Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tall Ships!

Long time, no post, I know.

To quote any one of a number of my neighbors: "You see, what had happened was..."

Anyway, last weekend was a long birthday week-end. I had friends collect me up to take me out to celebrate on Friday...and on Saturday...and Sunday...and each night lasted until around zero-dawn-thirty, so by Monday afternoon, I was pretty much glad that birthdays come around just once a year. and it was different groups of friends each time, so each of them only had to stay out and play too late ONE night, but I got all three. And it was also French Quarter Fest, so there was that.

It was fun times though, at least the parts I can recall.

I've also been having major problems with this computer at home, and it's probably ready for a replacement. And since I can't blog from work any more, it severely limits my online presence when I can't get onto the internet or open files without a fight.

But like I said...anyway...

This week-end was the beginning of Fleet Week, and we've got a few Tall Ships and an LHD here for the tourists to see, the USS Kearsarge.

Yesterday I went aboard Kearsarge. I'd have liked to get a better profile shot but she was pressed up against the wharf so close that I couldn't get the distance I needed to shoot her broadside. We all queued up to go aboard, and we got marched into her lower cargo deck to see some vehicles inside--trucks and Humvees--and then we went up to the flight deck to see some heckiflopters and an Osprey, which I was impressed by.

Sea Cobra. AH-1W

Osprey cockpit. All glass.
And heckiflopter controls, which transition to fixed-wing input when the engines pivot forward. Lotta computer help required.

The steamer Natchez passing by...and the Coast Guard made darn sure it didn't get too close to Kearsarge.

But Kearsarge can probably defend herself against excursion boats just fine.
RIM 116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher Ship has 2.

Phalanx CIWS. Ship has three.

She also has some small arms, and those were out for display on the way out. A Marine was nice enough to ask me if I wanted to handle the M-240B machine gun when I expressed some interest in it, and then he turned his back on me to talk to someone else. Mistake. Big mistake. I immediately disengaged the barrel assembly and pulled it off. He heard the barrel assembly come out and whirled around. All I could do was grin and say: "Hey, I think this broke!"

Hell, I was leaving anyway.

Saw some of the tall ships too.

Then it was dinner and a walk home. Meant to go back out to play after a short nap, but the short nap turned into 12 hours of deep sleep. Guess the work/play regimen is catching up to me.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Went to a wedding Saturday...

It was raining. Wedding was outdoors in a city park under an open-side tent. Done on the cheap, as it was his second wedding and her third. And they are both in their early thirties, btw.

Groom and his pals responsible for setting everything up were drinking, fell way behind, and weren't even to the park yet with the chairs and tent as the first guests started to arrive. Bridezilla showed up pissed, then totally lost her mind when just as the ceremony was starting, it was discovered that they'd left the rings at their hotel, 17 miles away. She used some words that the kids in attendance should not have been privy to, but as most of the kids were theirs, they've probably heard it before. So they had to borrow rings from guests for the ceremony after the bridesmaids calmed her panic tantrum down. And then she stepped in dog doo because the boys didn't police the site where they set the tent up, and this set her off again.

Maybe his third and her fourth will go smoother.

But the reception buffet and open bar were pretty good, even without the sideshow, and I ate and drank free all night, and most of the female guests were *ahem* dancers, so the eye candy abounded.

 I do love this city.

Sunday, April 01, 2018


Just your typical New-Orleans bunny-themed bar crawl, Bunarchy.

Death could not hold Him!

Aging friends

Someone's neck was hurting so bad that he couldn't bend down to get his food, so he had to lay down to eat the other day.

Don't know what it was from, but he was whining every time he had to move his head so I took him to the vet and got him checked out and got him some muscle relaxers and he seems just fine again. In fact, he was "fine" enough to join Belle in chasing chickens around the back yard yesterday, and one slow chicken left Belle with a mouth full of feathers before it got back under the fence. But I'll be watching that neck of his. I know he's got some arthritis in his legs that's troubling him, but he powers through it most of the time. It does suck to watch your canine pals grow old.

But I will add that the next day, Belle tried to sneak in and take some of his food and that low, ominous warning growl he gave her was enough to get my attention as well as hers. She didn't try again. That's my Murphy, right there!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Took a newbie shooting today

Call it my post-Parkland civic duty.

She liked it so much she wants to go again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Watchdog fail on St. Josephs' Day

The dogs are usually hyper alert to things outside. Their beds are by the window and Belle in particular sits and gazes out all day long. When either one of them sees or hears anything suspicious--a passing cat, someone walking a rival dog past (Oh no they didn't!) or something really threatening like the UPS truck, a school bus, a garbage truck or their personal nemesis the mailman, they sound off in tandem like it's World War Three.

But last night, they were completely silent as I worked on assembling a dresser in my bedroom. They didn't even react to the drums and the chants outside that finally caught MY ear and made me go look. Sure enough, Murphy was still napping and Belle was casually watching as a dozen Mardi Gras Indians from the 7th Ward's Monogram Hunters paraded right up the street, with half the neighborhood following them.

Excuse the poor quality shots--it was getting dark out and the camera phone wasn't making it happen.
Indian culture is big in "real" New Orleans, beyond the facade that the tourists and those in nice gentrified neighborhoods see. They've been doing it since before WW1, and they work all year on these elaborate suits made of beads and feathers just for Mardi Gras, St. Jospeh's Day and "Super Sunday", which was supposed to have been this past Sunday but will now be this coming Sunday due to bad weather last week-end. This tribe is the 7th Ward Monogram Hunters, one of the oldest tribes. Several of my neighbors are members.

This probably explains why the watchdogs did not bark--they knew it was our own tribe passing by. At least that's the excuse I'm making for their lazy asses today.

Come back Sunday for a ton more Indian shots and lore as I'll be up at Super Sunday for that.

Not boring around here...not boring at all.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sunday in New Orleans

Sunday started off with me getting up and out the door just in time for church. Then another crawfish boil for lunch.

Went home after that and took a nice Sunday nap. Got up, cleaned a couple of rifles on the back steps, then got cleaned up and went to a pig roast for dinner courtesy of a neighborhood bar celebrating it's three-year anniversary..
Damn, that pig was sublime. Cut it with a sharp look and so tender and tasty.

Had a few drinks, went home, headed to bed early, then suddenly got a call. Some nice young ladies that I know needed help as a show that they were doing. Could I come help at the door? Well sure. Of course I could. Because I'm helpful like that. So I headed over and put a couple hours in for a good cause. Because I just can't say no to damsels in distress.

Got back home about 0200 or so, but I made enough money to pay for both the crawfish boil and the pig roast, plus I got free drinks. So my whole Sunday cost me nothing.

Life in New Orleans is seldom boring, lemme tell ya. But it works if you put the effort in.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

St. Patricks Day, New Orleans

Yeah I know...we've been celebrating it for a week and a half already...but yesterday we got serious with the Irish Channel parade on Magazine Street. Naturally, your roving reporter was there.

This parade is a long one and take a few hours, mainly because everyone watching and most people in it are drinking. There were 30 floats this year, and numerous marching groups, bands and dance krewes in between each one. I was fortunate enough to be invited to two different parties a block apart, so I spent my day bouncing back and forth and freely enjoying the libations provided at each one.

The riders on the floats throw handy stuff, to include cabbages, potatoes, onions and soap (Irish Spring, naturally). I got a ton of the stuff, and one of the women I was there with is going to teach me how to cook the cabbage, because, until yesterday, I had no idea what to do with one. But now I have four of them.

Go to a parade, make groceries. It's the Irish way in New Orleans.

Some of the highlights:

As is typical, you get right up on the floats as they pass by in order to catch the goodies. Parades in this city are audience participation events and also full-contact at times if you're not careful. I have been beaned several times by throws off the floats that I didn't see coming or caught poorly due to "environmental factors"

It was a great day, and this was only one of several parades going on in the area. It was the biggest though and I was feeling quite good when it was over. Bless St. Jameson indeed!

But no rest for the wicked. Had another crawfish boil to get to last night.
Tasty looking little suckers, ain't they?

In they go!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Thanks for the entertainment, Navy and Air Force!

One of the nice things about living here is the proximity to New Orleans NAS in Belle Chase and Keesler AFB over near Biloxi, Missibama. Thanks to those two, I get a pretty good air show most week-ends and some week-days as F-15, F-16 and F-18 aircraft overfly the city, often coming right over my house at pretty low altitude. Elements of two and four fighters often fly overhead and the sight and sound is fantastic, especially when they kick in some power.

But that's only half the fun. The other hald is looking at my neighborhood's social media page, aka the "bitch and whine" site. Every time the jets come over more than once or twice, the posts start:

"Anyone have any idea why all the military planes are flying so low over the city?"

"Those planes are shaking my house again! Why are they doing this?"

"I'm calling my councilman again. Those WAR machines have no business over our city!"

And my favorite: "Anyone notice how it's much more frequent since 45 (President Trump) got in? It's like he's trying to show us all that he's in charge!"

Yes, snowflakes. All of that proficiency training is just The Man trying to keep you personally down. And they actually say this stuff. Under their own names. Because they believe it. And they support and validate each other and each thread becomes more ludicrous. "They're training to go to Afghanistan to kill innocent people!" "They're desensitizing us for when they declare martial law!"

And so on. It would be laughable if these people weren't also allowed to vote in elections and raise kids.

Cue the heretic. Enter me, stage right.

"Man, don't you all just love those jets this morning? That's the sound of FREEDOM, right there! God bless our military aviators who are up there keeping us safe today!"

And this, dear readers, is why the dogs and I don't get invited to too many neighborhood parties.

They also seem to get a tad touchy when I try to sympathize with them. "Yeah, I know. It sucks when you move into a city and the Navy and Air Force come along and build bases right down the road, don't it?"
I've even helpfully reminded then that moving vans go both ways. But the ungrateful bastards still don't appreciate me for some reason.

One of my favorite ones is Muffin. Yes, I swear to God, her parents actually named her "Muffin" and now in her early thirties, she still goes by it. Of course her occupation, per all of her social media feed, is also "artist", so you get the idea. Muffin, a former New Yorker, is one of the hordes of transplants who rushed into this city after Katrina when it became hip and fashionable to do so. They bought or rented properties cheap in formerly black neighborhoods like the Bywater and then sat around accusing everyone else who moved in after they did of "gentrifying" the neighborhoods. And this is the crowd that hates President Trump, and statues of Civil War heroes, and the police that they nonetheless call every time someone steals their crappy bike, and the military.

But back to Muffin. Muffin is now demanding to know how much it costs to fly these planes over the city. Specifically, she wants to know how much gas they burn per hour, because that's the only real cost associated with flying a jet fighter. I helpfully tried to point out that fuel costs were minimal compared to the other costs associated with aircraft operation, and try to form, Muffin posted back: "I'm not an idiot. I know that they have to be worked on. I just want to know about the fuel costs, because people in this gas and oil crazy state will understand when I point out how much gas and oil they waste flying around like this every day!"

Muffin has also claimed that it's dangerous for these jets to fly over the populated cities, because when one has a problem, there's nowhere it can go except into a neighborhood. I told her that she had a great point and that we should probably close Louis Armstrong International Airport in neighboring Kenner too, because all of those passenger jets fly right over the same neighborhoods every day. This only seemed to make her madder though. She responded that passenger jets are worth the risk because there is a public benefit to them, "but MACHINES OF WAR (and yes, she always capitalizes that) have only one purpose, and it's to kill people and terrorize the populace."

Admittedly I took the cheap shot and pointed out that that was two purposes. Pretty sure that she hates me right up there with President Trump, the police, the jet pilots and Robert E. Lee right now. But at least I'm in good company.

PS--I wish Ed Rasimus was still here. I'd seriously go to the trouble of getting him signed up to our community forum just to watch the fireworks.

Monday, March 12, 2018

1903 Springfield good to go

So as to that 1903 Springfield I bought a while back that came with a seriously cracked stock...

I got a new stock for it, cleaned it up, gave it several coats of linseed oil, and reassembled it. To be honest, I'm fair well pleased with it.

It's still a bit light, but it'll darken.

I took it out to the range a couple weeks ago, and it shot dead-on, hitting the 8" steel plate at 100 yards every single time. Not only was I hitting more consistently than the guys with the AR rifles to either side of me, but that .30M2 round rings the gong with a lot more authority. I was very happy with it. And as usual, I was shooting prone from a mat and the only one at the range doing that. Everyone else sits at those benches that will, I'm sure, be all over the place for shooters to use during the next revolution which will almost certainly follow Hillary Clinton's next defeat in 2020...or her unlikely victory.

And now it's home with it's kin, shown center left here, with two 1903's to it's right and three 1903A3's to it's left.

I confess to having an affinity for these rifles, even over the M1 Garand, but that puts me in good company, Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller thought the 1903 was more accurate and an all-around better infantry rifle, at least as far as his Marines were concerned.