Monday, February 28, 2011

You know you're a Gunnie when...

You suddenly realize that you've been unconsciously observing proper trigger discipline while using the Weedeater...

trigger control

Spring has sprung in my corner of Texas. Or, at least it seems to have for now. Texas weather has a way of whipping around and biting you in the ass if you let your guard down - so I remain cautiously optimistic. We'll probably get another night or two where it dips below freezing.

Stuff is starting to show signs of life outdoors, though. I had to mow the yard today - which I actually enjoy doing - and it's nice to see a couple of our outdoor plants starting to wake up.

The Bradford Pear tree is getting ready to bloom, flower buds have cropped up all over the blueberry bush, the patches of day lillies are up a couple of inches above ground, and the Banksia Rose that I planted last year is leafing out well...

banksia leaf out

It grew like crazy over last summer. I'm training it up a trellis on our deck and its already reached the top and has several canes that are easily 10-12 feet long. Here's a pic from last year's abbreviated bloom when I first planted it:

banksia rose

This spring the show of color should be pretty good. Lady Banksia Rose has huge masses of these small flowers all over it when in full bloom.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


"A “revolutionary” today means an individual for whom modern vulgarity is not triumphing quickly enough."

- Nicolás Gómez Dávila (“Don Colacho”). From Escolios a un Texto Implícito (Notes on the margins of an implicit text)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Style Saturday - 2/26/2011

The pickings have been slim for the Style Saturday feature, as of late. I think I'm going to retire it as a regular feature for now. I'll still post a Style Saturday segment when I run across something that I think is interesting.

For now, though, I'll just leave you with a vision of "fashion don't" from the past...

fashion dont

I thought Faux-hawks were a recent phenomenon.... and that jacket?

Seriously, Dude.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Addition to the workshop "To Do" list...

Last weekend, Spring Fever and Cabin Fever got the best of us so me and Mrs. Paladin hit the road. We wanted to check out a "new" flea market in the town of Mckinney, Texas. Its pretty small, and its located in an old lumberyard at the edge of the "rough" part of town.

Pretty cool stuff there - especially considering how small it was. My Wife picked up several odds and ends for her craft room  - another wooden printer's typeset tray and some vintage metal filing cabinet thingies. I found an old tube radio that is one of the models that I've long coveted but never been able to afford:

belmont 2

That's a Belmont tube radio from 1946. It's dirty. It's missing both knobs and over half the push buttons. It has a jagged hole broken out of one side and a less severe crack in the other.

belmont 3

But Damn.... it sure has beautiful lines, don't it?

belmont 1

I'm such a sucker for beat up old stuff like this. When I caught the vendor's eye and he said "Five Dollars on the old Radio".... I didn't even think twice. You'd be surprised how different this old girl will look when I'm done with it. Fixing the damage to the case won't be that difficult. It's a painted case rather than a polished bakelite one - and that makes repair a lot easier. Coming up with knobs and replacement pushbuttons will be a lot more difficult. I can find substitute knobs that won't be "correct", but that will look and work fine for my purposes. The only reproduction push buttons I found are from a fella in Canada who wants $7 a piece for them..... yeah, not gonna drop that kinda coin on a $5 radio.

There are people near me that will restore the radio chassis pretty reasonably - so we'll see what I can come up with. In the end I'll hopefully have a snazzy looking, good sounding, radio. Even if it is missing a few push buttons :)

After leaving the flea market with our haul of goodies, we ran over to the tiny town of Caddo Mills for lunch at Lafayette's.

Fried Catfish = Good Times.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bed Head

bailey bedhead 2 8x10 light small

Bailey - Eagerly awaiting morning donuts after a recent sleep-over. Dig that crazy hair....

We party hard at Mema and Scruff's house :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Windows to the Soul


Never once, in all that time that I wore glasses as a kid and later as a younger man, did I have to have my eyes dilated. I got in to see the Eye Doctor last Friday, and he dilated my eyes...

Me No Like.

Driving home in the bright Texas sunshine was a real treat... even with sunglasses on.

I should have my new specs in a week or so. I could have had them same-day, but they have to be sent out if you want the PolyCarbonate lenses that are shatterproof and extra-scratch proof. Given my propensity for destroying eyewear, if figured I better go with hardcore protection levels :)

My eyes actually weren't as bad as I thought they would be. I definitely need readers, but my distance vision is only slightly impaired and imbalanced between eyes with my dominant (right) eye being the worse of the two. The Doc said that the main problem with my distance vision is the fact that my eyes are different strengths, and that all the reading that I have been doing without corrective lenses is straining my eyes to the point that my distance vision suffers as a result. My eyes have been so worn out trying to see up close that they are too pooped to focus properly at distance.

I did discover that the Eye Doc is a Gunnie... he shoots competitively and we chatted about guns, gun ranges, and the like during and after the exam. Pretty cool guy.

Eye glass frames are sure different now from when I wore them before. Most of the frames are the narrow, rectangular ones that look like they could be worn by either women or men. I don't really dig those for me. I want as much field of vision as possible. Narrow frames seem like they'd be like looking at everything through a mail slot. I had to compromise, though. Mrs. Paladin made me promise not to get big giant frames that looked like they traveled through time from the 1980's.... so I split the difference and got a pair that was sort of in between.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


"A good upbringing means not that you won’t spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won’t notice it when someone else does."

Anton Chekhov

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Style Saturday - 2/19/2011

Solanah may be my favorite internet Vintage Gal.... but Kat Creasey isn't far behind.

face 2

Hit the jump for more...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sign of things to come....

Warm weather this week, which is great. Temps in the 70's and its really giving me Spring Fever. Unfortunately, warmer weather also makes the call volume at work pick up significantly.

I've worked 30 hours in just the past two days, including a call out at 2am on Tuesday morning.

I predict a busy Spring/Summer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A (Pass)Word to the Wise

Via Geekologie -

How long it takes Hacking software to bust your password, depending upon the password you choose:

I knew it was a good idea to beef up your passwords. I didn't realize, though, just how much difference it makes adding one or two additional characters to your password - or mixing numbers, upper/lower case, or symbols into the mix for that matter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

I don't usually go in for greeting card sentiments. They are usually so sappy and when you read one you've pretty much read them all. I heard something in a Valentines Day radio commercial the other day, though, that I thought was pretty good. It's really short, but strikes true:

"Valentine's Day isn't for saying I love you, it's for saying I Love Us."

I like that. I'd swipe it and use it for Mrs. Paladin this year, but I'm pretty sure that she's heard the commercial herself and I'd be busted :)

elvgren1 something new copy

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.

- Tina Fey

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Style Saturday - 2/12/2011

Saw this pic recently on Shorpy.

1905 new york medium

Its a photograph taken looking down Wall Street in New York City, in 1905. The third building down on the left side is the New York Stock Exchange. This picture was taken using one of the large 8x10 glass negatives. Many of the people you see on the street are stock traders, both from the NYSE and "curb traders" who traded stocks that didn't qualify for inclusion on the more prestigious NYSE. They traded their stocks outside. Others in the picture are just people going about their daily business in the city.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Girl Friday - 2/11/2011 - Laura Vandervoort

This week's Girl Friday is a Canadian born actress who is probably best known as "Supergirl", on the TV show Smallville.

Laura Vandervoort

laura vandervoort 6

Hit the jump for more Super Beauty -

Thursday, February 10, 2011

German Cavalry - 1935

german cavalry 1935 standing saddle position

German Cavalry, demonstrating the standing saddle position. 1935.

Don't laugh too much at the sight of men training in 19th Century Cavalry techniques in the age of tanks, machine guns, fighters, and bombers. This is the same army that would come within a hair's breadth of world domination just a few short years after this photograph was taken.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Taylor is a cat and an area rug.

taylor blob

He actually doesn't eat all that much. He's just developed a finely tuned sense of what rates the burning of calories, and what doesn't. The second list is much longer than the first.

He's a pretty old guy now. My Daughter named him after one of the Hanson brothers (musical group) if that gives you any idea. I brought him home from the animal shelter as a kitten for my Daughter when she was a little girl.

I miss having a dog. I'm a dog guy. Taylor stayed with us when my Daughter got married, since the Son-in-law is allergic to cats. This of course means that Taylor has picked ME as his favorite person on the planet. He stays within 2' of me whenever I'm home and stares at me with that creepy, penetrating "OBEY ME" cat stare until I pet him each evening :)

Maybe this Spring/Summer we'll re-enter the dog world. Mrs. Paladin is ready now, but house training a new puppy is definitely not a Winter job. Especially when it's me that has to do most of the training.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Its a matter of Perspective

My part of Texas didn't escape "Snowmageddon 2011". The arctic front that blew through last Tuesday brought mostly ice, frigid temps, and high winds. I spent 12 hours in the Dog Truck that day, but only eeked out 16 miles and one call run. That makes for a long day.

For the next couple of days, temps didn't go above freezing - which meant the roads couldn't thaw out and it was an ice skating rink anywhere you tried to drive. Don't even get me started on the condition of parking lots and the thrill-fest it became walking into a store from where you parked if you managed to get to your destination. On Friday morning I awoke to this:

cars snow

That's my Wife's Kia Soul, and my Tacoma, after 5 inches of snow fell overnight. I was off duty Friday, so I didn't have to go in to work, but the Wife still wanted to give it a try. I insisted that I drive her (stubborn) ass in to work since I couldn't talk her out of it. Cleaning off the snow was a breeze. Walking around the cars in 5 inches of snow covering a rock hard layer of ice was another matter. I hit the ground twice during the procedure. Fortunately, while my vision is showing its age my bones have yet to become brittle and the only injury I suffered was to my pride :)  My efforts were rewarded by finding that not only could I not get enough traction with the Tacoma to get fully out of the driveway and onto the street (even with a locking differential), I almost couldn't get enough grip on the ice to get the truck back into the safety of the driveway when I finally gave up on the attempt.

pump snow sepia

Don't laugh, you smug Northerners :) 

I know some of you read this from areas of the US and Canada that deal with this stuff all the time. The difference between your dealing with it and us dealing with it down here in the Land of Milk and Honey (besides lacking your years of experience dealing with it) is that we have absolutely nothing in place to make dealing with it a possibility. Virtually no means to sand/salt the roads, no snow plows, almost no one has snow chains. It doesn't make sense to invest in all those things when conditions don't make them necessary 99.9% of the time. Driving around during the siege, I saw no sand at all anywhere in the town where I live. Not even at intersections and on bridges. My drive to work Tuesday was a slide-fest with zero measures taken by the three towns I drive through back and forth to work to make the roads driveable. That stretched my drive time from 30 minutes each way to well over and hour each way. I lost track of the number of vehicles I passed that were stuck, not in deep snow or the ditch, but who just couldn't get enough traction to move forward from where they sat on the ice covered pavement.

bird feeder snow

It Sucks.... but there's not much for us to do about it realistically. Spending the money on snow plows, gobs of sand/salt, and snow chains just doesn't make fiscal sense when weather like this is as rare as it is down here. Just keep that in mind when you see reports of our plight on the news where you live and you're tempted to think:

"Stupid Texans.... why are they making such a big deal out of a couple of inches of snow? We deal with much worse all the time."

You cut me some slack on that, and I promise that I'll try not to giggle when I read reports this Summer of people being rushed to the hospital for heat stroke up North when the temps go over 95 degrees :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Vision Fail

You can file this one under "Reasons Not to Enjoy Getting Older".

Went to the range Thursday morning. I haven't shot a handgun in a while, and its been longer still since I took the FNP-9 out for a walk. Here's my best target at the 21 foot range:

fnp9 7yds

Not too bad. Well grouped with a couple of minor flyers. Pretty happy with that one. Here's my most irritating target - same gun at 45 feet range:

fnp9 15yds

Houston.... We have a problem.

I wore eye glasses as a kid.

I remember back in grade school they gathered us all together and gave us a quickie eye chart test and I ended up having to take a note home to my parents. I was probably in the third or fourth grade at the time. My folks took me to the eye doctor and I can remember sitting in the chair and looking at the eye chart at the end of the room filled with strange (but incredibly interesting) devices. The Doc asked me to read one of the lines, and I couldn't even see that there was a line of letters there...

So I got glasses. Black framed Clark Kent looking glasses.

My Maternal Grandmother used to call me "Ernie" (remember the TV show My Three Sons?). I broke them regularly, being a rough and tumble kind of guy even back then. I didn't mind wearing glasses too much, though, because I could see stuff that I didn't even know I was missing before. I remember how amazing it was to realize that I could actually see leaves on trees and not just a green blur where the leaves were supposed to be.

At some point I graduated to wire framed glasses, which were still dorky but less so than the plastic ones. From there I progressed into contact lenses through High School and College - which were way cooler but a major pain in the ass, what with the solution and soaking and itching due to hayfever/allergies. All through my vision correction efforts my eyesight got steadily worse and worse. That is, until about 10-12 years ago.

Fairly rapidly my vision began to improve. So much so that I no longer needed glasses to see at distance. I was able to pass the vision test for driving without glasses and got to drop the corrective lenses restriction from my license. Yeah me! It was great not to have to mess with contact lenses or glasses on a daily basis. I could buy sunglasses right off the rack in the stores. No more poking stuff in my eyes when I got up in the morning. No more eyeglasses fogging up when I walked from A/C cooled rooms into hot and humid Texas summer air....

All things change, however, and time is catching up to me once again. I've gradually been loosing my near vision over the last couple of years. Stuff gets blurry up close now. Reading small print labels and threading a needle is pretty much impossible. Not only that, but my night vision has begun to erode as well. So far that's not been too annoying because I usually don't have to work nights and normally I don't find myself going places at night where I actually need to read signs. Recently, though, my distance vision has begun to show signs of trouble too. Age undoubtedly is playing a role in this, but it's probably aggravated by me straining my eyes. I read a lot (avg. 1-2 books a week) and now we have computers in the trucks at work so I've got 'puter screen eye strain off and on all day.

At the range, when shooting at the 15 yard (45 foot) range I found that I couldn't see the target very well at all. I could see the 6" red area on the target kinda - though it was blurry - but I couldn't see the center "X" at all, and I couldn't see where my shots were hitting most of the time. I had no idea if I was even hitting the paper until I retrieved the target.

If you can't see the target, you can't hit the target.

I have to qualify at 3, 7, and 15 yard ranges to renew my CHL this summer - so its time to get off my ass and actually do something about my deteriorating eyesight. It's been so long since I've seen an eye doctor that my "regular" optometrist isn't even alive any more. I'm gonna schedule an eye exam in the next week or two and I'll be back in the world of vision correction once again. I'll probably end up in some sort of bifocal lenses. I doubt I'll mess with contact lenses this time around, though. Glasses are a pain and they chip away at one's vanity, but the thought of having to deal with the contact lens hassles really doesn't appeal to me.

Time nibbles away at all of us, you know?

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Everwhere is within walking distance - if you have enough time.

- Steven Wright

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Style Saturday - 2/5/2011

More from Solanah, of the Vixen Vintage Blog...


I like Solahna's style, not only because it has a vintage flair, but also because she shows a level of self confidence and playfulness that you don't find everywhere these days.




Friday, February 4, 2011

Girl Friday - 2/04/2011 - Betty Brosmer 2

Its always a great day at The Reluctant Paladin, when new pictures of Betty Brosmer show up on Girl Friday.

Betty Brosmer

betty brosmer 5

Hit the jump for the rest of the curvy goodness...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cool concept vehicle from the past

This is the Croft Aeromobile:


Pic via Corbis

It was built by Edgar Croft, of Zion City, Illinois back in 1922. Mr. Croft used airplane parts and a motorcycle engine to create the vehicle. Its driven by a Propellor in the back. The tubular frame of the Aeromobile also surrounds the tips of the propellor blades as (some what) of a safety measure against someone walking into the blades or the driver getting shredded should he fall out of his seat.

The brakes were wooden blocks that pushed against the tires - kind of like the old friction brakes on horse drawn wagons. The vehicle got 50 mile per gallon due to the motorcycle engine. Top speed was around 65 mph - though I wouldn't suggest anyone take corners at speed on a trike like this :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Note to my Texas Readers

Last week, a Bill was introduced in the Texas Legislature (82R) by Representative Ruth Jones McClendon (D). It's H.B. 998. I wanted to make you aware of it, and I hope that you will contact your State Representative and State Senator as I have to make your opinion known.

The Bill is being pushed by HSUS and Rep. McClendon with the appearance that it will curb violent dog attacks on people. In fact, though, it is a backdoor method of passing legislation that moves toward mandatory Neutering for the majority of dogs statewide.

HB 998 would apply to the following animals:


              (a) This section applies only to a male dog that:
                    (1) has not been neutered;
                    (2) weighs 20 pounds or more; and
                    (3) is not restrained at all times:
                           (A) on a leash in the immediate control of a person; or
                           (B) in a secure enclosure.

So... any dog over 20 lbs, that is not neutered, and that has gotten out of its yard for whatever reason or been walked off leash at any point in its life would be subject to the law. Just to illustrate the size we are talking about here... Beagles are generally 20-25 lbs when mature.


So what does the law prescribe for the animals described above?

           (b) The owner of a dog described by Subsection (a) is liable for damages to property and for
                 death or bodily injury to a person by the dog.

Sounds reasonable to me to expect the owner of a dog to be responsible for damages, injury, or death caused by their pet. I have no problem with holding pet owners responsible for what happens when they fail to properly restrain their animals. As someone who has dealt daily with all varieties of "bad dogs" for well over a decade, though, I can promise you that female dogs can be just as vicious, just as dangerous, and do just as much damage as their male counterparts. Why does this bill address only male dogs? Why only male intact dogs? Why the size limitation?

          (c) The owner of a dog described by Subsection (a) shall maintain liability insurance coverage in
               an amount of not less than $100,000 for each occurrence for liability for damages to property
               and for death or bodily injury to a person caused by the dog.
         (d) A person commits an offense if the person violates Subsection (c). An offense under this subsection
              is a Class C  misdemeanor unless it is shown on the trial of the offense that the 
              person has previously committed an offense under this subsection,in which event it is a Class B

Paragraph (c) requires any unneutered male dog that is over 20 lbs to be covered by a $100,000 liability insurance policy if that animal has ever been walked off leash, gotten out of its yard, or has otherwise ever been unrestrained. In addition, should you fail to get the required insurance or neuter your dog after being previously cited for a violation - you are now guilty of a Class B misdemeanor and the penalties get much stiffer.

Again - all of this occurs whether or not your dog actually does any damage to any property or harms a person in any way. There are laws already on the books that deal with animal attacks and a process through which a dog can be declared "Dangerous". I have no problem with debating potential toughening of those laws to close loopholes and protect the public from actual dangerous animal situations.

However, HB 998 is clearly just an attempt by HSUS and the Bill's author to bring about mandatory neutering of pets via backdoor legislation. There's no way in Hell they could have any hope of passing a mandatory statewide animal sterilization law and they know it. Instead, they are trying to bring that about by threat of increasing penalties for violations of restraint laws which pose no threat to the public and the added expense of carrying liability insurance should you choose not to neuter your dog.

I am in favor of spay/neuter. I think its usually a good idea for personal pets. However, there are tons of things that I think are "good ideas" that I don't believe should be mandated by force of law. I do not support laws which seek to mandate spay/neuter for people who are not habitual repeat violators of restraint laws or who are not owners of animals legally declared "Dangerous".

I have emailed both my State Representative and my State Senator to make my opinion on this matter known. I would encourage you to do the same. 

By the way... If you donate money to HSUS to help the poor animals you see in the TV commercials and want to know where a big chunk of your cash actually goes? HSUS gives less that ONE PERCENT of the money it generates to actual, hands-on animal shelters. The rest goes toward salaries, advertising, pension plans, and lobbying efforts promoting "animal rights", opposing hunting sportsmen, and piece of crap legislation like HB 998.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New digs for an old favorite...

Angela, of Adventures in Self Reliance, has moved her wonderfully useful blog to its own domain:

Head on over there for great information and to enter for the recent give away.

Texas Weather...

Saturday's weather as we walked around the Fort Worth Stockshow was sunny and warm. Blue skies and temps in the high 60's. Nice gentle, warm breeze. It was a day when we get to be a little smug down here in Texas while the rest of the US suffers the ravages of Winter...

This morning as I type this the temperature is 24 degrees on my backporch. It's sleeting. Winds are gusting to 51 mph at DFW airport. Wind chills are around 9 degrees F.

And this is the "high" for today. Supposed to get worse as the day wears on - with tomorrow even worse. They are talking about an actual low of around 10 or 11 degrees tonight.

Sometimes I think it might not be quite so bad to work inside in an office after all.