Friday, December 09, 2016

Because esoteric makes me warm and fuzzy

Couple of Gentle Readers are enquiring about the title of my last post.

It is a somewhat sanitised version of a punchline to an Internet meme I saw sometime back, which (if I remember correctly) goes something like this:

GOD:  "Behold!  I have created Mankind!"
Angel:  "You [deleted]-up a perfectly good monkey is what you did.  Look at him -- he's got anxiety!"

The meme goes on for a bit, and ends with the angel begging God to turn Man back in to a monkey.

Anyhoo, the punchline kind of stuck in my head -- apparently it's weird in there -- and I have found that it is a wonderful comment for the occasions when "WTF?!  Really?!  W.T.F?!" just won't do.

As a for instance, let us say you are observing a scene in which several laws of physics have been violated in a way only possible by a combination of an overabundance of hormones divided by an under-appreciation of mortality.  Fire that is guaranteed to not be possible is possibly occurring, and something -- probably important -- is in a physical location that there is no sodding way for that something to be in.  The young -- they're always young these days -- person responsible is standing in front of you, twiddling their fingers in such a way as to suggest that the report that is about to cross your desk is going to be one of the more impressive works of speculative fiction/ nitwittery you will read since ... well, the last one .. lacking only in the mention of the beer that someone was holding during the entire episode.

I find that glaring at the responsible party over your glasses, then performing a Migraine Salute while gritting out, "Yeee-up.  Cocked-up a perfectly good monkey" manages to be completely apropos, yet just profane enough to properly convey my feelings on such occasions.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Yup. Buggered up a perfectly good monkey.

I was swinging through the office this morning, in search of a cup of coffee that wouldn't put up too much of a fight, when one of the front office ladies -- the perennially perky one, and I do realize that's not much of a distinction -- caused me to pause in my search.

"'Dog," sayeth she, perkily, "I don't see your name on the Angel Tree."

The office has this tradition where you draw names and ID info of disadvantaged children from around the community, and then you buy gifts for that sprog.  Rather charming, really, but after the Event of 2009, I discovered that you can also send the charity HQ money, and those worthies will take care of buying presents for the kid.

I am blearily eyeing Her Perkiness, trying to organise the words necessary to tell her so, when another office lady button-hooks the partition, frantically waving her hand in front of her throat, "No!  'Dog isn't allowed to help with the Angel Tree!"

We both look at Office Lady #2 -- one of us more squintily than the other -- and #1 queries, "Well, why on Earth not?"

That worthy responds:  "In 2009, 'Dog pulled the name of a twelve-year-old girl from the hat."

"Ok," says #1.

Here come the tones of moral outrage, "He spent fifty dollars on her!"

Office Lady Numero Uno says, somewhat placatingly, "Well, that is a little excessive, but I don't ..."

"$50 worth of pepper spray, a flashlight and A HUNTING KNIFE!"

I protest.  It wasn't a hunting knife.  It was one of those little fixed-blade jobbers you used to be able to get from Cold Steel, had about a two-inch serrated blade.

Perky Office Lady #1 guppies at me for a second, then (in mildly outraged tones) demands, "Why, in God's name, would you give a knife to a little girl?!

My buddy Tam has a great many quotable things to say about carrying a knife that I have memorised for occasions such as this.  One of my favourites is:

"Hell, carrying a sharpened rock around in case of future need is basically how we tell where the apes stop and the people start in our fossil family album."

We love Tam, and if you're not reading her blog, you're missing out.

Anyhoo, I had that little quip all memorised, and when I opened my yap ...

"Because nothing drives home: 'Keep your meathooks off of second base until I decide differently' quite like a strategic shanking."

... came out.

I blame the lack of caffeine in my circulatory system.

As both Office Ladies disappeared in the vague direction of the powder room, I continued my quest for the Holy Java Bean of Life, stepped around the cubicle wall, and ran into the Chief Deputy, sipping coffee and eyeing me amusedly.

"Morning, boss," I say, trying to figure out if he left anything in the pot.

"'Dog," he responds, "The inside of your head is a weird place.  Don't ever change."


And that is Reason #243 that LawDog shouldn't be allowed anywhere near people.


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

This is why Civics class is so important

Well, that's what I get for posting in an un-caffeinated state.

My bad.


Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Oh. Wow.

Dear Gentle Readers,

Larry Correia is a very large, very kind goober -- during this years LibertyCon, he had me take a bow in an auditorium full of people.

At the same LibertyCon, Peter Grant and his wife did the same thing to me in a discussion panel they were putting on.

My lady has been noodging me fairly firmly, as has OldNFO.

Those of you whom I have spoken to in the paint have likewise been prodding buttock.


As of ten minutes ago I have signed a contract with a publishing house for two books:  one of law enforcement stories, and a second of Africa stories.

If you'll pardon me, I'm going to go breathe into a paper bag, and then I have to write.

Thank you, all.  I think.


Thursday, July 07, 2016

LibertyCon 2016, Day -1

Well, after a couple of days driving (courtesy of OldNFO), I am at LibertyCon.

First impressions:  Larry Correia is bigger than I had figured, and his wife is a complete sweetheart.

I am more comfortable at LibertyCon than I had feared.

The drive in was striking; there were all of these tall, green things that I am reliably informed are called "trees".  Odd, but pretty.  Also:  not only does water come out of the ground --,by itself -- it comes in colours other than red, and can often be seen through.  I'm ... not sure how I feel about this.

Joking aside, the rural areas of Arkansas and Tennessee that we drove through were breath-takingly beautiful.

If you're in Chattanooga, you should probably go by the City Café Diner, but you'd better pack an appetite -- the beef souvlaki platter I had was about thrice what I could get around.

Since I volunteered to help at the range trip tomorrow, I'm headed for bed early.  More updates tomorrow evening.


Friday, June 03, 2016

Dear Trump protestors,

Dear Anti-Trump protesters,

As a student of history, and as an observer of the American political process as a whole, I have been watching the increasing violence of your protests with some cynical bemusement.

First off, we're electing a President, and not a God-King.  No matter which of the -- quite frankly -- dismal prospects available in this election wins the Oval Office, at least some part of Congress is going to dig in their heels and do their level best to stymie anything that President does.

Near as I can tell, you idiots seem to confuse "President" with "King".  Maybe there's some psychological projection going on there, an unconscious desire for a benevolent King surfacing in your little hearts, or something, but without a majority of Congress backing him (and trust me, most of Congress hates Donald Trump almost as much as you do), the best a President can do is twiddle his thumbs for four years.

Yes, I know about Executive Orders.  I also know that Congress has multiple ways to pimp-slap an Executive Order across the Capitol (How many years has it been since the BATFE had an actual director?  Five?) from passing legislation that contravenes the Executive Order; going through holding back funding of the Executive Order, all the way to not confirming key people required (Hello, BATFE! How's that "Acting Director" thing working out for you?).

Second off, the country that survived the likes of Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan is going to survive this election cycle.  Get your Hanes out of the half-hitch, and breathe.

However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the major effect of your little tantrum throwing is to irritate a large majority of neutral-leaning folks.  Americans are fairly predictable when it comes to getting annoyed -- they tend to do whatever it takes to annoy the people that are pissing them off.

Every time you hold up traffic -- some neutral voter who's being discommoded is going to decide to vote for Donald Trump just because it will upset you.

Every time you show up on the TeeVee screen pelting a little blonde gal with eggs -- someone watching is going to decide to vote for Donald Trump, just to whiz in your Post Toasties.

Every time you show your violent little arses on national TeeVee, voters who would have voted against Donald Trump are going to vote for him ... just to stick a metaphorical finger in your eye.

In other words:

Not that I really give two hoots in hell either way, but someone should be giving you the warning that your parents and your teachers obviously skipped out in giving.

Nothing but love,


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Books by friends

In a couple of weeks just chock-full of the suck, there is some good news.

Peter Grant, also known as Bayou Renaissance Man, who moved to Bugscuffle a short while ago with his lovely wife, has written a Western novel.

If you like the old pulp Westerns along the lines of Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey, you might give it a look.

He, and his publisher, are hoping to give the non-porn Western novel a shot in the arm.  Definitely worth the old college try, I say.

In similar news J. L. Curtis, who blogs as OldNFO (and whom also recently moved to Bugscuffle) has a military sci-fi short story up, which appears to have hit #1 in a couple of categories.  If you liked Armor by John Steakley, you'll probably like Rimworld: Stranded -- although understand that Curtis' protagonist is a boozy lifer tech-type, instead of the Combat Arms hero of Steakley's book.

In book news of my own, the work on The LawDog Files: The Dead Tree Edition is on temporary hold as I get another story out of my system.

I'll probably post a teaser section here in a bit, see what folks think.

Now, I'm off to do some writing.  Y'all try to hold off on the dying until I've had a bit of a breather, ok?


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Small town Law Enforcement

"Really," I say, trying to fit as much disbelief and sarcasm as is possible into those two syllables.

"Yes, sir."

I stare at the 16-year-old boy for a good while, before allowing my eyebrow to lift.

"You're visiting your girlfriend whose last name you can't quite recall at this time, whose first name is either 'Stacey' or 'Shelly' depending on when you're asked; and you're not sure what her address is, but it's -- and let me quote this:  'On a street'."

Long pause.

"Umm ... yeah?"

"Ah.  And as far as romantic gifts go, your lady is perfectly happy with a gym-bag packed with," I pull each object out one at a time, "A ski mask, a pair of leather work gloves, and -- goodness -- a crowbar."

The kid is looking at everything except me.

"We all need to be honest here, so let me be the first:  You, sir, are a thief.  Ah!  Let me finish.  The fact that you do not have a criminal history attached to your name merely tells me that you are a here-unto-for lucky thief.  You're not here to visit your girlfriend, because any girl young enough to be dating you will be at tonight's Homecoming football game.  Where -- coincidentally enough -- much of the rest of the town is located.  Which leads us to yourself, wandering the empty streets all by your ownsome with naught but a bag of burglars tools to keep you company."

I can hear him swallow, so I take a step forward, crowding his personal space.

"So, there's two ways this is going to settle out.  The first is that I take you, and your stuff, back to the office, I call the football stadium and when a member of West Podunk High School faculty shows up, I tell them what I think is going on, give them you and your bag of goodies, and wave bye-bye."

I don't think he likes that idea.

"The second way is that I hand you this receipt for your bag of burglars tools, you take your self back to the stadium and I don't see hide nor hair of you outside of that stadium for the rest of the evening.  Tomorrow, you bring that receipt and a parent to the office, and I give you back your crowbar, your gloves and your ski-mask."

I'm guessing from the nodding that the second choice is a bit more palatable.

"Five blocks that way.  You can't miss the lights.  Scram."


Hopefully, he's taken enough of a scare to persuade him that the critter life isn't for him.  Yeah, and as long as I'm hoping, can I get a long-legged lingerie model with a bag of grapes?  I file the fink card -- excuse me "Field Interview Card" in the Bloody Idiots file in my briefcase and clear the call.

It's one of those lovely fall Panhandle evenings, so about ten minutes later I park the Super Scooter at the end of Second Street, get out, and start checking doors on what passes as the Main Business District of Bugscuffle, Texas.

Three doors later, I smile slightly as a roar echoes lightly around the front porch.  A moment later, the sounds of musical instruments played maybe with a little more enthusiasm than skill follow.  Sounds like the Bugscuffle Fighting Rednecks are doing well this evening.

I push gently on the door I'm facing -- and it swings open.



"Car 12, County."

"Go ahead, 12."

"I've an open door at 1201 Second Street.  Public service the Williams and see if they can put an eyeball on Dot."

There's more than a touch of amusement in Dispatches voice as she replies, "10-4, 12.  You want me to roll you some back-up?"


"Negative, County," I say, as I step into the front hall of the Conroe and Conroe Funeral Home, "I'll be on the portable."

A dollar will get you a doughnut that I'm going to find the same thing I've found the last umpteen Open Door calls we've gotten here, but I'm well aware that Murphy hates my guts -- personally.  So my P7 is hidden behind my leg, finger indexed along the frame as I shine my Surefire through the business office, the guest rooms, multiple viewing rooms, the Icky Room (brrr), casket storage, finally to be slipped back into the holster as I find the small, slim figure sitting all alone in the chapel.

Dot Williams is dressed in her standard uniform of hot pink sneakers, blue jeans and Hello Kitty sweatshirt, one foot swinging idly as she gravely regards the awful plastic gold-painted, flower-adorned abstract sculpture stuck to the wall behind the altar.   In honour of the evenings football game, a red-and-black football is painted on one cheek, and red and silver ribbons have been threaded into her ever-present pony-tail.

Eleven-something years ago, a college kid with a one-ton Western Hauler pick-up truck and a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.22 packed the Chevy S-10 driven by the hugely-pregnant Mrs. Williams into a little bitty mangled ball and bounced it across Main Street.  The Bugscuffle Volunteer Fire Department earned their Christmas hams that evening in as deft a display of the Fine Art of Power Extrication as any department – paid or no – could hope for.  Couple of hours after the Jaws of Life were cleaned and stored, Dorothy Elise Williams was born.

I scrape my boot heels on the carpet as I walk around the end of the pew, careful not to startle the little girl – although, truth be known, I have no idea if Dot has ever been startled in her life.  Or if it's even possible to startle her – then I sit gently on the bench just within arms reach and ponder the sculpture.

Yeah.  It's bloody awful.

I reach into my vest and pull out a pack of chewing gum, unwrap a stick and chew for a bit, before taking a second stick out of the pack and – careful not to look at Dot – casually lay it on the bench midway between us.  A couple of breaths later, equally casually, and without taking her eyes off the plastic abomination on the wall, Dot reaches out and takes the sweet, unwrapping it with ferocious concentration and putting it into her mouth one quarter piece at a time before meticulously folding the foil wrapper into little squares and laying it on the bench mid-way between us; where, after a couple of breaths, I gently pick it up and stick it in an inner pocket of my denim vest.

Dot is ... odd.

Probably not very long after I sit down, but considerably longer than I would like (I'm sitting in a funeral home, after dark -- I've seen this movie) Dot slides a battered something or other that was probably once a stuffed giraffe ... I think ... along the pew towards me, maintaining a firm grip on one of it's appendages with her left hand.

Careful not to touch the little girl, I grab ahold of a fuzzy limb, and then carefully stand up.  A beat later, Dot stands up, and we start walking towards the exit.

Dot doesn't like to be touched, matter-of-fact the only sound I've ever heard the wee sprite make is an ear-splitting shriek whenever someone who isn't her family touches her.  Learning that lesson left my ears ringing for days; however, as various and sundry gods are my witnesses, I swear that if this little girl turns and waves at the altar, I'm carrying her out the door at a dead sprint -- probably emptying my magazine over my shoulder as we go -- banshee wails and damage complaints aside.  Like I said:  I've seen this movie.

Fortunately anything Dot might have been communing with seems to lack an appreciation for social graces -- or simply wishes to spare my over-active imagination -- and there is no waving.

When we step out onto the front porch, an elderly man who has been leaning against the guard-rail, clears his throat.  Not really necessary, but polite all the same.

"Bert," I say to the owner of Conroe and Conroe Funeral Home, "Thought you'd be at the game instead of listening to the scanner."

He grins, "I was.  Sitting next to the Sheriff on the fifty-yard line when I heard the call over his radio."


"I doubt that anything is missing or damaged ..."  He raises a hand, cutting me off.

"Of course not.  Dot would never be that crass."  He gives a formal, Southern nod off to my left, and I realize that I'm the only one holding on to the stuffed wossname.  Bloody hell.

"Miss Dot.  How are you this evening?"

Dot, who is intently examining a mimosa branch at the end of the porch, ignores him.  He smiles, then moves to shut and lock the door.

"Dorothy Elise Williams!"  On the street, a Suburban has pulled to a stop, catty-wampus, before disgorging Mr and Mrs Williams, the latter of whom is heading for her youngest at full speed.  "What have I told you about wandering off, young lady!"

"'Dog, Bert, I'm so sorry,"  Cody Williams has taken off his Stetson, and is wringing the brim.  I'm a little shocked.  "We were talking to the new pastor, and just took our eyes off of her for a second ..."

I wave the stuffed whatsit at him, "Cody.  Put your hat back on.  You look weird without it.  No blood, no foul."

Albert Conroe smiles at him genially, "We've had this talk before, Cody.  It's quiet, she likes it, and she's a very courteous guest.  I don't have an issue."

At the end of the porch, Mrs Williams has taken her daughter's chin and gently turned her for eye-contact.  There's finger-shaking going on, and then Dot reaches out and very gently pats her mother on the cheek, before turning her attention back to the branch.  I hand Cody the stuffed thingie, "Take your family back to the game."

Bert and I stand on the porch as the Williams climb into the Suburban and take off.

Bert chuckles gently, "Small towns."



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Umm, what?

The local company that supplied aero service into, and out of, Warri International Aeroport had a pilot named Bob.

Bob wasn't Russian.  Matter-of-fact, Bob would go on at length -- in a nigh-unintelligible Russian accent, usually while potted on vodka, and waving his arms with their Cyrillic tattoos -- as to his not-Russian-ness.

This being West Africa at the time, the old hands simply agreed with him, and ignored his singing of Soviet marching songs at the top of his lungs at three in the AM.

Bob was also an excellent pilot, and his baby was a C-119 Flying Boxcar that was the major hauling aeroplane for our little patch of the jungle.

The company that Bob worked for had an extremely logical training process.  If you were brand-new to Africa, you would fly with an old Africa hand until said worthy decided you were less-inclined to prang an expensive aeroplane (and kill yourself in the process, but that wasn't as important), and you got a plane.

Well, Bob got this new kid with a brand-new pilot's licence and a hankering to see Africa -- and it was not a happy match.

Seems like Africa wasn't exactly matching up to the kid's expectations; high on the list being the fact that Bob was frequently one-and-a-half sheets to the wind when flying.

One day the kid stomps onto the 'plane past the locals, the livestock, something angry in a sack (Fact:  if you get on a bush cargo plane with bunch of locals, there is always something angry in a burlap sack.) up to the flight deck, where he learns that Bob isn't aboard.

Short search finds Bob -- completely and totally fit-shaced -- asleep in the pilot/radio shack/tower.

This is the Last Straw as far as Junior is concerned.  There are regulations, damn it!

Junior goes and grabs another newbie -- this one apparently still with egg yolk behind his ears -- and our intrepid birdmen mount their steed for the trip into Lagos.

The locals, who aren't exactly gormless, immediately grab Co-Pilot Egg-Tooth, gently loft him out the back door, carry Bob from the pilot shack, plant him in the left seat and begin to ply him with coffee, all much to the sputtered indignation of Junior.

Bob surfaces enough to figure out 'up' from 'down' (fairly important for a pilot, I'm told), and they take off.

Not very long in the air, and the locals decide to celebrate their victory by building a fire on the back deck and spit-roasting Angry Sack for brekkie.  Angry Sack apparently held opinions most firm about this, and as soon as the sack came open, did a runner.

This, of course, led to the locals snatching up machetes and tear-arsing off after their breakfast.

Angry Sack made three laps through the flight-deck (the locals only made two) before Junior Lost His Tiny Little Mind, screamed, leapt to his feet, vaulted into the back and uttered thundering denunciations of Africa in general, and the passengers in particular.  Fingers were waved!  Regulations were cited!  Heritage, manners, sexual proclivities, and level of civilization were denounced in fine rolling language to the deep appreciation of the locals, who were passing a gurgling jug around the back deck in silent admiration of a fine oration.

Unfortunately, Junior didn't realize that his vault into the back of the aerocraft had landed him standing four-square in the campfire built for the roasting of Angry Sack.

When the C-119 landed in Lagos, Junior was carried off in a litter to a standing ovation -- which he apparently didn't appreciate in the least -- but before being loaded into the ambulance managed to snarl a series of promises to Bob, not the least of which was that Junior believed that not even the Nigerian government would let Bob fly anywhere without a co-pilot, and that would give Junior enough time to have Bob's licence to fly yanked.

Bob belched meditatively, and while the plane was being refueled, he wandered over to the edge of the tarmac, paid ten Naira for a chimpanzee and another Naira for the gimme hat the chimp's previous owner was wearing.

He then boarded the plane, buckled the ape into the co-pilot's seat, crammed the gimme hat onto the chimpanzee's head, clamped the radio headset over the hat, and took off for Warri International.

Fast-forward to the landing, my father and his best friend are in the radio shack, just kind of chilling.  Dad is sipping his first cup of coffee and Tom is swearing creatively at his whiz wheel.  In comes Bob's plane and my father comments, thoughtfully, "I wonder where the chimp got that hat?"

Tom immediately bounds to his feet in shock.  "Honestly, Jim!  You Yanks!  I can't believe you just ... Bedamned.  That's a monkey."

Dad takes another sip, "Bet he's sober."

"Huh.  Good point."


Africa Wins Again.