept.  A shooter buys a target and posts it on the target holder, normally approx 25 yards away from the firing line.  The rangemaster hands them one shotgun shell and they fire at the target.  Then retrieve the target for scoring.  The scorer measures the closest individual shot pellet from the tiny X at the center of the target.   The closest shot wins.  Our target is down below, for reference. Any shotgun, any gauge is allowed, but every shooter uses the same shells.  I had a whole bunch of shells in my stocks, all in 7 1/2 shot, so I donated those to the match.

I had shells in four gauges (12, 16, 20, and .410) and ran a two-lane range so that I could control safety.  We shot men, women, and youth divisions, and we had a wonderful time.

This was the first Turkey Shoot I had done at this church, and the members were unsure what to expect until they saw it on the ground, then got into it with the sort of friendly competition that comes when you combine a beautiful day, firearms, and safe, friendly competition.  And yes, my scorekeeper was using a micrometer to score the targets.

When all the prizes were given away, we folded it up, did a quick police call, and went on to enjoy the rest of the day.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Deer Down

My daughter knocked down her first deer this morning, hunting at a camp that her husband's family has hunted for years.  The deer was taken early this morning from a box stand. at approximately 200 yards.  A nice little meat doe weighing 115 lbs.  That's a pretty standard doe for this area.

The rifle is a Ruger American in .308 Winchester, with a Leupold scope.  The ammo is unknown, but I gave her a bunch of handlooads last year.

Beto Drops Out

Everyone is reporting that former congressman Beto is dropping out of the presidential primary.  Good for America.  His most specious argument is on gun control, and it's toxic.  It's also easily deconstructed, as Colion Noir so effortlessly points out.

Good riddance.  Beto is an opportunistic liar who only wants to be relevant and is willing to do anything to maintain the illusion.

I also see that Kamala Harris is closing campaign offices and firing staff.  That's good for America as well.