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VOLUMES 223 & 224 -------- JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

Uploaded March 18, 2021

On February 4th Ann and I celebrated our 59th Wedding Anniversary!  As many celebrations during COVID, it was pretty low key around here.  A couple of dozen roses appeared for Ann on the 3rd.

Two Dozen Roses for the Pretty Lady

We exchanged cards the morning of the 4th, put on our 'town clothes' later, and had a photo with the flowers.

Cards on the mantle

59 Years and still in Love

The next item on the agenda was a couple of 'prime' filets from Hay J's Butcher Block in Liberty Lake. (hayjsbutcherblock.com)  Grilled on our trusty CharBroil grill, we both agreed that they were the best steaks we could remember.  YUM!

A quiet evening at home rounded out our celebration!

I reported in the September/October newsletter, that I had an issue with some Winchester factory ammunition in .280 Remington caliber.  I found, when sighting in rifles for upcoming deer season, two of the cartridges in the box would not chamber in my Browning X-Bolt nor in the semi custom Cooper.  To repeat myself, it appears that both rifles mentioned have minimum or near minimum SAMMI headspaced chambers, while the two cartridges headspace measurements are slightly over the minimum chamber measurements.

My attempt to reach out to Winchester Ammunition for comment or clarification via the the NSSF's Shot Show contact list, has so far gone unanswered.  The January 2021 Shot Show was canceled because of COVID concerns.  However, arrangements were made to visit most scheduled exhibitors virtually, and this is where the contact information was gleaned.

I'll make further attempts to contact Winchester Ammunition, but given the convoluted machinations of the Winchester brand in recent years, this may be complicated.  In 1981 Winchester Ammunition was separated from Winchester Firearms.  Olin Corporation retained rights to the Winchester brand, but it has since been licensed to many different entities worldwide.  Full explanation of the recent history is a bit complicated for my purposes here, so I won't.

Assuming I do finally make contact with the Ammunition people, I'll report on it here in the future.

While semi confined during the COVID lockdowns many of us have engaged in housecleaning and re-organizing for lack of other things we used to do.  During one of these projects, Ann came upon a receipt for a rifle purchase I made many years ago.  The rifle in question is a Model 98 Mauser in 7 x 57mm.

I have written many lines about this rifle in these pages since my first issue in July 2002.  It has killed many game animals in the hands of either me, Ann, or Granddaughter Jennifer.  There is an interesting back story.

On a visit in 1966 to Sunflower Gun Shop in Kansas City, KS for parts for my Winchester Model 61 rifle, I noticed a wooden barrel stuffed full of military rifles.  I remember examining some of the rifles and was told that they were original Venezuelan military issue, in like new condition, with all matching serial numbers, and priced under $50!  Wouldn't you like to see something like that today?

Now, in those lean financial days, it required family consultation with Little Heifer before spending anything close to $50, so I proceeded back home with plenty of 'want' glittering in my eyes.  (There was no cell phone signal in Kansas City, KS in those days.  Wait, there were no cell phones either!)

So, after consultation and decision, I proceeded back to Sunflower Gun Shop a few days later.  In those days, I would have been hard pressed to come up with more than $5 cash in my wallet, but I did have my trusty checkbook.  Alas, what I heard was, "Sorry, we don't take checks."

So here I am, 60 miles from home, no cash, and facing another trip home and to the bank to get any.  Then I had an epiphany!  I was only a few blocks from a produce wholesaler that my Brother Ed, visited each week to pick up an order for Ort Hammer's general store in Allendale, MO.  So what does that get me?  I'm gonna walk over there and find out.

While I knew that Ed's truck picked up at this establishment,
(I do not remember the name of the company) I knew no one there, nor had they heard of me.  So, I explained my mission to the proprietor, "I am Ed Parman's brother, I want to buy a gun at Sunflower Gun Shop, they don't take checks, I have no cash, I'm 60 miles from home, and would you cash a personal check for $50 so I can make my purchase without making an extra trip?"

The answer, after serious questioning, was yes.  I wrote them a check, proceeded back to Sunflower Gun Shop, and made my purchase.  Can you imagine a 23 year old kid pulling that off in today's world?  Me Neither!

Receipt for Model 1898 Mauser

As you can tell from the narrative this firearm purchase was made without any kind of background check and the rifle has harmed absolutely no one in nearly 55 years!

Over the next few months,
with a lot of help on the metalwork from some of my toolmaker/machinist friends and co-workers, I 'sporterized' the rifle.  I did the stock work and my friends helped me forge down the straight bolt handle to clear a scope, drill and tap the receiver for scope mounts, and turn the stepped barrel down to a slim taper on a lathe.  I shot my first ever whitetail buck with that rifle!

Years later, I cut the butt stock down to an 11 inch length of pull so it would fit Ann.  She has since killed both deer and bear with the gun.  Granddaughter, Jennifer has also killed deer with the old Mauser.

In the early years of owning the rifle, I began describing it as having come from Argentina.  Why or how, I have no idea.  Nevertheless, you can see from the receipt that it was described by the gun shop as Venezuelan.

You can stop here if you like, but if you do you'll miss the hillbilly wisdom.  You'll also miss a lengthy trip to the soapbox with some thoughts about the current state of politics in our country.

In the days before the November election Spokesman Review Publisher Stacey Cowles
penned an editorial endorsement of Trump.  Here's a quote from the endorsement:

"Donald Trump is a bully and a bigot. He is symptomatic of a widening partisan divide in the country.  We recommend voting for him anyway because the policies that Joe Biden and his progressive supporters would impose on the nation would be worse."

Ensuing days saw many letters pour in castigating Cowles for his Trump endorsement.  To the newspaper's credit, they published many of them.

Four days after Biden's inauguration, Cowles, in another editorial said this, "At the risk of saying too little too late and giving critics another club to beat me with, I admit: I regret endorsing Donald Trump. I rescind my endorsement."

Now, as I write this, we are just weeks into the Biden administration.  Based on his actions so far and his announced policy plans, Biden and his progressive backers are indeed
going to be worse for the country than we would have experienced under Trump!  Mr. Cowles, you were right the first time!

However, the election is over, we have the Biden administration, for better or worse, so let's get on with. it!  The country will survive!

We have now put the second impeachment trial behind us with no great surprise about the outcome.  Is this really any different than Trump's continuing futile efforts to overturn the election after rejections by multiple courts at all levels?  The outcome of both endeavors was entirely predictable by anyone with half a brain and only resulted in further widening the gap and increasing the bitterness within our political arena.

Where do we go from here?  Step one, the Republican Party needs to dump Trump.

Why?  Let me review some points that I believe are relevant to this discussion.

Narcissistic, self centered, egotistical, braggart, self-aggrandizer, authoritarian, entitled, callous, and aggressive, are all words I have heard used to describe Donald J. Trump.  I'll just say he's an 'apple'.  (
To maintain my PG rating I am writing 'apple' in place of another word that begins with 'a', contains double 's', an 'h', an 'o', an 'l', has seven letters, and ends with 'e'.)

Since I don't have the credentials to expound on those fancy words in the previous paragraph, I'll fall back on Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's reasoning in a 1964 obscenity case.  He said something like 'I can't define obscenity, but I know it when I see it.'  In my case, I can't define 'apple', but I know one when I see one!

So why did many voters turn against Trump?

Well, first of all there's COVID.  The pandemic itself may have been enough to get Trump defeated.  The confusion and contradictions about the unknown disease created a national crisis.  When that kind of disruption occurs and continues through an election, the incumbent will always be saddled with blame, whether justified or not.

Then there's the other stuff:  Trump's obnoxiousness  was on display in his abysmal performance in the first presidential debate.  In spite of having what might have been a relatively non-adversarial moderator, he still managed to come off as petty and rude.

This one performance could have, by itself, cost him the election.  Let's face it, being an 'apple' will cause some people to hate you so badly, they'll do anything to punish you, including voting for someone who may be even worse.

prolific, obnoxious Twitter nonsense over his term was certainly a contribution to driving voters away as well.

Voters' avoidance of Trump was a major factor in causing a runoff for the two Georgia Senate seats.  There's even less doubt, that Trump's continuing obsession with his re-election being stolen, talking about little else, and continuing to be an 'apple' ruined any chance that the Republicans in those runoffs could prevail.  Result; Democrats control the Senate!

I know, there are those who keep reminding us that 74 million Americans voted for Trump and therefore it follows that he should remain the leader of the Party in order not to offend those voters.  Don't these pundits realize that a hell of a lot of those 74 million swallowed hard and voted for Trump for the same reasons many others did?

Surely the Republican party has leaders that share the politics and policies that Trump espoused  without being 'apples'.  I'm betting someone like this will eventually emerge, and he or she will be embraced by the vast majority of those 74 million Trump voters as well as a bunch of Biden voters!  It will also make Trump's threats to 'Primary' any Republican who opposes him meaningless!

So, assuming we can cast Trump to the ash heap of history, let's proceed to try and resolve some of the important issues facing our Country!

I am a retired Commissioner of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service .  Although not highly educated academically, in nearly 30 years of mediating hundreds of disputes encompassing thousands of issues between employers and unions, I have developed some thoughts and conclusions about disagreements and how to resolve them.

First of all, issues in dispute are almost never about absolutes such as 'right or wrong,' although both parties to the dispute nearly always couch their 'positions' in those terms.  Instead, the parties are proposing their desired solutions based upon their individual or collective perspectives surrounding the issues.  I have for many years described these situations as perfect examples of two parties, in possession of the exact same facts, proposing exact opposite solutions, and believing that their position is somehow sanctioned by a 'Higher Power!'

Do you see any similarities in what I describe to our current political scene at all levels?

Now, how do we move forward?

If one watches cable news, we get a steady diet of Trump bashing from CNN and MSNBC and telling us those 74 million trump voters are all white supremacists, bigots, and domestic terrorists, while Fox News gives us non stop rhetoric that Donald Trump is the key to the resurgence of the Republican Party, and all Republicans must continue to be 'loyal' in order to regain political prominence.

I would submit that both those views are misguided!  I'm perfectly clear about my leaning to the conservative side of the political spectrum, but I do see some areas that both parties could work on with possible positive results.  But, there are those who must break away from being 'apples' to have any chance of success.

I was encouraged to hear Senator McConnell and some other prominent Republicans, publicly criticize Trump for his behavior, so I see some hope for their willingness to move forward productively.  However, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer need to go.  I can see no possible way those two will be helpful to anything.

There are lots of Republicans out there who are not really that opposed to a woman's right to choose to end a pregnancy.   Nor are many Trump voters all that opposed to same sex marriage.  Considering decades of wasted dollars and failures in the 'War on Drugs,' I'm sure many conservative Republicans might consider some sort of different approach to that issue.

Likewise, I'd venture that many Democrat voters are not really that opposed to severe penalties for violent gun crime in spite of the B.S. 'de-fund the police' rhetoric and so called 'criminal justice reform.'  I'd guess that many Democrats would support having many time convicted felons locked up and the key conveniently misplaced forever!  Those 'lifers' could be housed a hell of a lot cheaper than they are now too!

Given the record numbers of firearm and ammunition purchases over the past year or so, I suspect that many Democrats are not in favor of the 'gun control' push of the party.  Many of them know that such things as so called 'universal background checks' and an attempt to ban certain guns and magazines will have zero effect on crime or criminals.  Again, they point out examples of gun crime and then attempt to punish those who didn't do it!

Another area that might be bridged is a minimum wage increase.  Also, some comprehensive immigration reform could be possible along with infrastructure legislation.

None of these compromises are likely however, so long as the Democrats continue to use their razor thin majorities to force feed the country their agenda without input from Republicans.  If and when the Republicans regain majorities, the same thing applies.  No matter which party is in power, these tactics are not productive or good for the country.

I've seen several examples during my mediation career where resolution was attempted by sheer power by one side or the other.  Most of those turned out to be disastrous for both parties!

There are probably those who made it through this soapbox session, who will say that bipartisan action on anything is impossible given current conditions.  Sorta like a 'square peg in a round hole' you say?

Let me quote a recent EARTHWEEK story from February 7, 2021 in our local Spokesman Review newspaper:

Squared off:

Researchers say they have finally solved the mystery of why the poop of Australia’s iconic wombats comes out in cubes rather than in rounded forms. The fecal phenomenon has long puzzled scientists.  Writing in the journal Soft Matter, a team from the U.S. and Australia found the cubes are formed within the last section of the intestines as the dung dries out in the extremely long wombat colon. The sculpting of the poop into cubes happens as stiff and flexible regions of the colon contract in tandem. “Our research found that … you really can fit a square peg through a round hole,” said Scott Carver of the University of Tasmania.

So there you have it!  Re-read the words, "stiff and flexible" and "in tandem."  If the wombats can do it, surely we can expect no less from all those 'apples' we have elected!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a poem posted on the internet by Garrison Mulemanship and Training of Lone Jack, MO.


Don't give up on dreams

Take time to see 'em through
There is no magic recipe
Hard work makes 'em come true

Even when you're struggling
Your friends will stick like glue
Don't ever sell your saddle
Your dreams won't give up on you

Well, it's time to shut down here, so. . . . .
'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!

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