Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sheltered youth.

~1983. I was hanging out over at the house of a neighbor kid's, and we were listening to his new "jam box," as we had been told it was called. Zounds! A radio, integral cassette player and recorder, with a pair of 6" speakers and, most impressive to my 11 year old self, a 3-band graphic equalizer. Wowie.

So, as we sat listening to my buddy's rock album, his older brother came in, and gave us a measure of crap for listening to "that gay band." We were up in arms. No, we didn't even play the "not that there's anything wrong with that" card-- we just denied that it could be the case. This particular song that we were listening to was tough! Edgy! The singer was talking about kicking some butt! How could you think anyone in that band was homosexual? They didn't even exhibit the classic gay features (whatever those were. I guess to wear a pink lace dress. I didn't exactly know what I was talking about.).

Looking back, I might have been in error.

The band? Queen. The song we used to defend their heterosexual chops with? "Another One Bites The Dust." Maybe I would have figured it out, if I had seen this live performance.

Ol' Freddy sure 'nuff was a showman, wudn't he?

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Talk about rape a bit, won't you?

Yet again, my friend LabRat intelligently opens discussion on a difficult topic. Rape.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Outsourcing media.

Evvvvvvveryone's a reporter. Evvvvvveryone's the star of their own movie.

The local Fox 4 TeeVee station gets it just about right.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proof that LawDog speaks truth... his tales of Africa. Regular readers here will know of my personal friend and fellow Texas lawman LawDog's writings about Africa, where he spent a good portion of his youth. Some of his tales of Africa are pretty funny. It seems like every man I've ever met who comes out of Africa has an interesting story or two to tell about air transport there, and LawDog is no different in that respect-- he just tells the stories better.

From the, we get a story of African aviation that precipitates a headline that is made of win: "Aircraft Crashes After Crocodile On Board Escapes And Sparks Panic"!

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Remember: The News Media Are Smarter Than You, And You Suck.

LabRat knocks one out of the park, on the amusing situation in which a media feeding frenzy on Sarah Palin causes shark-brained journalists to feed on each other... and themselves.

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Proving his point, exactly.

I've always prided myself on being able to look at and try to understand the opposing viewpoint, even when I don't agree with it. Sometimes it's admittedly for irritainment, but often I'll review a viewpoint that I may believe is largely biased, in search of actual content. For the last 18 years, I've listened to a lot of National Psocialist Radio. I can't help it-- the stories are longer, the soundbites are longer, and sometimes the stuff in insightful. Other times while shouting at my windshield, I would have to call it incite-ful.

While Nina Totenberg and the rest can drive me nuts with their bias on occasions, I've generally been pretty impressed with one of their news commentators, Juan Williams. Don't misunderstand me-- I disagree with his views a lot. But I've respectfully disagreed with the man. He's not an idiot. He doesn't just parrot PC speech. But he's by no means on any particular wing of the political spectrum.

I was a bit surprised to learn that Fox News had him as a political contributor, but apparently, they hired him before they had decided to become The Voice Of The New Conservative. (Yes, I'm just as irritated at Fox as I am at NPR. Maybe more so, because Fox doesn't even hide that they're bending their broadcasts right, apparently in an attempt to straighten out the left-biased other reporting.)

It didn't surprise me at all that Juan Williams would be on as a guest on "The O'Reilly Factor." After all, Bill O'Reilly routinely takes on guests that he disagrees with, lets them say something that he finds discordant, and then talks over them, drowning them out to the glee of his followers. It's so common, it's hardly even an ambush anymore, as anyone that he interviews that has even seen his show knows that he's going to do it.

I suppose that Juan Williams thought that, given his other status as a paid commentator for Fox News, he would get a little professional courtesy out of Bill O'Reilly, and would be allowed to finish his point before being interrupted in a discussion about whether it was correct to generalize all Muslims as dangerous. Williams, who was making the point that it was wrong to make such sweeping generalizations, opened a comment with a disclosure of how he personally had a long way to go before he could drop his own stereotypes, citing an example of how he had felt uncomfortable on an airplane with several traditionally-dressed Muslim persons. He was then cut off, and that comment was left to hang, out of context.

Today, NPR has fired Juan Williams, saying remarks "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

Apparently, the Council on American-Islamic Relations had complained.

I'm confused. The NRA has complained about how Nina Totenberg has shown blatant anti-2nd Amendment bias in her statements, but she hasn't been fired. (For that matter, the only time she has been fired was when she got caught plagiarizing, back in the '70s.) So you can rail against a constitutionally-guaranteed right on-air, but not candidly admit elsewhere (in a non-journalistic capacity) that you are overcoming personal biases that you find distasteful?

The meat of what Juan Williams was arguing with Bill O'Reilly about, at the time of the discussion at issue, was political correctness. And as Alan said to me this morning, "of course, NPR proves his point about paralyzing political correctness."

And so it goes.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recovery Position.

I'm not a paramedic. I'm not even a first aid instructor. I'm just a guy who's arrived first on a few scenes, and who listened when he was given first-responder first aid classes.

You won't live long if you don't breathe. While the rescue breathing portion of CPR is more and more being left out of the protocol, you're the new protocol still facilitates breathing, by clearing the airway and doing compressions. Breathing is essential, and it's still, for the time being, letter "A" in your A-B-C priority list. (Of course, if there's heavy bleeding, you're going to have to skip down that list a bit. Life is dynamic, you know?)

I bring this basic fact up, because time and again, I arrive on a scene to see something like the following: Man on the floor, on his back, unconscious, vomiting. Towels have been placed around him by someone else to attempt to clean up the vomit. The worried family member who has let me in has asked for no sirens because it will disturb the neighbors/the kids/Sumdood. As I lean over to assess the guy to advise our medics of his condition, a spew of vomitis, or saliva, or blood, or a combination of the three, is coughed up at me. Marvelous.

If you find a person who is unconscious, and cannot be revived, you need to protect that airway. Unless you know that it will cause other more serious harm (like with crushed ribs and/or spinal injuries), get them into the Recovery Position, right quick.
Simply put, the Recovery Position gets the patient on his side, with bent knee and outstretched arm to prevent rolling back over. The mouth should be slightly down cast to let matter drain. The chin is up to open the epiglottis.

And that's it. If you're of similar size, getting a person into the recovery position takes about four seconds. If they're much larger than you, then you're going to have to think about how to use their limbs as lever arms to get them onto their sides. If you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT do it, then call for emergency assistance right away, explain that you can't move them, and then go monitor the patient's airway, keeping it clear. If they're pregnant women, turn them onto their left side to keep the uterus off of the vena cava.

Look, some people have survived seizures, heart attacks, strokes, drug or alcohol-induced comas, etc--- all to die from the complications (like pneumonia) from aspirating fluids. Help them out, please.

Have a plan. When the emergency arises, put it into action. You can do this.

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Regarding pets: Some things need to be said.

Y'all know that I have a cat. Two, actually. They're indoor/outdoor cats, because I'll be damned if I'm going to change a litterbox, more less have a dirty one in my house. I like cats. I like dogs. I don't understand the insistance that some make that you're a "dog person," or a "cat person," and ne'er the twain should meet.

Regarding normal residences:
More than two full-sized indoor dogs is a lot of damn dog. I'm going ot step on toes and say probably too much.

But 10 or more indoor cats? That's wayyyy beyond the pale.
20 or more outdoor cats is too many, too.

7 or more outdoor dogs, unless you have extra land and kennels, is way too many.

I've been running into this a fair bit, lately.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Unexpected sidetrip.

After we got the venison boned out and under dry ice, Vine took me to his favorite range in Grand Island, Nebraska. It was a bit of a drive, but the trip proved to be worth it.

First he took me by the Hornady plant. This was nothing short of a treat.

After we signed their guest book, a nice gentleman named Paul came out, and took us on a tour of the plant. We got to see how the lead came in in huge ingots, was cast into 180 lb cylinders of pure lead, 3% lead, and 5% lead, and then moved to the extruding machine. This extruding machine was amazing: it pressed the cylinders up into a forcing cone, pushing out lead wire of the proper diameter, which was then rolled onto large spools. I was most impressed to find out that this was done with cold lead! The force of the hydraulic press seemed incredible. We got to watch as tapes of brass (mostly copper) film were pulled off of spools that looked remarkably like movie reels, to have coins stamped out of them, and other machines took the coins and stamped them into brass cups. We saw other machines punch out those cups into longer cups, then shove the proper diameter of lead wire into them before sizing the bullet down to the wire, putting in the cannelure, sizing down the jacket to the proper ogive, inserting synthetic ballistic tips, crimping it, and kicking it out. Paul handed us each a .338 bullet and a 150g .308 bullet, literally hot off the press.

Then we got to go down to The Tunnel. I had seen pictures of this so many times, not the least of which in the front of my Hornady Rifle Handloading books. We saw testing done at 100 yards with test barrels, and looked at the target at 200 yards. The techs down there would load up some rounds, and test some of the bullets of each loading every 100,000 rounds, to test the accuracy. Doesn't sound like very often, until you realize that they're punching out 2 million bullets a day.

They have a very, VERY nice vault full of specimens of guns to test fire out of, too.

In the tunnel, I looked at the test rifles, and noticed that one of the test barrel had a piezo-electric pressure sensor wire leading out of the lab to the computer outside. But on the shelf above it, standing by as backup, was the Old Way: a copper crushing setup. This was the method used for over a hundred years to check pressure before pressure sensors were created; they literally allow the pressure to crush a cylinder of copper, and measure the length of the post-fired cylinder against the length of it pre-fired.

After the tour, we went back up to the front lobby, and talked with our guide. It seems that the Hornady family wants shooters among its staff. They guys running the presses, the gals packing the boxes, and the ladies at the front reception area all are shooters. Betty, the friendly mature lady who rang me up for some factory reject bullets* that I bought on my way out, is apparently quite the competitor in the shooting sports.

As we were about to leave, VP Jason Hornady saw us, and asked if we preferred red or green. I said red, and Vine said green. He presented us with some very nice hats with the Hornady logo on them, in those respective colors.

These people know a little something about building customer loyalty. Leaving the plant with my swag in hand, I kind of wished that I had shot my deer with the Hornady 250g .35 Whelen loads that I had for my Springfield, rather than the Noslers with my .243.

On to the range.
*About those "Factory Rejects." I gather that they are basically just cosmetically-deficient, but they sold them. Paul assured me that I would like them. I got 100 of their all-copper GMX .308 150g bullets, and 200 of their 220g RNSP .308. The price reduction was so awesome, I can't really say it here. But now I have to figure out what in the hell I'm going to load all those 220g thirty bullets into. Suggestions? We have the normal thirties.

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I'm going to have to face it: I like people.

Look, I know that I'm supposed to be bogged down by the crushing weight of my knowledge of how sucky humanity is. I know that I'm expected to be all cynical, especially because I'm a cop, and know the evil that men and women do.

But I just can't muster the across-the-board disgust. The fact of the matter is, most people are just folks, and most of them are actually kind of interested in doing the right thing. And, without looking too very hard, you find that there are a lot of really nifty people out there.

There are area experts who are willing to share their knowledge, for free, just for the price of you asking them to.

There are bakers who will work hard to make something tasty, just to see you smile when you try their wares.

There are fellow travellers who will stop and help you when you're broken down, just because they really would want someone to help them.

There are store clerks who genuinely want to know if you're having a good day, and then hope that they can help your day get just a bit better by the time you've left.

Vine and I, while getting gasoline and soft drinks at an Omaha convenience store, found ourselves chatting with a friendly clerk. She was a middle-aged Mid-Westerner, with just a hint of Fargo in her voice, who smiled because she wanted to, not because the job made her do so. We walked out, pocketing our change, and commented on how that one person had managed to brighten our respective days. I sort of felt like this guy.

I don't expect you to become a fat, dumb, and happy person all the time. Not in the least.

But I do wish to remind you that there's a whole world full of decent, pretty awesome people, who did NOT make the news last night. People who put in an honest day's work for nothing more nor less than their pay, and go home at day's end to lead uneventful but decent lives. These people don't make the news. They're not "Everyday Heroes", because they're not heroes. They're just good people. That segment of society is under-represented onscreen, which means that people seem to forget that they are literally surrounded by good people.

This is not a rant. The day that I find that this blog has been reduced to nothing more than a vehicle for rants is the day that I close my Blogger account.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Nebraska 3. The Hunt.

The Farm
Jim showed us around the farm. He led us around a section of woodlots, corn, alfalfa, and soybeans. When he mentioned casually that the deer would regularly come out of a particular woodlot and walk along the open, cut alfalfa field, I took notice. A farmer knows his land, and it pays to heed his advice.

Vine and I wondered around the place. We found a flock of young turkey, and I briefly regretted not having picked up a turkey tag. But at $95 for an out of state tag, it seemed a bit high. I play by the rules, and so I wistfully watched the flock walk away from 20 feet. I could easily have taken one with the M37 2" Chief's Special I had with me.

I decided to simply sit in the shade of a round hay bale in the middle of the cut alfalfa field. (Blue dot in the middle of the green field, upper left quadrant, above.)

The Rifle
I had a .243 Winchester with me that I had bought a few years ago from friend Art Eatman. The rifle, which was his uncle's, is an interesting specimen. It is a Featherweight, and has serial numbers that show that the receiver was made in 1955, the year before the first Featherweight in .243 M70 was introduced. Obviously, a short-action receiver was milled, put in stock, and pulled down and put into service later. From my reading, this was common to pull parts from different eras to put on current production rifles. It makes sense, and is the esoterica that makes for long searches and proud finds by collectors. This rifle might have had some collector's value, but it's a shooter. It has been carried through many a field. When I bought it from Art a few years ago, he sent along some boxes of ammo that his uncle had loaded for it in 1965 and '66, which I found grouped under an inch. (The load, which was penciled on the side of the old boxes, was within acceptable parameters. Call me a risk-taker if you want.)

I pulled out of my borrowed backpack a copy of The Model 70 Winchester 1937-1964, by Dean H. Whitaker. If I had realized what this signed copy was worth*, I would never have carried it out hunting. Fortunately, it came through it all right. As it amused me that I was using a pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 rifle as a book rest for a book on pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 rifles, I took a snapshot with the Nikon camera that Vine had loaned me.**

The Hunt

The situation was about as good as I could hope for. Clear skies, a cool (59 degree) breeze to my face, the sun to my back. Vine had wondered off to a meadow on the other side of the woodlot, to my right. A stand of corn was south of me, to my right. I didn't even bother looking straight ahead of me, because that zone was too close to the direction Vine was hunting in. I wanted to keep about 90 degrees of shooting arc away from him. Probably a 100 grain Nosler wouldn't make it through that woodlot to him, but why chance it?

I got chilly. The round bale that I was leaning against to break up my outline provided good shade, and I was lightly dressed. I stood up on the south side of the bale, and watched the tree line to the NE of me, as I read the book now propped on the bale.

The sun got lower, and the light changed. The Golden Hour commenced. I have seen more deer in the last hour of the day than all of the other 23 hours put together. I found that I paid less and less attention to the book, and finally just closed it. I looked at.... there. On cue, the large doe and her yearling stepped out of the woodlot to my northeast, and began to browse the alfalfa. I took a picture of them, and figured the range. Just shy of 200 yards. I watched them for 10 minutes to see if they got closer. Then it occurred to me that, if they got much closer, they would be decreasing my arc toward Vine. I took a rest on the bale, and shot the doe. (Red dot, above and to the right of the blue dot, in picture above.)

As seen before, I was at about 3.5" high at 100 yards. With that bullet at 3.3", the zero would be at ~270 yards, given that the 100g Nosler SPBT (B.C. .446) bullet was starting at 2850 fps (44g RL 22). I later paced the distance of the shot to 185 yards. I held dead on, and shot her in the right side chest. She ran into the nearby woodlot. I considered shooting her again, but given that the shot felt good, a second shot, highly likely to miss at the running deer, would just urge her to continue running. I held further fire.

Unless all was amiss, I knew that I had hit her well. She had run off without a reaction, but that's not uncommon for well-shot deer. I knew not to go after her for about 20 minutes.

I walked over to the spot that she had been standing in. Good blood.

At about this time, Vine arrived. We agreed to wait out the remaining 15 minutes, and went to get his truck, and my iron-sighted Springfield to go into the dark woodlot.

As we arrived at his truck (yellow dots), parked on the west end of the farm, Vine observed deer coming out of the woods at the joint with the corn field, east of us. We went prone, and he shot a good doe with his '06 Remington 700 scout rifle (purple dot), and I missed a young yearling. The doe, which was visibly hit hard, ran into the corn or the woods (south, at any rate), and the yearling and its sibling began running toward us. This is not uncommon. The bullets from the shots fired had struck the ground or brush behind the deer, and they heard that over the reports of the rifle. They galloped on toward us. We put the two yearlings down, at the very edge of the corn field. They each rolled into the corn.

I discovered that corn fields are deceptively good at hiding downed deer. It took us 20 minutes to find the deer at the edge of the field. One was four rows in, the other, only one.

My large doe, Vine found by smell, as we were entering the woodlot. The exiting bullet had pierced the gut. We dragged her out, and figured her weight at about 185 lbs on the hoof. She had managed to go between 30 and 40 yards.

The other doe, we searched for for hours. We searched in the woods. We searched in the corn. We retired for the night (there was a hard frost that night), and got up early to look for her again (this was when I took the video). There was no question that she was hit hard by Vine's .30-'06. There was no question that the deer was dead. But we finally had to accept that she was not recoverable. As ethical hunters, this pained Vine and me immensely. We don't like to waste meat. I'm convinced, based upon what I saw, that she didn't last much more than a minute. But we never found her.

The Meat

We had hung the field-dressed deer the night before, and we quartered the deer for the trip to Vine's house. At his house, we butchered the meat, and packaged it. We pan-fried some cutlets for supper.

Vine loaned me a cube cooler with the meat that I took home. Once back home, with no ice it it, I found that the full cooler weighs 67 pounds. The cooler by itself likely weighs 10 lbs. Thus there is 57 lbs of lean, boneless meat to put up. It's currently chilled with dry ice. Time to make the sausage.


*More than I paid for the scoped rifle.

**Strangely, the camera date is off. The date was actually October 2nd.

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Nebraska. 2 The People.

As previously mentioned, I took a little trip to go hunting with my new friend, up in Nebraska. He had friends who were farmers who have been praying that the state of Nebraska would let them shoot more deer, as they've been overpopulating the state at an amazing rate. They spend much of the days in the woodlots, and come out in the evenings and nights and eat the corn and soybean crops. They get very, very large. They are healthy, and their offspring thrive, too.

The farmers are very tired of the crop nuisance.

I like good red meat.

A common goal is achieved.

The Good Farmers
Vine took me out on Saturday, and introduced me to Jim and his wife Pat, a very nice couple. The word "accommodating" is simply not strong enough. The word "friendly" is not strong enough. They are very decent, civilized, excellent people. They are, from what I see, fairly typical of the good people of Nebraska, but they bear special mention, nonetheless. Jim is a classical farmer, who keeps track of the price of corn and soybeans and their futures, and considers how many more seasons his old International Harvester grain trucks will keep giving service. He maintains his combine, trucks, and fuel and water pumps by himself, without a professional mechanic. He leans strongly conservative, but clearly dotes on his liberal wife. He dispatches nuisance animals, but doesn't really hunt. He grins sheepishly as he talks to his named farm cats out front of the house.

Pat cooks large farm meals from scratch, serves them toothsomely to her house guests, and cheerfully talks about local and world events, as well as family lore, with bright intelligence. She's educated, and has a full-time job in addition to being a farm wife. She's active in her church, but doesn't give off even the slightest hint of judgement when you don't.

They both clearly are in love with their daughters. To say that they are proud of their daughters' ongoing career successes would go without saying, but it's also clear that they don't really worry about whether their offspring are financially a success-- they just want what's best for them. Like any good parents would. And make no mistake-- these are good parents.

After over three decades together, they still obviously appreciate the company of each other.

Are you beginning to get the idea that I liked these people? Because if you haven't been, then either I'm not articulating clearly, or you're not paying attention.

They clearly think highly of my friend Vine, which is another good reason for me to think well of him, myself.

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The Nebraska Hunting Experience.

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