Friday, April 28, 2006

Open letter to my readers of the distaff persuasion.

Ladies, with the recent ballistic unpleasantness in Mesopotamia, I am noting a sharp increase in what I refer to as SquEALs.

Other folks call them Rexall Rangers, Ice Cream Commandos, Wannabees, Special Farces, Secret Squirrels, or the infamous Chairborne Rangers, among other (usually unprintable) names.

The above-mentioned are examples of a certain sub-species lurking amongst the male half of the population who apparently lack several important things, among which are a sense of honor, testicular fortitude, lack of hugs during childhood, a 'Truth' gene, or enough ass-whippings for fibbing.

These are the -- I can't call them guys -- things? ... who decide that it is a Good Idea to whiperingly tell folks of their Special Operations history, when the truth is that the closest they ever came to Special Operations was when they rented 'Navy Seals' from Blockbuster.

Amusing, yes. Pathetic, yes. Deserving of a sound ass-kicking, hell yes.

Unfortunately, the same lack of moral fibre that convinces them that lying through their teeth is a good way to feel like a man, also tends to allow them to pull off other stunts to feed their egos.

This is where I want to talk to the ladies.

Ladies, in my experience, hooking up with one of these critters never ends well. Most of the stories I run across wind up with the critter stealing property from the lady (both in minor and felony quantities), destroying her credit rating, wrecking her reputation, emptying her bank account, all the way up to physical, mental and emotional abuse, and even murder.

Some of the stories I hear would be laughable, if it wasn't for the fact that the person telling me of these stories has had her life destroyed, been beaten, or it becomes necessary for me or someone like me to have to discover the story at second paw, because the lady is dead.

Listen to me. If you take nothing else from this blog, listen to this one thing: if someone you may be interested in starts telling you about his Super-Secret Special Operations Stuff -- Check. It. Out.

Please.

Trust, but verify.

If anything he tells you about his military career can't be verified, then a real operator wouldn't have told you anyway. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

This is a link to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

The thing you need to bear in mind is: Standard Form 180.

The NPRC website shows three different ways to get a Standard Form 180.

If your potential schmoopie starts telling you about his special operations days, or the testosterone-soaked, manly missions in-which-he-was-the-only-survivor-but-he's-going-to-be-strong-for-his-dead-buddies, or how a Hollywood movie (or book) was actually based upon his exploits, or any bushwa which sounds like it came out of a dimestore novel with parachutes, explosions and half-nekkid women on the cover, get your paws on a Standard Form 180, fill it out as completely as possible and mail it to the address given a the NPRC website.

Once you get a copy of his military records, take the copy to someone who can translate it for you. That person should NOT be your possible huggums or his best friend in the whole world.

Take the form to your nearest military recruiting station of the Armed Services branch that your pookie claims and have someone with a lot of fruit salad on their chest translate the results for you.

If lambie-toes claims to have been a SeAL, but his documentation says he was anything else: DROP HIM -- PRONTO.

Someone who will lie about this sort of thing to make himself feel like a man will, I say again my last -- WILL -- do other things to make himself feel like a man.

Including smacking you around.

Do this thing for me, okay? And do it for any female friends or relatives you care about that run across someone who matches the description.

I don't want to deal with the after effects of a bullshit artist anymore, and I'm relatively sure that no other cop wants to, either.

And they wind up as cops, too. Just because he made it through an Academy, doesn't mean that his stories of his SEAL days are true.

Trust, but verify.

LawDog

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday afternoon ruminations.

Went shooting some time ago, just got around to cleaning the pistols today.

*sigh*

I shouldn't do that, but more often than not I wind up making excuses to myself and not cleaning my guns until I have to.

Except for my carry gun. That thing gets cleaned religiously.

Anyhoo, my buddy has been trading around, and wound up with a Springfield M1911 Government Model.

I carried a Colt Lightweight Commander early during my law enforcement, and was fairly fond of that pistol, but I wound up trading it off in a deal that I don't really remember the details of now.

Later on I briefly toyed with the idea of putting together a court gun out of a 9X23mm Colt clone, before setting the idea on the back burner in favour of other things popping up here and there.

Other than those times, I've never really had a hankering for any version of Old Slabsides. John Brownings later design -- the Browning Hi-Power -- has always been more to my taste.

That Springfield that Buddy got is sweet. Couple of days after I shot it, one of the other officers at work heard me talking about the Springer, and let me coon-finger his 4-inch Kimber CDP.

I don't remember the Colt off-shoots feeling as good in the paw back in the day as they seem to do now. I don't know if the pistol design has been subtly modified over the last 20-30 years, or if my perceptions have changed, but that 4-inch Kimber sure did handle well.

Settles in my grip like it was custom-made for me; bring it up with my eyes closed, and when I open my eyes, the sights are on target. Comfortable, and (more importantly) comforting.

*sigh*

Time to set aside another Play-Pretty Fund, I guess.

LawDog

Hah!

Take half a pint of milk
Half a pint of good, thick cream
4 egg yolks
sugar
vanilla pods

Add a lot of ice, rock salt and a hand-cranked ice cream maker.

What do you get? (Besides a cramping right arm.)

Enough home-made vanilla bean ice cream to bribe the innocent and unwary into adding links to your blog.

I am shameless.

Mwa-ha-haaa!

LawDog

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ruminations on the Aztec Empire

Had my vehicle in the shop for a long-overdue tune-up today. Apropos of nothing, if you have to have your steed looked at, be sure to get the mechanic with the NASCAR tattoos. Accept no substitute.

Anyhoo, during the process I wound up spending a long time in the waiting area with a group of Young Folk, who were intently listening to one of their number expound on the folklore of the Glorious Age of the Aztec Empire.

Man, I thought that L'Morte de Arthur took liberties with history. Hah! Malory was a rank amateur compared to whomever is fueling the Aztlan propaganda machine.

Just because I'm in one of them moods, we will now enter The Wayback Machine and spend todays entry riffing on Meso-America.

Ahem.

The early Aztecs were basically the Hell's Angels of the Meso-American world.

Before settling in the Valley of Mexico, they were considered brutish, rude, boorish, savage, barbaric, violent and worst of all, they didn't understand their place on the social ladder.

Damned barbarians. Have they no manners?

Looks like the proto-Aztecs got kicked out of every City-State and Empire in Mexico and spent most of their formative years as unwilling nomads.

Finally, they settled in (long tongue-twisting word with waaaay too many consonants, we'll just say, "Valley of Mexico") because one of their leaders saw an eagle perched in a cactus with a snake in its talons and marked it as a sign from the Gods.

Only the truly cynical would think that Azzie High Command had cued in on the fact that the troopies were getting seriously tired of wandering and were contemplating staging the Aztec version of the Change of Command ceremony as a factor in the choice of location.

The Aztecs spent the next 50-100 years hiring out to whichever Empire or City-State needed some really good warriors. The other tribes tolerated the Azzies, as long as they didn't try to move in with the Quality after the screaming and bleeding was done.

Same old story: The Azzies were Shining Saviours when somebody elses army was waving obsidian-toothed clubs at your populace, but when it came time to pay for services rendered -- suddenly the Aztecs were just another horde of over-paid, over-sexed mercenaries. Coulda done the job ourselves, didn't look so hard...

After three or four generations of this, the Aztecs got tired of being shown the highway as soon as the bodies quit bouncing, and they decided to make their own Empire and make darn sure that they got to be the Snobs.

At its height, the Aztec Empire was second only to the Inca Empire in size. Yes, they were Number 2 in Meso-America.

However, while folks call it an Empire, it wasn't an Empire as we would recognize it: the Aztecs simply got paid tribute from the various parts of their Empire -- they let the locals make their own laws and run their own governments.

The Azzies could have taken a page out of the Roman playbook and avoided that little strategic and tactical error, but que sera, sera.

Bit of pro-RKBA trivia: the Aztecs had a militia. If you weren't a girl-child, you learned to swing a pretty mean club. If you didn't want to be a good gun-nut...err, club-nut... you could take it up with the War God. In person. Right after you quit bouncing down the pyramid steps.

That's what I call an incentive system.

Anyhoo, since the Aztecs left their subjects more-or-less to themselves, a large part of their Empire pretty much stayed in some state of rebellion or other.

Cue Hernando Cortez and his Merry Band of Multi-cultural Marauders.

Once while choosing a new General, Napoleon is said to have ignored his list of certificates and medals, instead asking, "How lucky is he?"

Napoleon would have absolutely loved Hernado Cortez.

Cortez had been picked to lead an expedition to Mexico, but the expedition had been cancelled because the Governor of Cuba suspected Cortez of political ambitions.

Politics? Cortez? No!

Being a free-spirited type, Cortez went anyway, violating a direct order. He landed on the Yucatan Peninsula with 600 warm bodies, and when his spear carriers began to wonder what the hell they were doing in darkest Mexico, Cortez burned the ships to encourage the proper mindset.

Nice guy.

Little after they landed, Henry and the boys got jumped by the Tlaxcalans. The Tlaxcalans outnumbered Cortez's people by a factor of three hundred to one, and fought three pitched battles against the invaders before deciding to ally with the Spaniards.

Cortez decided to leave half his forces at Vera Cruz and go sightseeing (this is probably about the time we get Cortez's famous quote: "I do not wish to grub in the dirt like a peasant. I wish to find gold.") with his new-found Bestest Buddies, and ran smack into the Aztecs.

You want to talk about incredible dumb luck? Pale-skinned Hank could have shown up at any time plus or minus 15 years or so, but noooo, he has to show up when the locals were expecting their pale-skinned Quetzacoatl to reappear.

If I had tried that, the first Aztec I'd run into would have said, "Gods, huh? Well, if you're Gods, then getting whacked with this club shouldn't bother you...Hmm. Oops, he broke. Obviously not Gods. Kill them all."

Some folks get all the luck.

Anyhoo, Henry rode the "I am your God Quetzal-geshundteit. Give me all your gold as sacrifice. No, all of it. And throw in a maiden or two while you're at it" during the day, and at night he was convincing the subjugated City-States to throw off the yoke of their Imperialistic Aztec Oppressors and throw in with the freedom-loving Spaniards.

Busy little boyo, I'll give him that.

So, here's our boy. And he's up to his steel knickers fomenting insurgent uprisings, the Azzies are getting a case of the hips, things are looking a little gloomy for the Visiting Team, and what happens?

Remember the part about Cortez violating a direct order not to go to Mexico? Well, Hank's old boss in Cuba decides to do something about his little lost lamb and sends about 1400 armed reminders to Come Home. Cortez and his Tlaxcalan Best Friends Forever stomp the absolute menudo out of the arresting force and set about recruiting the survivors.

Considering the Meso-American way of dealing with recalcitrant attitudes, it's not very surprising that the survivors decided that they Really Meant to Sign Up The Whole Time.

Voila! Reinforcements.

Lucky bastard.

Anyhoo, there's the story of the Aztec Empire in a nutshell.

LawDog

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Zippo

Visited the Federal Courthouse today, and wound up shucking my pocket litter at the metal detector, which got me to thinking.

In my left-hand pocket I carry one of my father's Zippo lighters, even though I've never smoked. Check that, I've been on fire a couple of times which probably involved some smoking, but I've never purposefully stuck burning vegetation in my mouth.

Anyhoo, that lighter is there to remind me of Da, and because he always told me to never, ever leave the house without having a knife and some way to make fire on me.

This lighter has been a wonder. When my unit forgot that I was on sentry duty and relocated 30 miles north, I built a lean-to and used the lighter to start a fire to keep me warm and snug until the XO discovered my absence and rescued my happy butt -- eight wintery hours later.

I've used it as a signal, ignited various stuff and things, melted the ends of rope, heated dry biro pens until the ink flowed again, did the needful for various grades of explosives, softened putty, brought light to dark places, saluted rock ballads at a couple of concerts, burned threads off my uniform, and initiated a relationship or two by lighting the lady's cigarette.

I guess I could have done all of the above with a 99¢ convenience store special, but there's something about that "click ... SNAP!" that a child-proof, disposable, plastic lighter just plain doesn't have.

Had a critter one time that we really, REALLY needed a confession from. He was, as we say, a diaper-sniper, and had had enough brushes with the law that he had become wise to the usual techniques for interrogating child molestors.

We wound up putting him in a Segregation cell for about 12 hours -- without his pack of Ultra-Light 100's. About the time that the Nicotine Monkey was doing laps up-and-down his back, the day officer escorted him to my office, where I was wearing my usual Goth Cowboy all-black outfit.

I asked him couple of routine questions in a monotone, then took off the Gargoyles (black in colour), smiled gently at him and offered him a cigarette out of the pack of no-name, no-filter, coal-black Russian brands that had been banging around my effects since the Cretaceous Age.

You'd've thought I offered that SOB the keys to Heaven. He jammed that card-board-wrapped micro-stogie into his mouth, and then began reflexively patting his pockets for a light. Which I guarantee wasn't there.

Seeing his dilemma, and being a proper gentleman, I got out my Zippo, opened it, fired it up, and was ... just ... about to light the cigarette, when I remembered a minor family scandal involving his uncle and a sack of chickens, which led to me snapping the lighter closed as I enquired as to the details of this, and we chortled manfully about the excesses of our relatives.

It was only coincidence that I perched a ham on the corner of my desk, allowing me to loom over him just a bit.

I kept this up, popping the lid open and almost lighting the sumbitch's cigarette before I remembered some other gossip or tid-bit and absent-mindedly snapping the lighter closed -- "click, snap!", "click ... snap!", "click, snap!" -- until his metaphorical Pop-Up Basting Button was just almost deployed ... and then I leaned forward and lit the cancer-stick, allowing him to gratefully suck down half the cigarette.

I get the feeling that that no-name, no-filter Russian brand was perhaps a wee bit ... stronger ... than the Ultra-Light 100's he was used to. And maybe just a touch ... harsher.

I would not have believed it was physiologically possible for a human being to turn that shade of green.

When his eyes started spinning, I leaned forward and started asking the sticky questions. Which led to him killing the last half of the ciggy, which seemed to cause the green colouration to migrate from his face down his neck, at which time I began to get really firm about those sticky questions.

He sang like a canary. Anything to get the room to stop cart-wheeling, I gather.

With the confession firmly in paw, he and his attorney accepted a plea bargain. Normally, plea bargains irritate me, but this one meant we didn't have to put an eight-year-old on the witness stand.

I call that one a win.

LawDog

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Senatrix.

In my last post, I included the word "senatrix" as a descriptor of a Univ. of Wash. senate-type person of the female persuasion. One of my readers was kind enough to bring the following to my attention:

"First off, there is no such word as Senatrix. You don’t have to take my word for it, look it up in the OED. You won’t find it. "

Oh, boy!

Come with me, ladies and gentlemen, as we enter the Way Back Machine and take a brief gander at the wonderfully icky world of 10th Century Roman politics, a world which has gifted us with the term: pornocracy.

We've got Popes with concubines, Popes with illegitimate kiddies, back-stabbing, knee-biting, the odd bit of poison in Papal soup, a quiet strangulation or two, prostitutes, eyes getting put out, and the fatal applications of bed pillows -- oh my.

And at the center of all this wholesome political goodness, we have a family of women.

Well, since "senatrix" is the Latin feminine derivative of "senator", there'd bave to be women involved somewhere, wouldn't there?

Anyhoo, let us start with Theodora I. De facto ruler of Rome, Theodora the One was also the reputed concubine of Pope Sergius Three. This little dalliance got Sergy a daughter, Marozia I, and got Theo the title Senatrix of Rome. Using this title, she wound up installing a couple of Popes in the Holy See, one of which was John X.

Her darling daughter Marozia was a busy little thing. Just as soon as Mama put John X on his throne, Mama's Little Cupcake arranged for a husband or three to wind up snoozing with the fishies and jumped some Papal bones. Apparently, she was fairly talented, because the old boy was grateful enough to have her named Senatrix and Patricia of Rome.

This was before she had him locked up, blinded, and smothered with a pillow, of course.

Having learned well at Mama's knee, Marozia I flung that Senatrix mojo around, eventually arranging to crown her bastard son (John XI) as Pope. Her grandson (Pope John XII) and a couple of great-grandsons also wound up as Pope.

Unfortunately, the title Senatrix of Rome wasn't enough to keep one of her other sons from storming her castle, arresting her, and stuffing her into a very tall, very drafty tower cell before (allegedly) arranging to have her firmly escorted through the window.

Damned escape attempts.

Of course, some historians believe that the Senatrix's son actually kept her locked in her tower for some decades, before having the Catholic Church exorcise her demons as a precursor to firmly applying a headsmans axe where it would do the most good.

And you think your family has issues.

Before you get all weepy, Marozia wasn't Theodora's only Darling Daughter. There was also Theodora the Two who wound up warming a papal bed or three, thus earning the title Senatrix, and a daughter. Theodora 2, being a sentimental type, and wanting only the best for her new daughter, promptly named said daughter after her dear sister Marozia.

Marozia II also wound up getting named as Senatrix, but things are a little fuzzy as to the particulars. She may have actually earned the title without sleeping with a Pope, appointing a Pope, poisoning a Pope or doing all three at once -- something which would definently make her the black sheep of that rabid little family.

Voila! "Senatrix". It may not be in the OED, but in Tenth Century Rome several strong willed, homicidal little beauties took "senatrix" and wrote it loudly and proudly into the pages of the Catholic Church and into history itself.

LawDog

Saturday, April 22, 2006

U of Washington Student Senate vs. Pappy Boyington

For those of you not following this little exercise in modern student thinking, allow me to summarize what has gone on before:

In February of this year, a student at the University of Washington introduced a bill in front of the Student Senate to commemorate Medal of Honor winner Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC,ret.

In the ensuing debate, several student senators opined:
"...whether it was appropriate to honor a person who killed other people."

"...didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce."

"...that many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."

"...understood the sentiment of not wanting to reward those who fought in the war..."

Yeah. The minutes of that particular Student Senate meeting hit BlogWorld, and, as my Dear Old Dad was fond of saying, "The manure hit the rotating, oscillating, vector-flow cooling unit."

Hoo-hah.

Apparently to the enormous shock of the Univ. of Wash. Student Senate, the real world application of Cause-and-Effect is somewhat mind-erasing.

The Student Senate immediately went into Full Cover Yer Arse Mode, issuing multiple statements along the somewhat fuzzy lines of: "You peons people have misunderstood what was actually said", before wandering off into: "What the Senatrix was quoted as saying is actually a paraphrase of what she meant. You're just too damned dumb You don't actually understand what she was trying to say."

Yeah. Right. Whatever.

Then, of course, taking a leaf from the Liberal Playbook, the Student Senate then roundly took issue with anyone who dared speak their minds to the Student Senate about this. Damned pesky First Amendment.

Apparently the Student Senate has the Right to Free Speech, but if you want to criticize any actions of the Student Senate, you don't have the Right to Free Speech.

Much to the delight of BlogWorld.

Anyhoo, as of April 4, 2006, amid much prissy bitching, the Student Senate passed a resolution honoring five Univ. of Wash. alumni who had received the MoH with 61 voting "Aye!", 14 voting "Nay!" and 13 chickenshit "Abstain" votes, if I count correctly.

The minutes and record of who voted how are found here.

Rumors are, the Senatrix who expressed a couple of the above-quoted statements walked out during the vote, and as such wound up as an "Abstain". Which the Univ. of Wash. Political Officer PR flack maintained was actually (remembering the the Student Senate is still in 'Full Cover Yer Arse Mode') merely her way of making a statement as to how the vote was conducted, rather than a statement about the resolution. Really. Honest.

Do I look like I fell off the turnip truck last night?

Ah, well. All's well that ends well, and all that.

LawDog

Don't make me hurt you, Bubba.

Actually, I believe this is the first story Mom told at The Firing Line, the one about the teddy bear and the chipper was the second.

Oh, well.

It wasn't a five-cell MagLight I wound up smacking Bubba with -- it was one of the six-cell jobs. I really liked that flashlight.

And I didn't say those words.

Thanksgiving Day, 1994. Bubba (name changed to protect the...you get the idea) Green heads out to the local watering hole north of town. He's feeling a little rambunctious, and proceeds to down large quantities of his favorite libation. So goes the evening until Bubba winds up dancing on top of one of the pool tables.

Now Bubba is (I'm not kidding) six feet, nine inches tall. And he's not what one would call svelte. Matter-of-fact, the town doctor swears that when Mrs. Green delivered Bubba, they heard the scream in Abilene. Big old boy.

The owner of the bar, having gone through similar situations in the past, feeds four quarters into the jukebox and punches up "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

Bubba, as was his wont, climbs down off the pool table, removes his hat and stands to attention while the song played. Normally, at this point, Bubba would be eased out the door into a pickup bed or trailer, driven home and poured onto his front porch. Normally.

Bubba, who is weaving a bit towards the end of the song, glances around and sees a young cowpoke who has neglected to remove his chapeau during Bubba's song. Bubba heroically restrains himself until "The Yellow Rose of Texas" winds down, then reaches over and throws the cowboy through the wall of the bar.

An older cowboy peers through the gaping hole in the wall and sighs, "Goldurnit, Bubba. That was muh top hand." The bartender says a Nasty Word, dives for the phone and hits the speedial for 911 as the other cowboys from that ranch, obeying West Texas feudal law, pile onto Bubba.

Pandemonium ensues.

Into the fray steps our LawDog. He sizes up the free-for-all and, in a move that generated gossip for nigh-on six months, he jerks a mop bucket from behind the bar and empties it onto the mighty struggle in the center of the room. Sudden shocked silence. Without a word, the lawman grabs Bubba by one ear and drags him out of the bar. Once outside, the minion of the law proceeds to chastize Bubba in fine, rolling language, threatening Bubba with God, Jesus, Mary and all the saints.

According to a witness, the scene looked for all the world, "Like a fire-and-brimstone prarie dog preachin' the Gospel to a Brahma bull."

The the lawman got nasty: He invoked Bubba's Mama. Spoke of the shame that Bubba was bringing down on that goodly lady. At length. Using them three dollar words. Had Bubba in tears by the time he was done.

Which was probably not the best idea the 'Dog ever had, because Bubba, being totally undone by the thought of the horror he was bringing unto his Mama, felt he had to proceed directly to the old homestead and beg forgiveness from his Mama. To which LawDog responds that Bubba is "going to jail, and that's final."

Over the car sails LawDog. Never even touched paint. Hell of a throw on Bubba's part. Set a new World Record in Cop Tossing.

'Dog stands up, brushes the dust off his jeans, stalks back around the front of the cruiser, reaches waaaaa-aaaaaaay up, pokes Bubba in the chest and snarls, "Don't make me hurt you, Bubba."

Bubba's second try at Cop Tossing beat the first by several feet, even clearing the lightbar on this go. Only this time, 'Dog bounces back over the hood of the car with a five battery flashlight and a can of mace. Bubba goes to jail, but it takes LawDog about 10 or 15 minutes to get the job done.

And during that 15 minutes, the local DPS trooper was having hysterics on the hood of his shamu car. Each time he calmed down enough to give 'Dog a hand, he'd whisper, "Don't make me hurt you, Bubba" and start whooping with laughter again.

LawDog swears that he didn't say those words, by the way.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You know...

...When my legions of flying monkeys complete my Quest for World Domination, there is a short list of folks slated for a BASE jump sans parachute.

Well, short for me. Maybe not so short for others.

Anyhoo, Mr. and Mrs. Cruise's baby boy is working his way up that list on sheer "Ick!" factor.

By way of Phlegm Fatale, we get Too Much Information regarding Tommy's dietary decisions.

Katie, honey, come by the house. I'll let you borrow a spare Meditation Stick and I'll even provide simple, easy-to-follow instructions on how to properly adjust your Pookie's headspace and timing. No charge.

LawDog

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shame! Shame! Shame!

You know, when I first heard the rumors of gun confiscations in NOLA during the aftermath of Katrina, I figured it had to be part of the hysteria.

I mean, who the hell would take guns away from citizens during a full-blown, full-on collapse of society? In the middle of Deepinahearta the Southern States?

And given the number of reporters, and the wide availability of digital video recording devices, the lack of published video seemed to back up my thoughts.

Then the Patricia Konie video surfaced. That was bad, but I figured there had to be more to that savage little scene than what was readily apparent.

Boy, was I naive.

After a lawsuit by the NRA and the SAF, plus contempt of court citations, NOLA jackasses reluctantly admitted that they were in possession of a thousand-plus confiscated firearms.

Thousand. Not 'tens', not 'hundreds'. Thousand.

ARE YOU BLOODY WELL ****ING ME?!

Those knuckle-dragging, nit-witted, mouse-dicked, pea-brained, lard-arsed, desk-driving, cork-screwed little dacoits with delusions of adequacy must have been running around stealing guns at warp speed!

Did they bloody well organize shifts for this? "You , you and you: loot Wal-Mart. You, you , and you: steal guns from any citizen who'll let you get by with it."

That's ... that's ... I really don't have words to express how I feel towards public servants (who are sworn to protect the citizens) stealing from those citizens their only means of protection. WHILE, I might add, LOOTING EVERY FECKING WAL-MART IN SIGHT. ON CAMERA.

Sweet evil Loki, y'all blotted your Eternal Copybook something fierce, I'm here to tell you.

And now, I find, it gets better.

After being forced -- let me repeat that -- after being FORCED to admit to taking lawfully-owned property (we call that 'Stealing' here in Texas), NOLA officials are reluctantly arranging to return said property.

As long as the owners are willing to jump through intricate and complicated hoops.

Want your lawfully-owned firearm back? Bring a bill of sale.

Bill of sale???!!! I don't fecking well keep the receipts of the guns I've purchased, you sodding ignorati! My grand-father and great-grandfather didn't keep the bills of sale to the guns they passed down to me!

And even if they did, you rat bastard sonsabitches, y'all just went through a BLOODY FLOOD! How in the name of all that is holy are the citizens supposed to find a bill of sale in a house that was UNDER 14 GODS-BE-DAMNED FEET OF WATER??!!

You buggered this whole thing into a cocked hat, YOU FIX IT. Don't dump that responsibility on the citizens who were merely in possession of LEGAL SODDING PROPERTY.

Yes, Gentle Readers, as you might have guessed the track record of Biblical level, pure, grade-A, arse-covering, institutionalized incompetence demonstrated by the officals of NOLA in the past is holding true: it looks as though 25 people showed up to retrieve their lawfully-possessed property -- and 8 received that property. 17 people did NOT get their lawful property returned to them.

What's the difference between a pack of Rover Scouts and New Orleans?

Adult bloody leadership, that's what.

8 people had their legal property returned. Well, hell, that only leaves a thousand or so stolen guns to be returned, doesn't it? Sodding incompetent muckwaddles.

I swear to God, if I worked for NOLA, I'd tell my mama that I was the mop man at an adult theatre and spare her the shame of knowing one of her off-spring had fallen far enough to actually accept employment from the likes of NOLA.

Where the hell is the ATF during all this? Why the hell isn't the ATF six feet up Nagin's butt with a microscope like they are with gun-dealers who mislay guns?

NOLA officials should be horsewhipped around the courthouse square for this.

Shame on you. Shame on you all.

LawDog

Monday, April 17, 2006

Buy one, get the next free.

There was a young man who moved to our town named Frederick who managed to get all over my wrong side in a hurry.

Near as I can tell, his mama gave him anything he wanted from the time he learned to point. In her eyes, he could do absolutely no wrong.

He was, in plain language, spoiled bloody rotten. Top this with the fact that Frederick was 5 foot, 4 inches tall and the possessor of one well-fed Napoleon Complex, should enable anyone to forsee the trail of smacked-around girlfriends, lost brawls, unreturned rental movies, unpaid gasoline, burn-out marks, skipped bills, hot checks, harrassing phone calls, and a record number of Public Disturbance and Disorderly Conduct calls -- except, apparently, his mother. Who also moved to our fair town.

I believe he holds the record for shooting to the top of the Sheriff's Smoke List.

There I was...

I was patrolling the west side of town one balmy Friday night, when about 3 in the A.M. I saw headlights up the street that looked ... wrong.

I pulled up to the house and immediately discovered that the reason the headlights looked wrong, was that they were coming from a car high-centred on the bank of a koi pond occupying the front lawn of a corner residence.

From the trail of brutally slaughtered garden gnomes, it appeared that the driver of the car had chosen a spot some twenty feet shy of the stop sign to make a right turn.

I parked the cruiser at the curb, turned on the lightbar and picked my way through the gnomic massacre to the drivers side of the expensive European convertible sportscar.

Since the window was rolled down, I could clearly see that the drivers seat was occupied by my favorite Frederick, who was making very careful movements of the steering wheel while peering blearily, albeit intently, through the windshield.

I cleared my throat, "Ahem. Sheriff's Office."

Freddie practically jumped out of the seat, whipped around and stared at me like a deer caught in headlights.

I waggled my fingers at him.

Freddie reached down and pushed the 'UP' button for the driver's side window, closing the convertible's window in my face (I guess), very carefully engaged the right hand turn signal, and gently turned the steering wheel to the right. The engine revved politely.

I stepped back and looked at the koi pond. Yep, still high-centred.

I will admit that I waited until Freddie had released a massive sigh of relief and shakily wiped his mouth before I tapped on the window glass.

I'm evil that way sometimes.

Young Freddie jumped damned near a foot out of the seat, clutched his fists to his chest and stared at me in a mixture of absolute confusion and just a bit of panic.

I made cranking motions with my hand. Freddie continued to stare at me. Getting a little irritated, I reached over the top of the window, unlocked and opened the door. Freddie promptly scrambled into the passenger seat, curled up into a little ball and began a loud, rapid, and totally unconvincing snoring.

I performed a Migraine Salute. Freddie peered at me through one eye, then began to snore even louder and faster. I moved the transmission into 'P', turned off the engine, dropped the keys into my pocket, walked around to the passenger side, and said politely, "Sheriff's Office, Freddie. Step out of the vehicle, please."

To which Young Freddie yelped, "Can'tsh choo shee I'm as... asleep?! Fug, funk, **** off, joo dumb***!"

I'm not exactly sure what the alcohol had been telling Freddie, but I don't think me getting a satisfying double handful of the front of his silk shirt and snatching him out the passenger seat of his car was part of the plan.

I love convertibles.

We wound up nose-to-nose, his toes a good six inches off the turf, and me smiling a very large, not-very-friendly-smile. "Are you awake now, Fred...Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what the hell have you been drinking?"

"Scroo ... screwd ... screwdrivers, joo fug ... fickin', ****ing maroon, no, moron."

"Okay, Freddie, let's go over to the nice cop car."

"Whafer ... wotsifor ... why?"

"Because I said so, Freddie."

"Joo got gotta tell me wha's ... why Ah'm bein' adrested for."

"Gnomicide and suspected DWI. You want to walk to my cruiser, or do I drag you?"

"'M gonna home. Choo .. joo talk to by lagyer in ... de ... de morn, 'Ey! Leggo de eer! Ear! Choo gogda by eer!"

We arrived at the cruiser, I retrieved Freddies wallet and called the S.O. to report my location and run a 27/28 and a 29. I noticed that while I was on the radio, Freddie was snivelling into one of those new-fangled cell phones. To his lawyer, I assumed.

Hah!

I got my business done on the radio, gently inquired if Freddie wanted to perform some Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises, relieved Freddie of the phone, repeated my inquiry about the SFSEs, to which Freddie replied loudly and profanely in the affirmative.

He then proceeded to fail the SFSEs. Spectacularly.

Which led to Freddie getting hooked up and put into the back of the cruiser. Because it was a balmy Texas night (and to give Freddie somewhere other than the floorboard to hork, when required) I compassionately left the back window down.

I had just finished telling Dispatch to find a tow-truck driver with some experience at improvisation when I noticed a car hauling tail up the road towards my location. Said car screeched to a halt behind my cruiser with one tire perched comfortably on the curb, and the peroxide blonde driver exploded out and began to stomp to the cruiser. I jumped out, pointed at Freddie's mama and firmly said, "We've had this discussion before, Darla. Remember the words: 'Interfering with the Duty of an Officer'?"

"Why are you arresting my baby?!"

"Mama!"

"Oh, baby! You're in handcuffs! Why is he in handcuffs!?"

"That would be under the 'arresting' part, Darla. Driving While Intoxicated." I gestured towards the car, the koi pond and the lawn with its pitiful population of decapitated Little Folk.

"He shaid ... said I kildt a ganomey. I din't meen too, but hesh wouldn't gegt ... get ... off my way! I'd hoknt de horn and evvrthing! Idt washn't my fault!" bawled Freddie.

"Darla, he drove his car over that lawn. He reeks of booze and he failed every single one of his sobriety tests. He's drunk, he was driving, and he's going to jail just as soon as the wrecker gets here."

"Bull****! My baby doesn't get drunk. Nobody can pass those ****ing sobriety tests! See?" Matching actions to words, Darla flung her head back, attempted to stab herself in the eye with a polycarbonate fingernail and tumbled against the side of my cruiser.

I immediately began to help her up, when I noticed that Darla's eyes were...awfully bloodshot. And under the pungent whiff of Chanel ... was that ... booze? Darla smacked my helping paw away and stood, swaying ever so gently, with her hands on her hips.

"See? My baby can't pass those tests because nobody can pass those ****ing tests!"

"Yeah!" yelped Freddie.

My smile was probably beatific.

"Actually, Freddie did the tests over here in front of the cruiser, where there's light."

Darla stomped around the front of my cruiser, attempted to touch her nose and caught herself on the hood of my car, glaring triumphantly at me.

"He also tried the walk-and-turn. Want me to show you how it's supposed to be done?"

"I ****ing know how it's supposed to be done!" So saying, she promptly failed that one, too. An angelic choir was softly singing hosannas in my ear, as I gently mentioned that Freddie had failed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, and surely she...

"I bet I've got a nystagmus too! Check and see!?"

"Yeah!" announced Freddie.

How could I say no?

When I was done with my light, Darla looked at me triumphantly, "See? What did I tell you?"

"You are totally correct, Darla," I said, feeling around for my spare set of handcuffs on the gear shift of the cruiser, "You said you'd fail the sobriety tests, and you did. Each and everyone."

"So, you're going to let my baby go?"

"Hell, no." I waved the handcuffs at her.

Took me five minutes to get that biting, screaming, kicking, clawing, spitting, cussing hellcat into the cruiser, I'm here to tell you.

Worth it, though.

LawDog

Sunday, April 16, 2006

By way of Tam, we have an interesting little historical exercise.

You go to Wikipedia, and you use your birthdate as a search. List three interesting fact, two births and one death.

Well, anything to get people interested in history, so here we go:

Three facts:
303 - Galerius, Roman Emperor, publishes his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the Empire.

1917 - World War I: The U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom is given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany pledges to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona to Mexico if that country declares war on the United States.

1831 - The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, is proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi cede land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.

Ooo...betrayal, political backstabbing, and broken promises.

Two births:
1786 - Wilhelm Grimm, German philologist and folklorist

1885 - Chester Nimitz, U.S. admiral

One storyteller and one butt-kicking Texas Fleet Admiral.

One death:
2006 - Dennis Weaver

A gifted actor, but mainly famous for his portrayal of a lawdog.

Hmm. Not a bad day to be born on.

LawDog

Call Homicide, someone lost the body.

Happy Eostre's Festival, Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy any other holidays I don't know about yet.

I hope that you and yours have a safe and joyous holiday, and I hope for blessings on everyone.

LawDog

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another viewpoint

In my first law enforcement position, I made the slight blunder of working in the town that was midway between the town my grandparents lived in, and the city in which my mother lived.

Being a dutiful daughter, Mom made frequent visits home, and being a dutiful mother, she would stop at my town during each trip.

Small towns being what they are, it didn't take the locals long to discover that the red-head in the purple pickup was my mother. Once that fact was discovered, it didn't take the local wags long to begin regaling Mom with tales of my exploits. Said tales usually being stretched more than a bit.

Just after I was invited to become Staph at www.thefiringline.com I was involved in a fairly interesting event involving my west-bound 1994 Ford Ranger, some ice, and an east-bound 1999 Peterbilt 18-wheeler.

When everything was said and done, Mom wound up contacting Rich and the rest of the Staph members to inform them of what had transpired, and that it would be a bit before I'd be in a place with ready Internet access. Stuff led to things, and Mom discovered that she liked TFL.

Which led to Mom reading my stories, and finding out that some folks had an idea that I was doing more than my fair share of leg-pulling.

So, she posted some of the stories that the locals had told her.

*sigh*

Bear in mind that Mom heard this story from people who heard it from their sister's cousin's best friend's hairdresser's ex-husband -- so I make no guarantees as to the actual facts of this story.

The Sheriff's Office gets a call from the local school. Seems there is a child in class who is displaying traits totally unlike his usual behavior; he is withdrawn, agitated, sleepy during class, won't talk about any problems at home.

Suspecting child abuse, there is an investigator heading for the child's house, and it is felt that an officer should be at hand, just in case.

Out goes LawDog. He and the investigator talk to the child, and it is gradually discovered that sometime previously, the parents had been watching one of the horrid movies about homicidal dolls that come to life, not knowing that their child has snuck out of bed and is watching the movie from the bedroom doorway.

This has led to the child deciding that one of his stuffed toys is going to come to life and slaughter the family.

Mama and Daddy come unwound. 'Dog goes with the child and digs the toy out from under the pile of stuff in the workshop where the child has placed it for safety. Mama comforts the child, Daddy swears the toy is going into the garbage first thing, and the social worker is pontificating about the damage violent movies do to young psyches.

Nobody notices the 'Dog going out to the Super Scooter and getting on the radio.

Just like no one notices the city truck pulling up in front of the big bay window of the house.

The two city workers talking to the 'Dog before firing up the machinery being towed behind the city truck raises only mild curiosity.

However, the sight of the 'Dog marching out to the truck, with the toy held at arms length with a secure grip about it's throat gets everybodys attention.

Of course, the fact that 'Dog has the muzzle of his pistol rammed firmly between the toys beady little eyes might have accounted for a bit of that fascination ...

And when he solemnly, and with the greatest of care not to allow the demonic toy the slightest chance to overpower him, slam-dunked the malevolent beastie into the chipper/shredder merrily grinding away on the back of the truck, one might say that the 'Dog had everyone's undivided attention.

The piece de resistance was when LawDog walked back into the house, tipped his hat to the child and stated: "You have anymore problems, you just give me a call." And headed back out on patrol.

Rumour has it that CPS filed a complaint. Rumour also has it that the Sheriff folded it into a paper airplane and sailed it across the office.

You know, now that I think about it, that's pretty much what happened.

*shrug*

LawDog

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I zagged, when I really should have zigged.

Courtesy of Tam over at Books, bikes and boomsticks, my very first blogging meme.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1.) Soldier
2.) Emergency Medical Technician
3.) Contract renegotiator
4.) Peace Officer

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1) The Three Musketeers (Raquel Welch - Yum!)
2) The Mummy (Rachel Weisz - see above)
3) Zulu (And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind it)
4) The Pink Panther (The immortal Peter Sellers)

Four websites I visit regularly:
1) Books, Bikes, Boomsticks
2) Day by Day
3) The Firing Line
4) The High Road

Four of my favorite foods:
1) A good ribeye, medium rare.
2) Pepperoni and onion pizza
3) Lasagna
4) Hash browns from the Waffle House (double, all the way, hold the peppers and the 'shrooms)

Four most wonderful places I've been:
1) Valletta, Malta, overlooking the Grand Harbour as the sun rises.
2) Garden of the Gods, Colorado
3) Unknown ruins in the Libyan desert.
4) The Imperial War Museum, London, England

Four songs I could listen to every day:
1) Jet City Woman, Queensryche
2) Bring Me To Life, Evanescence
3) Busindre Reel, Hevia
4) Still in Saigon, Charlie Daniels

Four people I'm tagging:
1) Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady
2) Anarchangel
3) Rhett
4) Joated

LawDog

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Low Intensity Conflict, part 2.

In March, I issued a Gloomy Prediction that we'd have a full-blown shooting war on the U.S./Mexico border within five to ten years.

Today, I was paging through a copy of Guns & Ammo Combat Arms and discovered this interesting quote from Richard Venola:

"Observing illegal immigrants and their American shills at recent gun shows, and noting the violent opposition to the Minutemen, leads this observer to predict that there will be battalion-sized ops between Spanish- and English-speaking partisans within 10 years."
--Guns & Ammo Combat Arms, July Issue, page 8

"Battalion-sized"? Judas tap-dancing Priest.

While it is nice to have independent verification of something I have postulated, I wish it had been on another topic.

*sigh*

I'd also like to think that the U.S. government will actually do something to head off this impending war.

After all, that is what I am jolly well paying taxes for, yes? National Defense?

It may be that the U.S. government is actually naive enough not to see this coming, but if this is the case, they are too innocent to be entrusted with the keys to the treasury.

I have the awful feeling that the U.S. government sees this coming as clearly -- or more clearly -- than I do, and are hoping to stall it long enough to be Someone Else Problem.

Hell of a thing to dump in our kids laps, don't you think?

Of course, the part of me that has spent the last four decades dealing with the Real World figures that most Congresscritters who are frantically trying to delay the inevitable are also hoping to make a bucket of monetary and/or political profit from those American citizens who are living in the famous cotton-candy pink-ish fuzzy-bunny happy land.

LawDog

Monday, April 10, 2006

We're going to get shafted on Illegal Immigration

*sigh*

I feel it coming.

Congress is going to show their true selves and roll over so that the illegal immigrants and the Mexican government can scratch their fat little yellow politician bellies and tell them what good little gringos they are.

Hell and damnation.

The only good thing to come out of this, is the illegal immigration issue is going to do to Congress what the Assault Weapon Ban did to Congress in 1994. Whole bunch of Congresscritters who happily voted for the Assault Weapons Ban got tossed out on their treacherous asses at election time. Same thing's going to happen to anyone who votes in favour of illegal immigration this time around.

I hope.

And, like the sodding Assault Weapons Ban, we may get rid of the traitors who stick us with bad legislation, but we'll still have that fecking bad legislation hanging around our necks. And we'll still have that simmering pot of shooting trouble down on our border.

Friends of mine are hinting heavily that I need to vote Libertarian this time around. Check me on this, but isn't "Free and open immigration" one of the main planks in the Libertarian Party platform?

Seems like we've got "free and open immigration" as it is. Matter-of-fact, I want Congress to sodding well do something about the "free and open immigration". I should vote for someone who's been proudly campaigning for "free and open immigration" since before Ham goosed the moose?

'Course, that describes most of Congress these days.

*sigh*

On the humor front, we had our very own protest march/boycott today. The only impact that I saw from the illegal population walking away from their jobs was a bunch of high school kids happily mowing lawns for $20 bucks each. I'm pretty sure the football team probably wouldn't mind a couple of more months of boycott so that they can build up their bank accounts before going to college.

So much for "shutting down the local economy".

Ah, well. Time for a couple of fingers of Maker's Mark over an ice cube, while watching the sun-set from the porch.

LawDog

The rockets red glare ... the bombs bursting in my hair.

One fine year the nearest big city decides on the Fourth of July that they were going to forego their traditional fireworks display.

So, my little town jumps up and announces that they're going to have a Boom-a-Rama. For $5 per car, anyone who wishes can drive out to the city lake, where the grass has been cut, volunteer fire department and Rescue squad are present in force and - quite coincidentally - the city has set up food and soft drink stands for only about 400% above the going rate.

If you don't think real hard about it, this sounds like a right proper idea. Give everyone a safe place to worship the gods of Big Noises and Fire, with public safety personnel less than a scream away, and the town makes a decent chunk of change.

What actually happened was one of the most concentrated collections of pure distilled dumbass that I've been privileged to see in my four decades on this green earth.

So. Here is the LawDog clan. And we are planning on making sure that on the morning of July 5, there won't be a single evil spirit within about 300 miles of this town. We spent a lot of money on fireworks. And some of them may, or may not, have been supplemented by those of us with a working knowledge of pyro-chemistry.

Night falls, and we load up into three extended cab pickups and an SUV -- when I say clan, I mean everybody -- and we drive out to the lake.

And it is a pretty drive. From the highway there are these huge, beautiful bursts of red and green and gold and every other colour available to modern chemistry sparkling in the air over the lake. Gorgeous.

Then, we actually got out to the lake.

Picture, in your minds eye, an area roughly the size of two high school football fields sans sidelines or endzones, placed side-by-side.

Now, take every redneck in a town of 6000 with pyromaniacal tendencies, and put them in this area. Add a generous dose of the inhabitants of the nearby city of 100,000, who are determined to make up for their city's lack of a firework display with one of their own.

Got that mental picture? Good, now add everyone in the eight surrounding bloody counties who feels slighted by the lack of an official fireworks display anywhere, and has decided to make do "Out at Bugscuffle Lake."

Yeah.

You literally couldn't go six feet without tripping over an artillery tube.

Looked cool as hell from the parking area.

The ladies, being the only of the clan who seemed to be actually, you know, thinking that night, promptly holed up inside the SUV with the children and locked the doors.

Us menfolk, all veterans and no strangers to bigger goat-ropings than this, promptly spat some chaw, hitched up our belts, picked up our two crates of go-bangs and trundled into the fray.

I should, at this point, describe the crates. Somewhere, one of the clan had found two crates about six feet long, maybe two feet or so across and about the same deep. Had rope handles on either end. On hindsight, they might have borne a striking resemblance to cheap coffins, but nobody thought to point that out to me at the time.

Bastards.

Anyhoo, off we trundle through the field, carrying our two ... crates ... of fireworks, mentally rubbing our paws and giggling.

The first problem came when we literally couldn't find a place to set up. Everytime we'd think we found a decent spot, someone else would plonk down an artillery tube less than ten feet away and begin launching explosive stuff willy-and-nilly.

Finally we got located. We unshipped our mortar tubes, and began wiring a sequence pattern for the first barrage, when somebody -- foster brother, brother-in-law, somebody -- yelled, "Fire!"

Chortling indulgently, Chris patted this person on the shoulder and bellowed above the sounds of thousands of pyrotechnics going off, "Patience!"

"Patience, my ass," said worthy replies, pointing, "Fire!"

Yeppers. Waist-high wall of flame roaring our way, gamely pursued by two aging pumper trucks.

I'm told that the sight of seven very large white guys, hoisting two vaguely coffin-shaped crates whilst hauling ass across a field followed by a grass-fire, followed in turn by two pumper trucks, had the ladies in stitches for the rest of the evening.

No comment.

Anyhoo, once the flames were beaten into submission by the VFD, we set back up, loaded our first pattern and launched it successully into the sky.

Many ooh's and ahh's followed, and we began a hearty round of congratulatory hand-shaking, in the middle of which my foster brother (I think, may have been a cousin) began to frantically slap the lids back onto our crates.

We were somewhat puzzled by this, until someone pointed out a fairly large-ish artillery tube about 15 feet away. Laying on it's side. With a sparking length of cannon fuze disappearing into it's depths.

Which we could see, because it was pointed right at us.

Kith dove left. Kin sprinted right, and foster brother just dropped flat in-between the two crates as the tube launched and the big red ball impacted about six feet short of our cases of low-grade explosive, arced over the top, bounced again about 20 feet further on and detonated in a beautiful burst of red and blue fireballs in the middle of a group of people who seemed to have been setting up about six strings of Black Cats.

At least, I hope that's what they were doing, 'cause that's what happened.

From the mighty cheer that went up, I can surmise that this feat met with approval from a great many people. I can also surmise that more than a few of them had been steadily violating the "No Booze" rule and were multiple sheets to the wind.

Anyhoo, someone, whom I don't know, but apparently unrelated to the survivors of the artillery shell/Black Cat incident, decided that this required a stern response, right smartly.

Counter-battery fire came in the form of two artillery shells and a smoke bomb zeroing in on the culprits.

Passing over our crates in the bloody process, I might add.

This, of course, necessitated answering fire missions of several minutes duration, culminating in an artillery shell bouncing gracefully from roof-to-roof of several innocent vehicles merely watching the display, before detonating spectacularly above a hapless Plymouth Neon and bringing the attention of Johnny Law.

With the appearance of the local PD and the SO and DPS, the combatants were dispersed nicely, allowing kith and kin to emerge from our various positions of cover, and begin to -- once again -- set up our display.

By Thor, we got off two full sets of launches, and I was just getting into the proper spirit of things, when I get punched between the shoulder blades with a flaming pick-axe. Next thing I know, I'm face down in the dirt, can't breath, mouth full of dry grass, and the distinct smell of flaming cotton fabric wafting gently in the non-existant breeze.

Trust me, I know what a burning cotton shirt smells like. Don't ask.

I can also see, from my somewhat skewed perspective, what looks like a high-school-maybe-college-age girl with a mildly perplexed look on her face as she tugs on the sleeve of a slightly older man standing next to her.

He turns, and in the rockets red glare and the gentle illumination of bombs bursting in air, I can lip-read her say to the guy, who has been setting up another four-foot tall, sub-orbital, ballistic missile: "Baby, I think the rocket fell over."

Heifer.

Next thing I know, everyone else is dumping the contents of one crate into the other crate, picking my gently smouldering carcass up, dumping it into the emptied crate, picking up both crates and --once again -- taking off at a dead run across the field.

Now, remember the description of the crate earlier? Now. Imagine you are the distaff members of the clan. Your male relatives - minus one - come running past the SUV you have wisely holed up in. They are carrying - still one relative short - a large crate matching the description given above, with limbs, and bits and parts hanging over the side because I don't bloody well fit, thankyouverymuch, heave the crate and aforementioned bits into the back of a pick-up and drive off at a high rate of speed.

Yeah.

They caught up when the driver stopped the pick-up at the closest cattle tank, and the rest heaved me and my crate into the water, to make sure that no bits were still warmer than they should have been. Kind of put the kibosh to the rest of the night.

*sigh*

LawDog