A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And the Winner Is.........

She won our hearts......... Her audition video has embedding disabled by request. Servers simply can't handle it. You can view it on YouTube here. If you haven't heard her audition, go to the link and listen to it first.

I don't care. Britan's Got Talent is a talent show. Susan Boyle, you still won. You won big time.


The Bat Mitzvah Lesson

Yesterday a friend gave a bat mitzvah for his daughter, and I agreed to photograph it. Thankfully, he had several other friends with cameras because my results fell far beneath my standards. In fact, the majority of them are unusable. I learned a few things though.

1. Always scout the location and learn the plan of events. Know where people will stand and what they will do. I had the opportunity to do so on Friday evening, but was too tired from work to go. Knowing where to sit for the best shots, and getting there early enough to garner that seat is essential.

2. Know the distance you will be shooting from. Take a few shots before the event of a model in the available light, from the distance you will be shooting. Determine which lens will be most suitable. Have that lens on your camera. If you use flash, and if flash is permissible, know which setting will get adequate light on the subject.

3. Be bold. I had been given permission to roam, yet I stayed in my seat. I did not want to disturb the proceedings with my digital SLR's mirror clacking. Out of respect, during the service, I used a digital point and shoot with the noise muted and flash turned off. Limiting my ability to take good photographs even though I had been given permission to move about was a serious mistake.

4. Have your batteries charged and your gear at hand. Shoot as though you might never get another chance. You won't. If the event is a milestone in that person's life, it will not be repeated. The ceremony is, however, predictable. Bobby Knight once said that everyone has a desire to win, but very few have the desire to prepare to win. I know that. I did not heed it.

5. You cannot get fine image quality by increasing the frame size and cropping out the good parts. As soon as I realized my subject was going to be miniature people in a sea of synagogue, I increased the frame size. I was able to crop out images with better composition, but the overall quality was badly degraded.

6. Don't throw in the towel. After the bat mitzvah, I went to the reception. While my wife chatted with friends, I continued to shoot photographs. The lighting in the reception hall was worse than the synagogue. After twenty or so shots of people with hollowed out eyes from spotlights directly overhead, I had two choices. Change technique, or go outside. I decided to change technique and shoot the reception as though I was a street photographer. The music was loud enough to cover the sound of the SLR mirror, and I could move inhibited among people who were expecting to be photographed. I learned another lesson. Good street photography on the level of Joe Wigfall and Bruce Gilden does not come easy. If I'm going to do that, I need to go manual with a wide angle lens. But that's another lesson.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

Why do handgun manufacturers insist on making camouflaged handguns? Especially with a shiney stainless barrel reflecting the sun through the ejection port? This does not make sense. The handgun does not need this kind of treatment. The holster should be camouflaged, assuming the person toting around the gun is wearing camouflage. Perhaps the grips in a broken color pattern.....the gun matte black. That would blend just fine.

So why do handgun manufacturers insist on making camo handguns? Because the Bubba who decorates his double-wide trailer in the Elvis Rococo style will buy them. These are the same Libaraches that buy their wife pink revolvers with Bitch on the barrel.

Don't think I'm picking on Sig. Colt has done it too.........

And Browning.........


Saturday, May 30, 2009

WNYC Street Shots: Bruce Gilden


Friday, May 29, 2009

Lawyer Locks

We needed to wash laundry at Xavier's gun and camera ranch, so I finally got around to inspecting and repairing the washing machine today. I was pretty certain a non-sterile rubber exam glove had floated out of a pocket on my scrubs and clogged the pump. I took off the front of the washer and removed the hose between the pump and the basin. No glove.

Next, I took the advice of a lion's share of my readers and bypassed the lid switch. I put the washer on the spin cycle, and sonuvagun...... It spun. I got to thinking.... that's a dangerous thing. Years ago, washing machines did not even have this stupid lawyer lock on them. I broke out my wire spices and heat shrink tubing and made a permanent bypass of the switch, and removed it. We now have a load of towels spinning merrily away in the washer. Thank you readers....

When did we become so stupid that we need an electronic lock to prevent us from lifting a lid and seeing laundry spinning? Does the Maytag litigation crew think their customers will commit suicide by jumping into a washer on the spin cycle? I don't know...... All I know is I don't like lawyer locks on my guns, and now the lawyer lock is off my washing machine as well. I think I can handle the risk.

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No Guns For Negroes


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Robbery Victim Charged with Murder

An Oklahoma City pharmacist has been charged with first degree murder after shooting a robber 6 times. The prosecutor says the first shot was justified, but the defender went too far when he shot the teen 5 more times with a .380 caliber pistol while he lay unconscious on the floor. "I do not want the charging of Jerome Ersland with first degree murder to have a chilling effect on any person legitimately in a position to defend themselves from an assailant," Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said in a news conference.

On May 19, 2009, Antwun Parker and Jevontia Ingram, both teenagers burst into the Reliable Discount Pharmacy wearing masks and carrying a gun. The pharmacist, Jerome Ersland, shot Parker in the head, and then chased the other threat out of the pharmacy. When he returned, the robbery victim took up a second handgun, and shot the fallen robber five more times in the abdomen.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater asserts armed robbery victim was justified in shooting Antwun Parker once in the head. However, Prater claims Mr. Ersland broke the law when he shot Parker again while the teen lay unconscious on the floor. Mr. Ersland says the injured criminal was attempting to get up. He further states he grabbed the second handgun before he chased Jevontia Ingram from the phatmacy.

Ersland's attorney, Irven Box, says his client was protecting himself and two women inside the pharmacy. In court, the District Attorney showed a security video (seen above) in which two criminals burst into the pharmacy. One criminal is shot. Ersland is seen chasing the second man outside. Then he walks past Parker to get a second gun. Finally, he is seen firing at Parker again. The autopsy found Parker was still alive after the head shot and died from the stomach wounds.

Mr. Ersland did not burst into Antwun Parker's place of business to kill him. Antwun Parker came to Mr. Ersland forcibly demanding money and drugs while placing an innocent victim's life at risk. Nobody has forgotten who the aggressor was, nor who the victim was. Even so, the victim may well lose everything because a teen aged punk decided to victimize him.

It is often taught that a threat must be shot until it is no longer a threat. The security video does not show the last seconds of Antwun Parker's wasted life. If it did, Mr. Ersland might never have been charged. Unfortunately, the video does show the actions of Mr. Ersland. These actions are open to interpretation. Mr. Ersland has posted $100,000 bail after a preliminary hearing. His attorney believes a jury will rule in the pharmacists’ favor.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WNYC Street Shots: Joe Wigfall


The Beginning

Click to enlargeMy first set of photographs of Tea party participants is nearly exhausted. The message the people who gathered was clear and undiluted. There is a groundswell building. It will not go away unless the path our government has chosen changes to be for the People and by the People once again.

I am going to end this series with a few faces from the crowds. The crowd is getting larger, and more discontented. Should the government fear them? Yes, they should. This crowd wields the most powerful weapon in existence. They believe in themselves, their country, and they vote. It is only beginning.......

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Digital Pinhole

No..... I'm not the mad photographer who converted his Nikon digital SLR to a pinhole camera. That would be Curtis. The thing is, it works like a charm.

Curtis has upgraded his cardboard tube to a gutted out Sigma zoom lens that fits his bayonet mount, but the thing is, it works. Here is one of his images made over the winter.

Pretty darned neat.

Now if you were to get a body cap, cut a hole in it, and glue on a piece of PVC pipe........ Hmmmmmmmmmmm.........

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Wash

OK fellows, It's time to show my wife-mate the power of blogging. It seems as though our washer went kaput right in the middle of the cycle. The big bowl will not drain. I siphoned out about half the water and took off the agitator. that is about as far as I got.

Here are the facts. It stopped after the rinse wash cycle. I know this because the water is still slick with detergent. Nothing appears to be obstructed, but the large valve underneath the big bowl thing doesn't seem to want to open. I found nothing underneath the agitator. The electronics seem to still be working, and water will still pour in if the knob is placed on start.

It is a Frigidare Gallery commercial washer. If anyone knows of a website or a resource, or even where to go from here, please let me know. I can get back to it in a couple of days.

Thank you,

First resource


Memorial Day

Air Force Veteran 64

Remember the reason we celebrate Memorial Day. Please don't forget the veterans.

Nikon D-200 85mm ƒ1.8

Sunday, May 24, 2009

100 Strangers

I have begun participating in a group on flickr that seeks to photograph 100 different strangers (per photographer) as a learning experience. A lot of the participants seem to be quite shy about approaching a complete stranger and asking to photograph them. For some reason, this does not seem to be a problem for me.

Perhaps it is because of my time spent in Japan, where strangers often approach each other for photographs. Perhaps it is because I have worked as a nurse, where I deal with complete strangers on a rather intimate, albeit professional basis each day. Perhaps my ease comes from a long history of reading people. I don't know why, I just don't seem to have a problem with the approach. Heck, all they can say is no.

In reality, I think that I can simply pick out the willing. They advertise the fact that they want to be seen like a peacock. It's the people who are the most unusual that not only make the most interesting photographs, but also are the most willing to allow an unknown photographer to document their appearance. People like Mr. Fontana, pictured here, are much more difficult to convince.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

UltraMatic LV

The only thing I know about the Ultramatic LV is the name because it's on the slide. Oh, and it's Ugly.

I suspect the Ultramatic is a 9mm handgun, because it's styling appears to be from the wondernine era. To me, it looks like a pistol Mr. Spock would get if he took a IMI Baby Eagle and a 1911 and vulcanized them into a Browning Buckmark.

Beam me up Scotty.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wireless Remote Release

I am strongly considering purchasing a remote shutter release for my Nikon D200. The particular device pictured here seems to be the most applicable to my needs. The distance I will be using it at will be only ten to thirty feet, so the exceptional range that is advertised is a simple bonus. At Amazon.com, these sell for $59.99. I can order another battery to round out the battery rotation in the same shipment.
*Range up to 100 m (320 ft) without obstacles
*Can activate auto focus, release shutter, activate continuous drive mode or keep the shutter open for bulb photography as well
*The shutter button can be pressed halfway or all the way.
*Number of control output channels: 16 channels available.
Years ago I had a point and shoot Canon that had an infrared remote release. It was nice. My old Nikon film cameras accept cable releases, but of course, the new breed of cameras do not. The D200 takes an electronic remote release whether it is hooked to the camera or whether it sends a signal through radio waves. So, when I remember the flexibility of the little Canon's infrared remote, a wireless remote seems the way to go. If anyone has any experience, good or bad with Opteka products, please advise.

Article for future reference


Friday, May 22, 2009

Guns and Hammers

My long time readers will no doubt note a decrease in my writing frequency since I began to rediscover photography. I apologize for that. So often it seems that writing about guns is like writing about hammers. There is a myriad of variations, but guns pretty much all have the same purpose, to put a bullet on target. Of course, some guns are better at it than others, and like hammers, some guns are better suited at particular tasks than others. And like new fangled fiberglass handled hammers, every once in a while a new style of gun will come on the market that performs the same old task and some people will like the fiberglass handle, others will shout heresy and cling to wood.

The crux of the matter is that you can only write so much about hammers or guns until you start repeating yourself. If you are a wood and steel man, then you not only repeat yourself, but you start to sound like the neighbor's Basset hound incessantly howling at two in the morning.

I made a pawn shop run this afternoon, but there was really nothing of interest. If it isn't raining, I might go to the range tomorrow after cases. I would write about either, but who wants to read about what I didn't find at a pawn shop, or that I didn't make it to the range? So, maybe I'll just update. Ilsa's paw is healed. Yep, already. I guess, on the whole, I'm going through a slump of no inspiration towards writing, combined with the lure of photography. So, maybe inspiration will come tomorrow. Suggestions will be considered........

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spike in Female CCW

A positive news report on the matter.

Of course, it's from Tulsa Oklahoma, so whadaya expect?


Flat Tax

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Nikon D-200 70-210 zoom ƒ4

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I do not often write about family, but I ask that my readers humor a proud Papa tonight.

Tonight, Little Darling graduated.

Tonight, Little Darling received an award of recognition upon graduation.

That is not an uncommon occurrence.

What is uncommon is the award itself. The Bishop John Maury Allen Award is not given for being the most popular or being the best athlete. It is not even given for academic excellence. It is not given every year. If there is not a deserving student graduating, the award is not bestowed at all. This award has only been given six times in the past fifty years. The Bishop John Maury Allen Award is only given to a student who exemplifies the standards of character and a personal commitment to excellence in thought, and integrity of actions that the school hoped to instill in young people when it was founded fifty years ago.

Tonight Little Darling brought it home.

I'm proud. Damned proud.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

L.J. "Boots" Hinton

"They knew they would die, but they would die together. It was a love story that shamed Romeo and Juliet," declares L.J. "Boots" Hinton. A retired lawman, the 75 year old Hinton is now the proprietor of the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana. Boots Hinton knows the stories of the notorious lover criminals all too well. He is the son of Deputy Sheriff Ted Hinton, a participant in the May 23, 1934 ambush outside of Gibsland.

Known locally as the "Marshal of Main Street", Boots constantly peers out his plate glass window, ever monitoring the goings on in the sleepy Southern town. The town will soon awake from it's slumber, however. This photo was taken a few days before the 75th anniversary of the bloody ambush. Gibsland holds a festival each year to commemorate the event. Boots is expecting the 75th anniversary to be especially busy. All the while he sat for his portrait in the natural light of his office, his Bluetooth kept him busy. His desk phone kept ringing. Calls were coming in from all over the United States, and as far away as Europe.

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Portraiture on the Fly

Over the years, I have made a practice of studying people and their interactions. Years ago when me and my swabbie buddies would hit the bamboo bars and honky tonks around the far east, they had tractor beams to the pretty girls. I was always the sailor who would get a beer and settle into a dark corner to watch the people and let the prettiest girl come to me.

William Nikkor 85mm Cross processedI have used this self taught mental data base to quickly process information that has kept me safe, but it is also something that is now coming out in my photography. I am fast discovering that that I am a portraitist. People have always fascinated me. Now I am simply recording it.

I am gaining the audacity to simply walk up to people and ask if I can photograph them. I make it a point to dress conservatively and have my camera ready. If they look confused, I quickly explain that I am an amateur photographer, and just why I would like to photograph them, whether it is their hair, their shirt, or their poise. I haven't been refused yet.

I have usually studied the potential subject at a distance to assess their willingness and the light they happen to be standing in. I have the Nikon set to 4 fps, and if they agree to be photographed, I line them up and squeeze off a few shots. Then, I thank them and let them get back to what they were doing. If they want to converse a bit, I talk about what ever they want, and possibly continue to get a few shots. If they are willing, I get their name and give them my own. I suppose I will have to get some business cards made up now. I haven't had the moxie to ask a stranger for a repeat session in the future, but I have a feeling I will soon.

Dos Amigos Nikkor 85mm Cross processedIt is fairly easy to spot those people willing to be photographed. The young ones are the ones who make themselves stand out. The older ones are the people with a life lived etched on their faces. These people want to be photographed, remembered, and celebrated, but they want to be respected as well. Sometimes, I think the key is making the person comfortable and confident that they will be respected in the image.

The best places to find willing subjects is where people feel uninhibited. Festivals are excellent opportunities, as are concerts and museums, gallery openings, and live theaters (if you can get a camera inside). People tend to go to these places to be seen, they dress appropriately, are prepared, and perhaps liquored up a bit. Ultimately, they become a bit bored. The chance opportunity to be photographed intrigues them. I have even had people approach me to have their picture taken when they see me taking photographs. That was surprising indeed.

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Ouchy Bobo

It started when I was out working some demo sites with Daddy. As I was sniffing out a rat, I felt something cut into my left foot. Scratch me Dammit!I knew I shouldn't have been sniffing rats, but they are so interesting. I guess I learned my lesson!

Anyway, it hurt a bit, but I stayed on task. Daddy tried those boots with me, but I hate them. They suck, are ugly, feel funny and just aren't fashionable. Now i know why he tried to make me wear them. I was hard headed and just wouldn't walk in them though.

Daddy noticed me limping and called off the search. He made me roll over on my back while he checked my paw. I knew he could fix it. He can do anything, even make delicious food come out of the cold box.

Well, Daddy poured some fizzy water on my cut, and then put some white stuff and some sticky silver stuff on it. I'm starting to wonder about his competence. They say he's a nurse, but Damn. I was walking better before he started. Oh well, being injured has it's perks. More Beggin' Strips, please!

DADDY'S NOTE: H2O2 + sterile gauze and duct tape = New dog, one that limps and staggers about.

Cephalexin 500mg bid X 10d


Monday, May 18, 2009

Safety Instruction

"A 26-year-old Phoenix man accidentally killed himself early Sunday morning while explaining gun safety to two Sierra Vista residents.
Samuel Benally Jr. was at an apartment on West Tacoma Street when he said people should keep their guns unloaded because someone could point it at their heads, said Sierra Vista police Sgt. Brett Mitchell.

Benally then demonstrated by putting his own .9 mm Rueger [sic], which he believed to be unloaded, to his head and firing it, Mitchell said."
Gun safety can not be learned from those who know nothing about it. Unless they teach their pupils the hard way.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ugky Gun Sunday


KelTec makes a fairly decent and once unique 32 caliber hideout gun in the P32. I own one, and have carried one, in fact. The guns are rather rough from the factory, and most owners consider them to be a starting point towards a finished carry gun. That's no big deal really. When I think about it, I presently have a Colt Commander at Clark Custom going through a similar basic process.

Sometimes though, even the best of intentions can spring hay wire. This little KelTec did not receive a reasonable hard chrome and melted slide. No. It ended up looking like a cheap hooker's all night protection. Pimps world wide would be proud.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Black & White

Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!I like black and white photography. Monochromatic photography teaches the eye to see. Shooting film in black and white teaches the photographer to see contrasts, and and manipulate the camera settings to make the most of them. The end result is more graphic impact when the camera man does switch to color.

There is something about black and white that provides an immediacy and a truthfulness to a photograph that color can't seem to match. It is odd that a monochromatic image can achieve a greater sense of reality than color can provide. Perhaps it is because black and white has been a staple of photojournalism for so long. Whatever the reason, B&W is appealing to me.

Another advantage that I have found with digital photography is the ability to shoot in color and later convert to black and white. That was impossible with film. Through the magic of a good digital processing program, Duffanything that can be adjusted in the darkroom can be adjusted on a monitor. I'm finding the ability to switch my images from color to monochrome to be particularly gratifying.

Today I went to visit a couple of old friends and had a portrait session with each. It was good to see them doing well. As for the gun section, Duff and I shot a bit of lead as well. Duff still out shoots me, but then, he grew up buying 22 bullets and using them to supplement a diet of greens and peas with small game.

Perhaps tomorrow I will write about shooting lead. The plan is to take Little Darling to the range. Today, I shot an old Colt Woodsman as an afterthought, to enjoy some time with a friend. Sometimes I wonder how long that will remain a possibility. Today, my focus was on shooting a Nikon, and getting back to black and white.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

The Cimarron Plinkerton

When I first heard about the Cimarron Plinkerton about this time last year, it was one of the first handguns in a while that made me say "Hmmmmmmmmm!"

I had the opportunity to handle one today, and unfortunately, I was not impressed. It was a new gun, priced at $159. The finish was black paint, but that was OK. I would just remove it, and let the gun go au naturale. However, the chambers and the barrel were sleeved. I suppose the rest of the gun may have been manufactured from melted down doorknobs and lug nuts toenail clippers. The grips did not fit well, and then there was a free floating firing pin held in place by a roll pin through the frame. On the left of the single action revolver's recoil shield was an integrated hammer block safety that required a key to operate. It totally destroyed the looks of the gun.

I did not shoot the gun, but I figure for $159, it whips the Heritage Arms Rough Rider's tail handily. It's a shame Cimarron dropped their standards to meet a price point though. I, for one, would have paid considerably more for a 22 caliber Single Action Army revolver made to Cimarron's usual standard. As it is, I'm happy with my Ruger MKII and my Model 17.


The Smoke Belching Red Demon

It's that time of year again, the fleas are out, and the boogie cats are bringing ticks into the yard. Another thing happens this time of year too. The red stinky smoke belching noisy contraption chases Daddy out of the garden shed and he chases it all over the yard. I don't like that at all.

He pours some stinky stuff in it, and then he jerks on its tail a couple of times, and it starts growling like its going to kill him. Last year,I was on my own against the stinky red monster, but this year, I have back-up. That's right, Cassie has my back. She's just a Golden Retriever, and if a ball gets tossed she loses all concentration, but she's wiry. They fought each other back and forth around the house. Cassie looked out her crate at me, worried about Daddy supper, but I told her to just have faith.

As soon as the red smoke demon started following Daddy, we started barking to make it stop. It showed a total lack of respect. That was enough for me. Either you are going to show the German Shepherd Dog proper respect, or I'm going to have to teach you respect.

I clamped down on that red monster's foot and started dragging it across the yard. It tasted worse than a boogie cat's butt. Cassie was barking "I'm here for ya Ilsa!" and Daddy had the monster by it's horns, but then a surprising thing happened. Daddy told me to stand down!

Then he took me inside, told me to crate up. I sat there in my crate listening to the ferocious battle raging outside between Daddy and the red demon. Finally, the demon stopped growling, and we sat in silence for a long time, not knowing if Daddy survived. When we heard the back door open, we weren't sure if it was Daddy or the demon. Cassie whimpered. "Shut up!" I told her. Then there were those familiar footsteps coming through the kitchen. Daddy lived!

EPILOGUE: When we went back outside, we sniffed around the garden shed, and we could tell the demon was inside. The doors were locked though. I'm pretty sure Daddy killed it. I have a feeling he has it cut up into strips to make some smoked demon jerky in there. If he does, I hope he gives me a bite!




Nikon D-200, 85mm ƒ1.8

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anti-Gravity Tube

"An eddy current is set up in a conductor in response to a changing magnetic field. Lenz's law predicts that the current moves in such a way as to create a magnetic field opposing the change; to do this in a conductor, electrons swirl in a plane perpendicular to the changing magnetic field. Because the magnetic fields of the eddy currents oppose the magnetic field of the falling magnet; there is attraction between the two fields. Energy is converted into heat. This principle is used in damping the oscillation of the lever arm of mechanical balances."
Ummmmm OK. Magic.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dangerous Musician

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Nikon D-200 70-210 zoom ƒ4

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yeller Flags and Coffee

I rarely get pissed off on this blog. Nobody wants to read that, but this story has me fuming. Apparently, a fellow freedom loving American was in a podunk Louisiana one stop light speed trap municipality and was stopped for having a Gadsden flag sticker on his automobile. After a half hour roadside interrogation, the Bubbas with a gun decided the American wasn't a potential home grown terrorist after all.

From Atlas Shrugs and American Vision:
"Our friends at The Patriot Depot just received a call from Rosemarie in Ball, Louisiana alerting Patriot Depot that her brother-in-law was stopped by small town Louisiana police and detained by the roadside for half an hour. A background check was conducted to determine whether he was a member of an "extremist" group. Why? Her brother-in-law (name not disclosed for privacy) had purchased and displayed a conservative "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his car."
Now I understand that there are some damned stupid and obedient ticket writers in one red light towns in the Louisiana outback, but what really bothers me is that a person can be detained for a damned yellow bumper sticker with a rattlesnake on it. But they don't act without orders. Apparently someone somewhere higher up the food chain told the cops in a backwater Louisiana town to be on the look out for people with yellow snake stickers on their horseless carriages because they might blow stuff up.

Forget history. Never mind that the US Navy Jack is a very similar design. Lets just be ignorant.
"Yep Bubba, yeller snake flags means Timothy McVey is coming and bringin' that Anton feller with him! They's gonna take our wimmens, steal our Levi Garrett and blow up the bream pond." Monkey muffins! How stupid can you get? Do we have to load a dump truck with intelligence and dump it out in the city square to make these people morons? If I find out what town this was, I'm driving over to have a little wake up call and chat with the mayor over grits and coffee. Mostly coffee.

UPDATE: I'm checking with a friend, who many of you know, that lives three miles from Ball Louisiana. He knows the local police well, on a professional basis. Somehow, this story doesn't sound right to me. I've been through this town. It's a speed trap, but I have a hard time believing a police officer would stop a car for a yellow rattlesnake sticker in an area where Confederate flag stickers are commonplace. This is die hard gun and religion clingin' territory. Something isn't quite right with this story...... Will provide answers as I learn more.......

UPDATE DEUCE: I received a reply to my email inquiry to a friend who lives just outside of Ball Louisiana. He used his professional connections to talk with several Ball officers and other police officers in the area. Apparently, the citizen was stopped legitimately for a traffic violation. The process became drawn out due to his aggressive anti-law enforcement stance. The stop had nothing to do with a Gadsden flag sticker on his vehicle. Even in a traffic fine supported economy of a small town like Ball, that sounds a lot more likely.

The missive:
I did a fairly thorough check on this story, including approaching Ball
and other police officers. All deny emphatically that the DTOM sticker
had anything to do with the traffic stop. Instead, I'm informed that
the driver in question was stopped for a violation (nature unspecified),
and the reason things dragged on for half an hour was because of his
aggressive, anti-law-enforcement, dogmatic rudeness. "He appeared to be
a threat to public safety because of his attitude" was how one cop
expressed it. I've met the type, and I'm sure you have too.

Of course, I can't confirm this information - it's all verbal and
hearsay, etc. - but it does sound rather more likely to me than that a
Cenla cop would stop someone for a DTOM sticker!


Monday, May 11, 2009



Nikon D-200, 85mm ƒ1.8

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ten Lives, One Will

In College Park, Georgia, two masked thugs crashed a party carrying guns. The home invaders immediately separated the men from the women and demanded wallets and cell phones. Then the two began counting bullets, and one ominously stated he had enough for everybody there. “Apparently, his intent was to rape and murder us all,” said student Charles Bailey.

One of the men held hostage decided he intended to survive. He pulled a gun from a backpack and shot at the criminal guarding the men. The criminal fled. The righteous defender then advanced to the room where the women were being held and found Calvin Lavant preparing to rape one of the women. The defender again began shooting, telling the women to get down. One woman was injured in the barrage of bullets, and Calvin Lavant lept out a window. He was found dead from a gunshot wound near his own apartment, one building away. The injured woman is expected to make a full recovery.

This sounds like a good story, but there are lessons to be learned. First, there were over-penetration issues. This was in an apartment complex. Lady Luck smiled on the defender.

Next, out of ten people, only one had the courage to act. The thugs had the audacity to count bullets in front of their victims. If the reports are true, there was opportunity for unarmed resistance. Five to one.

Finally, a gun was available, but training was apparently lacking. The defender reverted to the spray and pray technique of home defense. He obviously got off shots in time on the first criminal. The second criminal was also caught with his pants down, literally. Whether the defender's intent was to scare off the attackers with an expensive and dangerous noise maker, or whether it was to take a permanent bite out of crime, he could have used more training and education in lethal force and self defense.

But the righteous defender lived. So did all his friends. He was there, I was not. He saw that big gray pachyderm, grabbed it by its trunk and body slammed it across the arena with all his might. He found the will to save lives while his friends succumbed to fear and intimidation. The defender found the foundation that everyone who carries a gun should possess. He found the will under crisis to use a gun to save his life and the lives of others. That is the one element that remains an unknown for many who carry a gun.

The decision to live must be made when the gun is strapped on. The training must be done before the crisis comes. In the crisis, we will all revert back to our level of training........ If we have the will to live.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

On proud display by the Mexican police, is a gold plated and engraved AK with a carved California stock.

Hat tip to Steve.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Antique Allure

Frieda joined me at the range today with a 500 round box of Blazer 22 ammunition and the Ruger MKII bequeathed her by her father. She had decided to leave her Taurus snubby at home. In her hands she proudly displayed her own set of muffs. As we signed into the range, Frieda asked about a membership, and then decided to join. One more neophyte shooter is now invested into the past time of shooting.

As we unpacked our gear and approached the firing line, a young man was firing a 10mm hand cannon to our left. Click to enlargeThe concussion and report of the gun shots made Frieda wince. "Don't worry, it's no different than a bass drum, and he won't be shooting it long anyway," I told her. We laid out our gear and took targets out to the ten yard line at the next cold range call. Sure enough, by the time Frieda was on her third magazine, the guy with the 10mm was policing his brass.

It was humid and sticky and a storm was brewing, with a breeze from the Gulf. But rather than wick the sweat from our backs, it stuck dust to our faces. As we checked our targets, Frieda was happy to see that after a month of not shooting, on her second trip, she was getting most of her hits in the red zone. I reminded her to concentrate on he basics. Stable platform, sight alignment, trigger squeeze straight to the rear. "Mainly trigger control," I told her. "You mustn't allow your trigger pull to move the sights out of alignment."

"But I'm doing OK?"

"You're doing fine," I replied, "But you were doing better when we left last time. A month of not reinforcing the new skills has allowed them to erode."

"How often do you practice?" Frieda asked.

"Well, at one time, when I was going into some damned spooky places, I would run at least one magazine of ammunition through my carry gun each day. I could do it then, between seeing patients. I would shoot when my blood sugar was low, and my hands were shaky. I would just pop into the indoor range, fire off eight rounds and be back outside in under fifteen minutes."

"That's hard to do with work......."

"Yeah, I know," I responded. "Nowadays, I try to get to the range at least once a week. Lately, my free time has been more scarce, so I've shot about once every two weeks."

"But you are still shooting the same."

"It's like riding a bicycle, I've been doing it longer, so it will take me longer to lose the skills. Plus, I've been dry firing. Have you been dry firing?" I asked.

"I felt silly."

"It works though. Try it. Just be sure to check your pistol's chamber at least twice before starting. You have a penny?" Frieda produced the copper coin, and when the range went hot, I showed her the dry fire trick with the pence balanced on the front sight of my Gold Cup. Thankfully, it didn't fall.

Frieda checked the chamber of her Ruger and dry fired it. She pulled the bolt back, released it, and dry fired it again. "This will really help?" she asked.

"Yep, but do it at home. We're here to shred some paper." Frieda loaded and shot several more magazines. Then the Blazer ammunition began giving her stovepipe jams. I showed her how to clear the pistol, stressing the importance of keeping the muzzle down range at all times.

"But why is it happening?" she asked.

"Probably that cheap Blazer ammo," I replied.

"Cheap? I paid $23 for this box! Is something wrong with my gun?"

"Why don't you shoot a bit of my Federal ammo and see?" Frieda loaded up another magazine and resumed shooting. She had no further failures. While she was shooting, I went to my range bag and pulled out a surprise. I knew that she collected antiques. When there was a pause in the shooting, I laid a nickel Smith & Wesson M&P revolver in front of her.

"What's that?" she asked.

"It's an old revolver from 1926," I told her. She picked up the old wheelgun and fondled it a bit. "Want to shoot it?" I asked.

"Can I?"

"Sure. It's the same caliber as your Taurus." Regretfully, I had not brought along any cowboy loads. All I had was Winchester White Box, 130 grain target rounds. It's going to kick a bit more than your twenty-two," I informed Frieda.

"It won't be bad though?" she asked cautiously.

"Nothing you can't handle. It will have a long trigger, pull it back smoothly to the rear." I let her dry fire the nickel gun a couple of times, the trigger on the old pre-depression revolver was slicker than Crisco on ice. I loaded six rounds in the cylinder, and Frieda took the gun from me.

The allure of the antique was strong, and the force was with Frieda. She jumped at the first report from the gun, but kept her composure and kept the muzzle pointed down range. Then, determined to shoot the old revolver, she pulled the trigger five more times. Six holes in the red. "And that Frieda, is what a slick trigger and a longer barrel will do for you," I told her. "Your snubby is still better for a carry gun though."

"Can the trigger be made like this one?"

"It will probably never be as good," I replied. "Different design, different tolerances, but you can get used to a thirty-eight with this revolver. Then move to your snubby. This old gun has had eighty-three years to smooth out."

"If I found one with a shorter barrel, could I carry it?"

"No reason you couldn't, assuming you had a license......."

"And you will help me get that?"

Another concealed carrier and old wheelgun aficionado is born.

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Father and Son

Father and son

Nikon D-200, 70-210mm ƒ4

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Cameras or Guns?

I enjoy learning. I like to share knowledge. I tend to make a record, whether on a yellow steno pad, in a journal, or on a weblog of the esoteric bits of information that pass between my ears so I can can purge my gray matter and attach a bit more information. I can't explain why, maybe it is just because my Momma taught me to share. The most valuable thing I will give away is what I know. I give it away freely.

The last time I checked, there was no cover charge on this blog. The last time I checked, there was a blogroll of links to gun sites and blogs, bicycle sites and blogs, nursing sites and blogs, and photography sites and blogs. Hell, I even threw in a few blogs that just make you think. I also have almost four years of archives now.

A few readers have written asking if I'm giving up the guns. No, I'm simply concentrating on photography, relearning it, at this time. Thus, a lot of my blog will be dedicated to camera shooting rather that Colt shooting. My guns are not for sale. Tomorrow, if my wife gives her blessing (yes, I still ask her, and I'm not ashamed of it) I will be heading to the range with Frieda again. If so, I plan to blog on it. Expect it to happen. I still ride the pawn shop circuit, but I often wonder if anyone wants to read a rehash of the same old stuff. I'm expecting my Clark Meltdown Commander back in June sometime.

I never was a one trick pony. My first degree was a BFA in fine art and art history. That's right. Oil painting, printmaking, and drawing. I chipped a bit of marble and struck a couple of arcs on steel sculpture as well. I can talk Modigliani or Da Vinci with a bespectacled art critic and never miss a beat. In fact, I do just that, at openings that I still attend for student and professional artists. I can hold my own talking the zen of motorscooters and VW busses and the life those who are attracted to them tend to live. I'm not a mechanic, but I can turn a wrench. I never was a Hell's Angel, but I did ride across the country on a stripped down Moto Guzzi Eldorado, and I lived a year and a half in a Volkswagen bus. I also rode a 100cc Honda with a milk crate bolted to the back in the Philippines. And speaking of that, whatever you do, don't get me talking about the Navy. I try not to blog about the military too much. The guys in the arena should be doing that, not me. They are current, I am recent history. A lot has changed since I was enlisted, but I'm sure a lot remains the same. Coups still stink, the chow still sucks, and the old salt's cruise will still be longer and tougher than the recruit will ever know.

I am now a landlocked sailor who likes to spin a yarn about the days he matured in Uncle Sugar's Yacht Club. I'm an Honorable Shellback who has stepped foot on four continents, a score of countries, dived the Great Barrier Reef, swam the Marianas Trench, ate lizards with aborigines, broke bread with American ambassadors, made contact with the resistance, and bled a bit for my country. The thing is, not many people give a damn, nor will they believe half of it.

I am an artist, a sailor, a shooter, and I've been called worse. I am a nurse now, and I work in a rather lively atmosphere of human suffering, accomplishment and failure. I occasionally write about a case or provide a thought or two concerning nursing, but I tend to avoid the subject on my blog. I figure there are plenty of nursing and medical blogs available, and the risk to the food on my table ain't worth it. Occasionally, after a tough case, a bit of nurse blogging slips out simply because I can't contain it. I keep saltwater fish and train dogs. I've blogged about both skills.

There's a lot I haven't done. There's a lot I would like to learn. I would love to possess the gift of music. If I could play piano or guitar, or even sing....... I appreciate music from gut bucket blues to opera. I can't stand rap. Unfortunately, my musical skills are limited to the radio and more recently, the iPod. I doubt I will ever play lead guitar in a rock and roll band. I would like to learn to fly. Getting my wings seems to be a lost goal now, but I hit the beach with some crazy Navy fliers, most who have matured into sensible retired Commanders. My wife prohibits me from building a house the way I would like. She says tires, Coke bottles and concrete are not suitable building supplies in America. If I ever end up with my 100 acres in the country, I will build a brick house for her.

Getting to the point, this blog was begun as a reaction to the gun confiscations in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. It morphed into a blog of general and then more specific knowledge concerning guns. Except for the confiscations, I have left most of the gun politics out of it. I'm not fluent in that, although I do have a basic understanding. For those readers who come for the guns, keep checking back, I will write about guns and shooting again. I doubt I will ever be as proficient as Caleb, as knowledgeable as Syd, as funny as Tam or as cute as Tracy, but I will do my best, and I will be me. I don't have the answers to the world's tribulations, or even the ammo shortage, but I knew exactly how we should handle the scum threatening our sailors off the coast of Somalia. I sincerely appreciate my readers. I was not expecting this blog to be little more than a lone howl in the wilderness of disbelief over the NOPD stealing the firearms of private citizens. I figured it would fizzle out after six months as my rage was spent. It didn't. I learned to write, was humbled into learning grammatically correct composition, developed a bit of a following and gained some new friends.

I do want to say one thing clearly and distinctly. To the singular key pecker who thought he could threaten me into writing about guns again......... I advise you to simply go to another blog to get your jollies. This is my blog, and I will write about what I damn well please, when I damn well please. Your attempt to intimidate me is ludicrous, and I find your punctuation amusing. I'm not going to get all nautical with you. You are beneath my contempt. If you want a piece of this old sailor, and I don't think you do, you can rest assured I will give away a bit of knowledge freely.