Monday, June 27, 2011

CHL Renewal

Back to work today - Blech....

As my last act of freedom during my vacation I completed the process of renewing my Concealed Handgun License. Took the required 4 hour class (new applicants take 10 hours) on Saturday and Aced the test. Proficiency shooting was Sunday morning before the range opened to regular business and I shot 249 out of a possible 250 - which I was pretty happy with. The Certificate is on its way to Austin for processing so I should be good to go in plenty of time before my current license expires in October.

We had 13 people in our class (8 first timers and 5 renewals). The teacher asked the retreads how long they had been licensed to carry and how often they actually carried. Three of the renewals came back with the answer that irritates me whenever I hear it. Its some variation of: "I only carry when I think I might need to. You know, when I'm going someplace where I think I might have a problem. My gun is too big to conceal in Texas in the summer - so I keep it in my car most of the time."

I wanted to ask them exactly how they developed the skill to see the future and know when and where they were going to need to defend themselves. But I didn't.

During the shooting test I was able to help a fellow shooter out. I, being an over-preparer, had brought along a backup gun. My Beretta has never given me any problems at all. However, I'm a believer it not just planning for what you think will probably happen. I'm a believer in looking at the potential problems that could come up, weighing the consequences of each possible outcome, and then planning accordingly. The odds of something going wrong with my chosen gun during the exam were extremely small - however, the consequences of not having a functional gun during the exam were high enough that I thought it wise to pack a "spare".

One of the shooters, a very nice older guy, had his gun repeatedly hiccup during the shooting circuit. The gun would fire one round fine, chamber the next round fully, but then the trigger would lock up for some reason on the second round. I loaned him my FNP-9 so that he could complete the exam. The only downside to this tale is that he shot better with my gun than I do :)

Also picked up some info on a legal defense program called Texas Law Shield. I'm looking into it, but basically its a program that allows you to place an attorney on retainer for use if you are ever involved in a defensive handgun shooting - at an extremely low cost. Should you have to use your gun, they defend you in criminal and civil matters at no further expense.

Any of you out here have experience with this outfit? I'll share more about them as I look things over.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


My Buddy, Xmichra, has bestowed upon me an award:


The receipt of said award requires the recipient to reveal 7 things about themselves that they may not have previously.....

I generally can't remember what I've said on this blog and what I haven't - so I'll just go for the ones that most people don't know about me.  Here goes:

1. I'm a Dog Catcher by trade, and have been so since 1994, but I actually have a Degree in Business Adminstration/Accounting from a major Texas University. I also have enough college hours to have a Master's Degree if I could just figure out how to arrange them properly.

2. I have almost no sense of smell whatsoever.

3. The weirdest thing I've ever eaten is an Opossum.

4. When I was a boy, a friend and I would sneak down to the river bottom near my house and watch idiot Klansmen burn crosses. It was scary.

5. My least favorite class in College was public speaking. I hate being the center of attention and you don't get more "front and center" than when you're actually "front and center". My final presentation was a demonstration and tutorial for how to milk a cow - complete with a faux cow udder filled with water which I used to squirt people in the first couple of rows in the class.

I got an "A".

6. I actually took a course in college that required me to insert my entire right arm into a cow's rectum. Its a process called palpation. The cows generally resist this procedure.

7. I'm the worst person on the planet when it comes to remembering names. I've tried all the memory tricks and I still suck at it. If I see you somewhere once I'll remember your face forever. However, if we're best friends I'll probably forget your name if I don't talk to you for a year.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wall Auto Blowtorch

Picked up this little pint sized torch the other day...

dreadnaught before

Its an "Auto" style Blowtorch made by the P. Wall Manufacturing Company. Blowtorches of this general flattened shape were called auto torches because they were made to fit more easily into an automotive toolbox.  The tank is steel and the burner is cast iron - as opposed to the brass and bronze components found on ealier torches. She's missing the original control knob. Looks like someone soldered a little metal arm in place to do the job instead.

Not much left of the old label:

dreadnaught label before

The Wall company eventually merged with the Lenk company (who also made small blowtorches). They still make small torches today, although they are of the less dangerous propane/butane variety.

Here she is after some time in my shop:

dreadnaught after

I don't think the plumbing for this old girl is original, and I don't think she would work as is. Most likely someone started to repair her years ago and gave up the effort before finishing the job. I replaced the makeshift control knob with a small knob/needle from the parts bin. The label is a 5 minute photoshop effort that contains most of the elements of the original. I'll probably refine the label design a bit and replace it at some point.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Girl Friday - 6/24/2011 - Dolly Read - NSFW

This week's Girl Friday was Playmate of the Month back in May of 1966.

Dolly Read

Dolly_Read 3

Hit the jump for some NSFW shots - 1966 style...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where to I blog from?

Reader Dave asked what my "shiny room" looks like and how I display some of the stuff that I restore.

Do you mean the place where I'm blogging right now? The place where I have free reign to display all sorts of stuff that interests me without any pesky consideration of decor or what Mrs. Paladin will say?


Keep in mind, this is just one room of Castle Paladin. The rest of the house has the odd antique item or two scattered about, but I try to keep my "toys" mostly in the study/computer room though - so I don't get completely out of control. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I take the Concealed Handgun License renewal class this coming weekend. I had intended to hit the range regularly over the past couple of months to work out the kinks and get used to shooting with glasses, but one thing led to another and it didn't happen. I did steal an hour yesterday morning, though, and got the chance to swap sweating in the yard for sweating at the gun range for a little bit.

Good Trade :)


100 rounds of .380 ACP fired as fast as I could get away with without having a range officer scold me. I generated a couple of raised eyebrows over my rate of fire, but I didn't get yelled at so I guess I walked that line pretty well. I'm pretty comfortable with my shooting at this point.

I just wish the classroom session was immediately followed by the range qualification, instead of range time being scheduled the following morning. I hate to make two trips, but the renewal class fee of $45 was too good to pass up. On the bright side - being at the range first thing the next morning for proficiency testing will give me an excuse to hang around afterwards and shoot some more just for fun when I'm all done :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

If a tree falls in Nannyville, does it make a sound?

Yes it does.

Unfortunately, it is the sound of the City Code Enforcement Department interfering with your property rights.

I spend most of my time at work in the field. I have a desk that I share with another Animal Control Officer - but I spend very little time there. Occasionally, though, I find myself doing paperwork and such when Officers from the Code Enforcement Department are nearby at their desks. I overheard a conversation between the Code Supervisor and someone the other day and discovered another ridiculous intrusion into people's lives in the City where I work.

Seems that if you own your home and a tree in your yard dies, or is cut down, or blows over in a storm - you are required by city code to replace the tree with one of a specific approved minimum size and a specific approved species in a specific approved location on "your" property. You can't just decide that you no long want a tree in your yard. You can't go crazy and just pick the tree that you want whilly-nilly if its not on the "approved list".

Such obnoxious intrusion into property rights would be expected if it were coming from a Home Owners Association where you knew the by-laws going in and had agreed to the restrictions voluntarily - but when the micro-managing irritation is City-wide it just seems to make it more ridiculous.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Folks at Nissan ask the question....

Nissan, maker of the all electric Leaf automobile, asks what the world would be like if everything were powered by gas? Check out this cool but short 16 second video...

My answer to the question?


I want that coffee maker so bad it HURTS. I know this is the opposite reaction to the commercial from what the ad agency intended - but there you go.

There are several short videos like this from Nissan on youtube, and a longer version that strings them all together. This is my favorite because of the cool-assed coffee maker engine. Of course, Nissan portrays all gas engines as dirty, oil leaking, clattering junkers that produce plumes of noxious grey exhaust because the intent is to show you how "superior" all electric cars are to their gasoline powered counterparts. Even the two cycle engine on my post hole digger doesn't smoke like the engines in the commercial - and it burns an oil/gas mixture instead of just gas.

Too, there's no mention of the terrible environmental impact of mining and refining the rare earth minerals that are needed to make electric cars practical, or the fact that changing from gas engines to electric engines just means more fossil fuels will be needed to meet the increased electric energy demand... but I guess we'll just have to suspend disbelief like we do when watching a sci-fi movie.

Somebody get me that coffee maker, before I have to cobble one together myself.....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Girl Friday - 06/17/2011 - Solanah (Vixen Vintage)

This week's Girl Friday is a modern gal who embraces the Vintage Scene with a style all her own -


Click on any of the pics to visit Solanah's Site: Vixen Vintage

Hit the jump for more...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Note to Self

Note to Self:

When next you advance schedule a week's vacation in order to work on multiple outdoor projects including replacing a wooden privacy fence and roof turbines on the house - please remember that triple digit temperatures usually arrive in Texas during the middle of June.

"Vacation" starts today - and a sweaty one it will be. We hit the 100 degree mark officially earlier this week with many more sure to follow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Best Laid Plans....

H/T Geekologie

Sometimes life goes according to plan...

And Sometimes it doesn't...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Libyan Ingenuity

Behold..... a BMP Turret mounted to a pickup truck.

If I could find a reasonably priced BMP, I'd be sorely tempted to mount one on the Tacoma :)

Sign of the Past

terrell buford drugs

Another pic from the Terrell, Texas outing this past weekend. This time from old downtown Terrell. The drugstore is no longer there. I think its some sort of salon or something now - but happily they left the old neon sign. Its hard for me to see an old relic of the past like this and not stop and take a quick picture. I'd like to see it lit up at night...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Road Trip

Mrs. Paladin and I hopped over the Terrell, Texas Saturday and spent some time wandering around an antique tractor and engine show. Lots of cool stuff to see, if you're into that sort of thing.

terrell farmall f20

I don't have any need for a tractor, and absolutely no room for one, but I'm sure tempted from time to time to pick up and old rusty Farmall and bring it back to life. I've thought off and on about picking up a smaller stationary engine instead, but some of these things go for upwards of a thousand dollars if you can find them at all. Highly sought after by collectors.

terrell excelsior stationary engine

More in my price range are the smaller gas engines of the sort built by Briggs and Stratton, Lauson, or Maytag - like this one used to run a washing machine before electricity made it out to most rural areas.

terrell maytag gas washer

I'd never seen a meat grinder run off of a Maytag washer motor, but they had one at the show. Pretty cool...

terrell maytag meat grinder attachment

Also spotted this old girl in the parking area nearby...

terrell 1955 dodge royal lancer front qtr smaller

That's a 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer. Damned cool looking car. And check this out:

terrell 1955 dodge royal lancer child seat

How's that for a child safety seat? Looks pretty safe to me :)  Its a wonder we all survived childhood considering we aren't buckled into hamster balls like kids nowadays.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Girl Friday - 6/10/2011 - Aracely Arambula

This week's Girl Friday is Mexican model, actress, and singer...

Aracely Arambula

aracely arambula 5

Hit the jump for more.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Summer is here...

temp gauge

That's the temp gauge that monitors the temperature inside the transport bins on the Dog Truck (without the A/C unit running). We haven't "officially" broken the century mark here in the DFW area, but its hit the 100 degree mark in lots of the unofficial outlying areas already. This is the time of year here where the Weather Guy on TV can just copy/paste the forecast for the next 4 or 5 months:

"Mostly sunnny - with highs in the mid to upper nineties. Some areas reaching the triple digits."

At least the more resilient residents of my garden enjoy this time of year:


I'm finally pretty much over my ailments. The bronchitis really dragged on, but I'm feeling much better. Good thing, too, 'cuz I've been called out a couple of times at night this week on work calls. Counting two call outs after hours and my regular shift I logged 17 hours on Tuesday. I'm getting too old for this shit.

One of the calls was around Midnight, and involved me having to respond to a crime scene. It was some sort of domestic disturbance that resulted in the husband being arrested, and the wife being carried out in a body bag during my visit. I was there to take custody of their dog until another family member could be located to care for it .

I couldn't help but think as they rolled her past me and out the front door of the house into the night.....

I'll bitch about the heat. I'll bitch about the hours, lack of sleep, and general irritation of the job. I'll complain about not feeling well. But in the end, I'm not having nearly as bad a time of things as she is.

Monday, June 6, 2011

RIP, Marshall Dillon

Almost missed this. James Arness, who portrayed Marshall Matt Dillon in the iconic Television series "Gunsmoke" passed away last Friday at the age of 88.


Godspeed, Marshall Dillon. Miss Kitty is sure to be waiting for you with a cold one...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Girl Friday - 6/03/2011 - Kate Upton

This week's Girl Friday is a popular model who was voted "Rookie of the Year" in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition. She was also a five time Champion showing Paint Horses.

Well rounded :)

Kate Upton

Kate Upton 7

Hit the jump for more....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Would they have believed you?

Interesting pic from Shorpy recently:

cortlandt and west 1908 resized

That's a street view looking East from basically the intersection of Cortlandt Street and West Street in New York City in 1908. Pretty cool seeing the old street cars and the restaurants and shops with people going about their daily chores.

What makes this picture even more interesting to me is that you won't find Cortlandt Street in New York any more. All these shops are gone now. The Hotel is long gone and even the street itself was done away with.

You see, the intersection of Cortlandt and West also coincides with 115 West Street.

Ground Zero.

This photograph was taken essentially from the base of where the World Trade Center Towers would one day stand, almost 100 years before the towers were brought down on 9/11. Makes me wonder, when I look at closer views of the old picture:

cortlandt and west 1908 detail

Imagine walking up to these Gentlemen as they leave the Hotel and starting up a conversation: 

"Almost a century from now, there will be two buildings here in this spot over 1300 feet tall filled with people working in their offices. One morning a group of religious zealots who hate the United States will steal a couple of 300,000 lb flying machines and crash them into those buildings killing almost 3000 people."