Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Two things one should keep foremost in mind:
1) It comes into effect on Sept 1, which is about six or so months away -- it's not immediate; and
2) It's a "Stand Your Ground" law, not "Castle Doctrine" -- we already had a "Castle Doctrine" law.
While some of the new law is actually redundant -- Chapter Nine of the Penal Code already states that a citizen may use deadly force to prevent a fairly comprehensive list of felonies, and it applies a "reasonable man" test to any duty to retreat -- but the civil immunity part is jolly well outstanding.
I have to admit, this quote by the Washington Post:
"...the citizens of this state where guns are ubiquitous ..."
gives me the warm fuzzies.
Ubiquitous. Goodness, they hauled out the thesaurus, didn't they?
"Guns are 'ubiquitous' in Texas." Damned skippy they are, and we like it that way, too.
Cue gun-grabber snivelling in five ... four ... three ...
Ah, well. I think in honour of this new law, I'll take my tax return and go buy myself a sleek little 9mm with a Czech pedigree.
As some of you have surmised, the Nana Situation has come to something of a head and we're having to make a choice. It's come to the point that we're having to decide not if we should institutionalize Nana, but rather, which facility would be best for everyone.
As one might guess, this isn't the easiest choice I've ever had to make.
I think Chris said it best when he observed, "Not all of Nana came back from that last surgery."
Her mind -- for a woman four months short of her 100th birthday -- is still good. Mostly. She gets foggy as to time and place occasionally, but who wouldn't?
Her personality, I'm afraid, has taken a complete 180 sea-change. And the new Nana is more than we can put up with.
So. Nana needs a place less of a nursing home, but a bit more than assisted living, and the centres that we have in this area just are not acceptable to me.
Nana has kin down in the DFW metroplex -- while Nana is the last of eight siblings, there are absolutely scads of in-laws, along with the expected nieces and nephews scattered about Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Plus, DFW is large enough to have facilities of the kind I have in mind, as well as a choice of facilities.
We have been phoning, e-mailing and googling left, right and centre and it looks like we have have finally settled upon a facility.
Of course Old Man Murphy (who hates my guts -- personally) decided that this wasn't enough upon my plate, so the Sheriff's Office decided to change from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts.
You simply would not believe how bloody complicated that simple little sentence above could become.
I am also considering a move closer to DFW so that I can be near Nana. I realize that everyone down there is kin -- but still. I'm not moving anywhere in DFW -- because I simply can't breathe inside a city -- but maybe an hour or abouts away. Close enough to visit regularly and get there in an emergency, but far enough away that there's breathable air.
So, I've been a wee bit frantic for a while, but have faith. I'll be back to normal fairly quickly. Or as "normal" as I ever get, anyway.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I link to it, rather than embedding it here, because, quite frankly, the video infuriates me and I find that I just can't bring myself to place a video of treason on my site.
Since Treason is defined in the Constitution of the United States as "giving Aid and Comfort" to our enemies -- and since I can't think of anything more comforting to our enemies than seeing US soldiers burned in effigy by US citizens -- feel free to stuff any accusations of hyperbole.
The next time some Leftist tells you that the Left "supports the troops" and is "only against the war" -- feel free to call that individual a damned liar.
As for the arrogant little pismires with the matches and the lighter fluid -- please, please, I'll get down on my knees and beg you, please try that one in rural Texas.
Even better, try that one anywhere in North Texas. I swear to Odin, it would be worth the jail time to wade in amongst you little bastards with a sjambok or a bullwhip.
Set during in Sierra Leone during the 1999 civil war (incidentally, why do they call them "civil" wars? Having been through a couple, I can attest that there isn't anything "civil" about them) this movie focuses on the trade in "conflict diamonds" that helped fuel that war.
I admit to some trepidation -- when I discovered that Leo's character was intended to be Rhodesian, I had flashbacks to Keanu Reeve's bastardized "British By Way Of South Cali" Valley Dude accent in 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'.
I needn't have worried. The boy did his research, and while his Rhodesian accent isn't as perfect as many web-sites claim -- it's more of a generic Southern White African accent to my ear -- it is done rather well, and the slang he uses is almost perfect.
What he does nail dead-on is a brief use of what the movie calls "creole", but that we always referred to as "bush" or "pidjin" -- the pidgin English that is the lingua-franca of West Africa.
The movie manages to capture the brutality and barbarism of the Sierra Leone donnybrook -- the scenes of the young boys being indoctrinated into the RUF are particularly wrenching -- without being too over the top. Folks with weak stomachs might want to keep their eyes closed during some parts, though.
Our boy manages to pull off the world-weary soldier/mercenary quite well, and he paid attention to his shooting and tac instructors.
Just as an aside, I spotted a tat on DiWhazzits shoulder which I thought I recognized as a fairly famous SADF ID patch. Turns out I was right.
Jennifer Connelly pulled off her role as a reporter well -- truth be told, I didn't recognize her at first, which says good things about her abilities as an actress.
Djimon Hounsou gave a solid performance as the fisherman who only wants his son back.
I have a couple of minor nit-picks with the movie. A minor point in the movie revolves around the catch-phrase "This Is Africa" or "TIA". I don't ever recall hearing that catch-phrase in my years on the Dark Continent. The phrase I do remembering hearing -- and using -- is "Africa Wins Again", which would have fit the scenes much better.
The other nit-pick I have is that the film should have ended with the phone call on the mountain. I don't want to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, and those who have will recognize the scene of which I speak. Everything after that feels like an afterthought just mashed in any old way and really detracts from the power of that scene.
Oh, well. That's probably why I'm not a director.
'Blood Diamond' gets a Paw of Approval as being, "Not a bad little flick."
Friday, March 23, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
A slippery word, it is one of the many whose meaning changes depending upon whom is speaking it.
Tonight, I'd like to riff upon a certain group of people who should hold honour most dear, yet among whom are those who treat honour as if it were merely kleenex. Or worse.
I speak of instructors.
Most students believe that they are seeking skills when they go to a school or an instructor.
This is, indeed, the case. However, the skills the instructors imparts to you must -- must -- be backed in full by his honour.
In the aftermath of any use of deadly force, there are two legal processes that immediately come into play: 1) Criminal; and 2) Civil.
The criminal aspect is immediate and is represented by the attentions of the Grand Jury -- and should you fall afoul of the Grand Jury, at your criminal trial.
The Civil aspect is when someone -- the critter, kith and/or kin of the critter, Justice Department, whoever -- sues you.
In your criminal case, the Court must see you as Innocent Until Proven Guilty. And you must be found guilty "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt", the State has the burden of proving your guilt, and your guilt must be agreed to by all twelve "Good Men and True" of your jury.
In your civil case(s), on the other paw, the plaintiff suing you has to convince a majority of the jury that a "Preponderance of Evidence" shows that the plaintiff is entitled to what he/she is asking for. Usually everything you own, owned, or plan on owning in the future.
To my mind, far too many instructors choose to ignore the civil aspect of their instruction -- and worse, in the name of "cutting edge tacticality" many instructors actively pursue avenues of instruction which are not only civilly damaging, but are criminally shaky also.
Folks, if you take nothing else from my blog, take this to heart: the honour of your instructor may -- may, I say -- not be a factor in the criminal aftermath of your incident.
The honour of your instructor WILL be a factor in the civil aftermath. Period.
Too many folks think only of surviving the criminal part -- everybody hopes to be no-billed by the Grand Jury. Too few folks are taking steps to ensure that they survive the inevitable lawsuit that will follow. There seems to be this conception that as long as you get no-billed, everything else is gravy.
Nobody ever seems to ponder what it would be like to survive the Grand Jury, only to sell every gun you own -- to sell every possession you own -- in order to hand a cash judgement to the scumbag family of the scumbag critter you were forced to lay in a dirt bed.
And it is your civil trial where your tax refunds, the college funds of your children, your retirement, everything ... rests on the reputation -- on the honour -- of your instructor.
This goes double if the people suing you manage to attract the attention and aid of a civil rights organization, such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the ACLU, or the like.
In seeking instructors, first you must Trust, But Verify. If your instructor makes claims -- verify them. Somedays it seems like every new instructor I see advertisements for has a personal cemetery larger than the whole of Arlington.
And the number of firefights -- Sweet Shivering Shiva! I didn't realize that half of the cities and towns in the U.S. of A. were actually worse than Beirut or Belfast in the Bad Olde Days.
If your potential instructor likes to talk about the firefights he's survived -- verify. Shoot-outs get investigated -- especially if a peace officer was involved. Such investigation is a matter of public record, and the Freedom Of Information Act is your friend.
This goes double for killings. Self-defense shootings go before a Grand Jury. Grand Jury findings are -- again -- a matter of public record.
Trust me. You do not want the jury to hear all about the dozens of deadly shoot-outs your instructor was in, just before a civil rights lawyer dramatically proves that he's a liar.
To the jury, you just turned into a Rambo wannabe -- and only a majority of them have to feel this way.
In the same vein, talk to other folks who have taken this instructors classes. Search the various Internet gun forums for your prospective instructors name. If the instructor teaches tactics that you find morally or legally questionable -- find someone else.
My paw to Odin, I have had firearms instructors tell me -- recently -- that old bushwa about "If'n you shoot someone in your front yard, be sure to drag 'em into the house 'fore you call the cops."
Another shining example of the breed solemnly intoned, "After the shootin' stops, check the bad guy. If'n he's still breathing, shoot him in the head. Dead critters can't sue you none."
No, you profligate moron, but his relatives can.
Do you think anyone who's just gone through a self-defense shooting wants either of these two idiots on the witness stand in front of a tax-payer-funded ACLU lawyer with all that you own hanging in the balance?
You think I jest, but large law firms and civil rights groups have battalions of investigators with nothing better to do than dig up everything they can find on you.
Like it or not, the choice of instructor -- his reputation, his standing, his honour -- can have a major impact both civilly and criminally should you be unfortunate enough to wind up using his skills in a deadly force encounter.
Choose your instructors carefully. Choose deliberately. Choose wisely.
Today's cartoon is an example of why I linked to him.
I have no idea why that cartoon made me blow a mug of Assam Estates tea through my sinuses, but I'm thinking that Mr. Muir might be owing me a new keyboard.
Go forth. Enjoy.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Unc was something of an enigma. He left home -- as many did at that time -- during his teens; headed West.
The story he told family and friends was that he was a cow-puncher and worked trail-drives until his niece became a widow, and then Unc rode back to Texas, settled down with his niece and her two sons to help out.
He was, at that time, in his forties, and Great Grandma was the only one of his family who would speak to him -- his estrangement from the rest of his family is just one of the mysteries around the man.
He -- to use his own words -- wasn't nuthin' special.
I have two things that belonged to Unc. One of which is the badge of a U.S. Marshal which was found in his property after he died.
The other is an 1873 Colt Single Action Army in .41 Colt.
When Unc rode into town to help take care of his niece and her children, he had two pistols. One was a stag-handled .38-40 that was his everyday gun, and the other -- the one sitting on my desk now -- was nickled with mother-of-pearl grips carved to resemble the head of a long-horn steer and was Unc's "church gun".
Unc had the right-hand pocket of his trousers lined in leather, and it was deep enough that when Unc's .41 was slipped into it muzzle-first, just the grip and a bit of the trigger-guard protruded. Unc would then button his Go-to-meetin' coat and no one noticed the six-gun.
Sometime after Unc settled in the town, he got cross-threaded with a man. Some family tales have the man being a local bully. Others have it as someone who recognized Unc from his past. Either way, the other man seems to have wanted a fight -- or a killin' -- we're not sure which.
Anyhoo, things came to head one fine Sunday afternoon when Unc and the stranger met up on the street. Some tales have it that the stranger shouldered Unc off the boardwalk, then dared him to do something about it, others have it that the honour of a lady was questioned.
What we do know for certain, is that Unc slipped the .41 out of his pocket, held it behind his back and then proceeded to eloquently and with a great deal of verve, describe the ancestry and personal habits of the stranger.
Right there, in front of God and the gathering crowd, Unc opined at great length on what this man was, and what he wasn't.
Finally, pushed beyond his limits -- and not knowing that Unc already had the drop on him -- the man attempted something. The most popular version is that he whipped out an Arkansas toothpick.
Of all the things we don't know about this story, we do know two things for certain:
1) The last thing that man saw on this little green dirtball was the muzzle of this .41 Colt; and
2) The Sheriff fined Unc five dollars for discharging a pistol inside the city limits.
Unc gave this pistol to my grandfather. When the Texas Company sent my Grandad to Central and South America, this pistol went with him.
It was a more civilized time.
Family stories hint that Grandad used this pistol to proper effect more than once down thataway, and when Mom went to college, this .41 Colt went with her.
Mom used it in college to convince a would-be break-in artist that her bedroom window was Off Limits -- seems like the sound of the hammer being eared back on a Single Action Army can inspire a man to sprinting excellence.
After Mom married my father and went overseas, Grandad kept this pistol for her, it was during this time that the original mother-of-pearl grips were broken and the current scimshawed ivory ones were put on. The initials are my grandfathers brand, and the twisted horns were a personal design he created.
When I graduated from the Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy, Mom gave me this pistol at graduation. The first year I wore a badge, I carried this pistol as my "dress-up gun" to court, church and the like.
These days, there's too much sentimental value tied up in this pistol. One day -- God willing -- I hope to have a wife and a family and I surely do favour giving this pistol to one of my offspring so they can write themselves into it's history.
Plus, it's become bloody expensive getting .41 Colt ammo for it.
So, I'm going to clean it up, store it somewhere safe and then I'm going to get myself an old Ruger Blackhawk or Colt SAA and see about building a project gun in .41 Special.
Unlike the .41 Colt, the .41 Special is easy to fabricate and handload -- just trim .41 Magnum brass down to .38 Special length and feed with standard .410 bullets -- unlike the .41 Colt which used to be a heel-based round ... argh. And the .41 Special pretty much duplicates the ballistics of the older round rather nicely.
It'll be something I can carry and use with fond thoughts of Unc, Grandad and Mom, but without the apprehension of damaging a priceless heirloom.
Seems like the firing of several US Attorney -- nine, I think -- is the latest scandal flag being lustily waved by the Democrats.
Am I the only person who remembers co-Presidents Bill and Hillary Clinton firing ALL US Attorneys by way of Janet Reno in 1993?
So -- will somebody, anybody, please tell me why it's okay for President Clinton/Janet Reno to fire 93 or 94 US Attorneys, yet a massive scandal for President Bush/Alberto Gonzales to fire eight US Attorneys?
Is it because Bush didn't fire enough? If he'd gone ahead and fired every-bloody-one -- like Clinton did -- would that have been okay?
And I'm here to tell you, Senator Clinton -- who was, if I remember correctly, something called a "Co-President" when every working U.S. Attorney was fired by the White House in 1993 -- just might ought to keep her hypocritical mouth shut on the subject of firing US Attorneys.
But that's just me.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
--Shadow Wolf motto
The Sonoran Desert of south-western Arizona is an inhospitable place -- and home to one of the largest Indian reservation in the United States. The Tohono O'Odham rez is a Connecticut-sized chunk of desert abso-bloody-lutely chock-full of things that sting, bite, claw and poison the unwary -- and that's just the plants.
It's also a major entry point for illegal aliens and drug smugglers.
The Tohono O'Odham who live here have maintained -- as a matter of survival -- one of man's oldest skills. They are superlative trackers.
Somebody in U.S. Customs Service during the 1970's did his karma a whole lot of good and formed a Customs unit of native Americans for the purposes of tracking people -- drug smugglers, mostly -- through the desert.
Boy, howdy, was that a good idea. Mostly Tohono, although some other tribes are represented,the unit -- calling themselves the Shadow Wolves -- took off like rockets, gaining international respect for their skills.
The Department of State has used the Shadow Wolves to train border guards in other countries -- Uzbekistan and Tajikstan most recently -- as part of an International Mutual Aid program.
Now, however, the Shadow Wolves get to take a shot at the brass ring.
They're going to Afghanistan.
You know -- know -- that some of those boys are going to be looking for bin Laden. If he's still in that area, life just got a hell of a lot more interesting for him and his entourage.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Just ... wow.
That was one of the more intense 117 minutes I've ever sat through.
Epic storytelling, told well. Honour. Loyalty. Sacrifice. Courage. What's not to like?
A solid cast of mostly little-known -- or unknown -- actors who took the script and ran with it. In a just world this movie would make careers, and earn accolades by the bucket-load.
Alas, this film was made from a comic book -- excuse me, graphic novel -- and this is Hollywood, where only lip-service is paid to the core tenets of this film, so "300" will be ignored everywhere -- except the box office.
Speaking of lip-service, if you're one of those simple-minded idiots who firmly believe that this film was made about President Bush and the Iraq War -- do some research before you open your worthless pie-holes, if you don't mind.
The movie "300" is a frame-by-frame and line-by-line adaptation of the comic book -- which was first published as a five-issue series by Dark Horse Comics in May of 1998, with the complete graphic novel following in 1999.
Now, anyone who's not a moonbat Leftist, or is in possession of a functioning brain -- but I repeat myself -- should be able to subtract 05/1998 from the date of the start of the Iraq War, or the date of the election of President Bush, and come to certain realizations.
But, we are talking about Leftist moonbats here, so I'll spell it out for them: "300" was written two years before the election of George Bush; three years before the events of 9/11 and the start of the War on Terror; and five years before the March 2003 start of the Iraq War.
For everyone else who wouldn't mind seeing a movie about freedom, liberty and the violent cost of both -- go forth and see this movie. Many times.
Feeling a bit nostalgic, I dug through my library until I came up with my dog-eared copy of "The Tomb".
This is one of my top-ten all-time favourite books. It is, I believe, the first time that we are introduced to Repairman Jack, who has gone on to star in several of Dr. Wilson's books.
I picked up this copy of "The Tomb" in a Waldenbooks back in the '80's, intending to thumb through it as a time-killer until the lady I was with got done with some shopping.
The first line I read in that book was in reference to a gunstore hidden in New York City owned by a friend of Repairman Jack. As Jack and the friend go down some hidden stairs, a sign lights up that reads:
"The Right To Buy Weapons Is The Right To Be Free"
Jack comments on this sign, and his friend states that every good weapons shop should have a sign.
The sign is, of course, taken directly from the classic Golden-Age Science Fiction novel "The Weapons Shops of Isher" -- which I had just got done reading.
I was immediately charmed and, two hours later, bought the book -- which is sitting on the desk as I type this.
It is pounding down rain outside, I have tea brewing in my brand-new electric tea-maker and nothing to do until tonights' 1900 showing of "The 300".
If y'all will pardon me, I'm going to go put my boots up on the desk and lose myself in the world of Repairman Jack, rakoshi, murder, vengeance and redemption. And tea.
You know that the cinematography is going to be fantastic, with broad, sweeping shots and breathtaking framing. The nighttime sky shots of LA in "Collateral" and the mountain panoramas in "Last of the Mohicans" will bring tears to your eyes.
You know that the actors will be mercilessly drilled in their characters. Tom Cruise had to memorize a complete background on his assassin in "Collateral", right down to pictures of the house he grew up in. Michael Mann then made Cruise do UPS deliveries in character. If he was recognized as Tom Cruise by the people getting the deliveries, he wasn't ready for the part yet.
Jamie Foxx drove around with LA cabdrivers for a couple of weeks to learn the minutiae of the part.
You know that fighting skills will be true-to-life and top-notch. Mick Gould, of the British Special Air Service, is one of Michael Mann's favourite trainers and any number of police instructors happily help Michael Mann on his films.
I've also been told that Michael, himself, has taken firearms training and has an instructors certification, but I don't have solid proof on that.
You know that the background colours will have specific meanings. A scene suffused with blue light or a blue background will represent safety for the characters; while green or red will show danger and death.
You know that the music will be cutting-edge and beautiful, and the architecture will take your breath away.
You know that the movie will explore the bonds between people; and you know that at the end of the movie, the Good Guys will win, and the Bad Guys will lose.
With the exceptions of "Miami Vice" and "The Keep", a Michael Mann movie is always a good choice.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
On the other paw, I've never seen anything Colin Farrell was in that I did like.
So it was with some trepidation that I rented this movie tonight -- who would come out on top?
I am sorry to report that the creative spirit-light of Michael Mann is not strong enough to overcome the black shadow of despair and desolation that is the career of Colin Farrell.
I had such high hopes for this movie, too.
Don't get me wrong, the wizard gun-play and sound tactics and strategy that is the hallmark of a Michael Mann movie are all there -- eventually. At the end.
Unfortunately, I was forced to endure countless hours of character development and plot building that went absolutely NO BLOODY WHERE!
If, in a sudden burst of masochism, you decide to rent this movie, do yourself a favour: fast-forward to the trailer-park bit, then pop the corn and pour the soda.
The reaction and spin from the gun-banners, however, has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.
I have never -- in my life -- seen so much hand-wringing and attacks of the vapours.
If anyone ever doubted that the gun-banners rely upon emotion rather than reason, the reactions of the gun-banners ought to lay that question to rest.
These days, however, the canned emotional out-burst that is the -- forgive me the pun -- heavy artillery of the gun-banners has lost its punch.
In the last twenty years every time a concealed handgun law passes, there's the Brady Bunch squalling about "Blood in the streets!"
Hasn't happened yet. No state that passed a CCW law has seen "blood in the streets!"
Now that a court has come to its senses and struck down an unConsitutional gun control law, what's the first thing I find coming from the hoplophobes?
"There's going to be blood in the streets of our Nation's Capitol!!!"
First off, "blood in the streets" is exactly what 30 years of the strictest gun control in the Nation has gotten you. No American city or state has stricter gun control than DC. And, yet, Washington DC remains one of the most dangerous cities in America.
Secondly, little Sarah One-Note screamed about "blood in the streets!" when Texas passed it's CHL law.
She screamed about "blood in the streets!" when Missouri passed it's CCW law.
Louisiana CCW? "Blood in the streets!"
So, since screaming that there's gonna be blood in the streets has been wrong every time -- why the hell would you think it's going to be different this time?
The answer is, of course, they don't. They're just hoping that if they shriek, "DOOM AND GLOOM!" often enough, and loud enough, they'll scare somebody into believing their bushwa.
Seems to have worked a treat in the past, too.
To be honest, I think a large part of the frantic panic being exhibited by the gun grabbers is probably due to the fact that they're seeing the future of their movement -- and it isn't bright.
One can hope that's the case, anyway.
We here at The LawDog Files have a vested interest in the civil rights of everyone (actually, we have serious interest in not doing any more work than is strictly necessary) -- including critters.
In this spirit we would like provide these simple rules to surviving Your First Trip In Front Of The Judge.
1) Any legal advice you decide to follow should come from a lawyer. A quick tip here: if the name of the person giving you advice is anything along the lines of "8-Ball", "Animal", "Two-Step", or similar, then that person is probably not a lawyer.
Also, if the advice came from your Bestest Buddy in college, check and make sure your Bestest Buddy majored in Law.
And we should not have to mention that any legal advice given to you by a person who has yet to graduate High School should be taken with a large dose of salt.
2) It is never a bad idea to be polite. Nobody ever wound up with Contempt of Court charges for saying, "Sir", "Please", or "Your Honour". Telling the judge that he is a fat mother[deleted], a [deleted], [deleted] or even a [deleted]ing [deleted], on the other paw, will guarantee you an extended stay at the Greybar Bed and Breakfast.
3) When in doubt, or if courtesy, civility or good manners decide to temporarily depart your person, bear in mind that Silence Is Golden.
4) You are not going to win an argument with a judge in his own courtroom. Not going to happen. Ever.
5) When the judge says, "That's another three days Contempt of Court. Are you finished?" that is what is what is commonly referred to as "A Clue". It means that you should cease and desist from doing whatever it was that caused the judge to say, "Contempt of Court". Really.
6) Contempt of Court charges are served day for day. You can not receive good time credit for Contempt; there is no probation; there is no fine to pay, and you can't bond out on Contempt of Court charges. That means, if you talk yourself into 45 days Contempt of Court, you're going to serve all 45 days.
7) Last, but not least -- if the nice deputy has to snatch you out of the courtroom for violating Rules 2,3,4 and 5, you have just caused him extra paperwork. He does not like extra paperwork, and will probably be somewhat annoyed.
There are several different ways of getting from the courtroom to the jail. The words, "Get your [deleted]ing hands off me, you punk-[deleted] [deleted]!" said to an annoyed deputy will ensure that the most comfortable way will not be the one taken.
Thank you for your attention.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
In 1996 my department got a call about a stray dog hanging around the Allsup's Convenience store on the edge of town. I spent a week trying to snag that little dog, but she was always gone by the time I pulled up.
Getting a bit frustrated, I walked around the area, and found where she was denning, but I also found paw prints where she was jumping onto a discarded sofa, and hopping over onto the Allsup's dumpster. Inside the dumpster, I found a whole bunch of neatly eviscerated burritos.
So, I parked my cruiser in the alley with the passenger side door open, and a fresh chimichanga laying in the seat. The evening was warm, I had a good tape in the player, and next thing I know, I'm waking up from a light doze and Moira was in the passenger seat, in the exact pose you see above, only she had the chimichanga in her paws and was eating the goodie out of one end.
I shut the door, drove home and she trotted in the front door right behind me, just like she'd lived there her entire life.
Today, I brought her body home from the vet and buried her in the back-yard. I would say that she's laid to rest under her favorite tree, but truth be told, Miss Moira was quite happy to be an indoor dog. She never spent any more time outside than was strictly necessary to conduct business, then scooted back inside right smartly.
I miss her already.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
His pack of Gallic henchfrogs promptly throw up their hands while chorusing: "We Surrender!"
The sprogs didn't get it, but I laughed until my ribs hurt.
Although Jean Reno does give me some hope that their are still some Frenchmen running around with spines, unfortunately the joke above -- as does all humour -- has more than a bit of a basis in reality.
Witness the latest law coming forth from the French Constitutional Council.
It is apparently now unlawful for anyone except a "professional journalist" to take pictures of violent acts, or to film violent acts.
It is further unlawful for anyone to broadcast or publish violent acts without having a prior government certification.
Allow me, Gentle Readers, to explain that.
If you have a cell-phone capable of taking photos or video, and during your perambulations through the homeland of wine and cheeses you happen to stumble across, say a full-blown riot of
To the tune of about five years in a French clink and somewhere in the neighborhood of US$100,000 in fines.
Show of paws: How many Gentle Readers notice that the potential punishment for filming an act of violence in France is liable to be higher than the punishment for the act of violence itself?
Give yourself a cookie.
Of course, France being a Socialist Workers Paradise(TM) and all that, the Frog Gummint has quite generously proposed a certification process that:
* Web sites;
* Users of video-capable cell phones; and
* Internet Service Providers
will be able to undertake that will allow the above to become an "Government Approved Source of Violent Media" -- as long as they agree to adhere to certain rules generously and arbitrarily provided by that same Gummint, of course.
You know, I used to hide my head under the blankets to avoid the Boogeyman. As long as I couldn't see him, I was safe.
One should point out, however, that I was five years old at the time -- one would hope that the French government has at least one or two members who have gotten past the whole Boogeyman/Closet Monster thing.
Seriously, folks, what is this? Does someone in the upper echelons of Frog bureaucracy really think if riots and such don't get filmed they'll just go away?
Do you seriously think that if you forbid Jacques Vino from filming a mugging on his cell-phone, then by-God the mugging didn't really happen?
I mean, I've heard of burying your head in the sand, but I always thought that was a metaphor.
Monday, March 05, 2007
First off, by way of Ambulance Driver, we have:
How can anyone pass up reading something with a title like that?
Next up, we have:
If you are interested in the Filipino Martial Arts -- and I am -- or knives -- and I am -- then this is a wonderful read. As soon as I can waylay an Internet wizard, he's going on the blogroll.
The author of this next blog and I have known each other -- electronically speaking -- for ages on TFL and THR:
I have always had a sneaking fondness for the US Coast Guard. You just have to admire people who head out into seas the US Navy won't go near. This next blog is written by an ex-Coastie with the right outlook on life:
And last for tonights list -- but certainly not least, someone who's Got The T-Shirt, and writes well:
If I have missed listing you, please do not take offence, I read and treasure many blogs, some of whom I can't recall when it comes time to list them.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
You know, there are some acts that purely do scream out for a good, old-fashioned, country arse-kicking.
Giving a two-year-old child hits off of a marijuana cigarette may not be at the top of that list, but it surely is in the Top Five.
From the amount of laughter going on, I'm of the impression that getting a two-year-old stoned seems to be the comedy Hit of the Week to these two critters, with the pinnacle being the inevitable munchie joke.
I seem to remember that there was a fairly compelling reason as to why public flogging never caught on in the United States. Right now, though, I'm seeing two damned fine reasons why Texas ought to consider sliding Public Flogging into Chapter 12 of the Penal Code.
The last leg of any journey into Our Little Patch of Jungle, Nigeria was by way of Pro-Puddle-Jumper (name changed to
So, there we were. Flying into Africa for the first time.
I probably should have been a bit concerned as we were loading on board, and my father (a licensed pilot) stopped in the cabin and looked about with a raised eyebrow -- but I was young and this was a fantastic little plane!
The pilots sat up front behind a thin partition (Select Grade banana crate, as it turned out) with a little curtain (appropriated from a shower in a Port Harcourt hotel, complete with mildew) that could be slid back-and-forth to allow the pilots to do Pilot Stuff.
On the right side of the plane there was a row of two seats, then an aisle and a series of single seats against the left wall of the cabin. I, of course, got to sit in one of the single-seats with my knees right up against the bulkhead (... ineapples, Prod. Of Nige ...), until about halfway through the take-off trundle.
When the pilots stopped right dead square in the middle of the Lagos runway, came back into the cabin and moved everyone around, redistributing weight.
Dad wound up in my seat, and I had to sit in the back next to Mom. This was, as it turned out, a fortuitous move, but it irritated the hell out of me at the time.
The take-off was nothing special, and the flight -- other than being bumpier than hell -- was pretty routine. Until we were about twenty minutes out of our destination.
My father was chatting with the pilots, when he suddenly stopped and cocked his head. He listened for a second, then leaned forward and rapped gently on the instrument panel with a knuckle, causing a light bulb to fall out of its socket onto the floor.
Dad picked up the tiny bulb, contemplated it for a moment, regarded the pilots, then leaned forward and twisted it into its socket.
The light bulb immediately lit up, and I'm here to tell you it was one of the brightest, most-intense shades of Oh-[Deleted] Red that I've ever seen.
The co-pilot immediately looked at Dad and held a finger to his lips, while his other hand unscrewed the bulb from the socket, "It's okay," he murmured in a sotto voce tone that swept throughout the entire cabin, "Happens all the time. When the light comes on, we've usually got enough pressure for another 15 minutes or so."
Meanwhile, the pilot is gingerly shaking the yoke. "Bob," he whispers.
"Got some sodding fungus or other around here that noshes on the rubber seals something fierce."
"Bob," hisses the pilot, taking a firm grip on the yoke.
"We call the home office and tell them about it, they say there ain't no such plant, and we're just fibbing to cover poor maintenance."
Dad is looking at the white knuckles of the pilot.
"I sez to the home office: 'It ain't a plant, it's a fungus. They's two different things', but no-oooo..."
"Robert!" snarls the pilot. Dad reaches up, points two fingers at his eyes, then points -- most firmly -- in the direction of the pilot.
"What?" says the co-pilot, then he gets a look at the expression on the face of the pilot, "Oh, bugger!"
Things got -- really fast.
The co-pilot practically exploded in his seat, arms and straps flying about, then starts digging in the shelf behind his head, flinging magazines (of an adult nature) and various other sundries, until he comes up with a gallon bottle of rot-gut gin.
He then sprints the five steps of the aisle, murmuring, "Nothing's wrong lads. Everything's perfectly okay. Just a bit of a bump in the road, that's all."
I assume he was talking to Chris and I, but I've never really been certain. Meanwhile, Dad has leaped into his empty seat, and has both hands on the yoke.
Anyhoo, the co-pilot yanks open a small hatch in the floor, reaches inside and fiddles with bits, then says to my mother, "Listen, love. Would you be a duck and reach under your seat? There should be a tool-bag, ah! Would you find me a spanner, then?"
Mom pulls a wrench out of the tool-bag and hands it to him. He reaches inside the hatch and makes unscrewing motions, then pours a good dollop of gin into the hatch. Pauses, then pours another dollop down his own throat, coughs explosively, and pours another measure into the hatch.
The pour, pause, pour, cough, pour pattern continues for a bit, then the pilot gives a whoop and a fist appears around the banana crate partition, thumb pointing up. The co-pilot dumps another bit of gin into the system, then holds his hand out to my mother.
Mom digs around in the tool-kit and comes up with a ... mostly ... tubular object in a particularly violent shade of purple. She looks at the co-pilot, eyebrow raised.
"Nah, nah," says that worthy, unperturbed, "That's oil system. We need hydraulics. Smaller, should be green."
Mom digs around some more, finds a similar object in acid green and passes it along. It disappears into the hatch.
"Mallet." A wooden mallet is located, passed to the co-pilot, who proceeds to bash away enthusiastically inside the hatch.
"Gaffer tape." Half the roll disappears inside the hatch, then Bob shuts the hatch with a satisfied air, dusts off his hands and makes his way back up the aisle to the cock-pit, ruffling Chris's hair on the way.
At the cockpit, he extracts two cigarettes from a pack, puts them in his mouth, lights them and passes one to the pilot, offering the other to Dad.
Dad murmurs that he's a pipe smoker and offers the seat to the co-pilot.
"No, no," says the pilot. "You stay there. Bob will be in the back, pumping the gear down. Now, when we get to the aerodrome, there is a highway that crosses the landing strip. Probably some bloody cows, too. We'll come in low, so that the lazy bastard at the gates will wake up and close off the highway. The lower, the better. That way we don't have any autos making problems, and the plane scares off the bloody cows. Then we come back, and we land. All okay?"
Dad blinks at the pilot, looks at Bob who nods happily, thinks for a moment, and sighs, "Give me that cigarette."
Five minutes later, in front of a cattle herder who was shaking his fist at us and screaming imprecations as his herd stampeded into the jungle, we set down at the International Aeroport pictured above, and taxied to a picture-perfect stop next to the corrugated-tin control tower -- also pictured above.
The co-pilot grinned at my mother, opened the door, lowered it to form the stairsteps for leaving the aeroplane, then jumped to the bottom of the steps. Tipping his hat, he gallantly held out a hand for Mom, "Welcome to Africa!"
The door/steps fell off the hinges, landing in the West African clay with a certain authoritative thud.
"Bugger!", yelped Bob, "Didn't we fix that?!"
Dad grinned at Mom, jumped to the turf, turned around and lifted her down.
And that was my introduction to Africa. God, I miss that place sometimes.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I'm sitting here, staring at this bloody little white square, and I can almost believe that it's taunting me.
And Goddess only knows that there's enough stuff whirling through my mind to make a couple of blog posts...
The Honourable Congresscritter from Houston has authored a bill to make the police use, or purchase, of Tasers unlawful from Jan 2008 until Jan 2009 -- so that someone somewhere can ponder the civil rights implications of Tasers.
Oh, boy! I get my stainless steel stick back! Baton chokes for everyone! Happy days are here again ...
I've got a real nice "Meditations" post on dealing with panic that refuses to gel, another one on blending with your environment, and I really should finish off the Saga of the Pink Gorilla.
Got a couple of tales about bush pilots in Nigeria in the 60's and 70's, kind of funny in a OhMyGawdWe'reGonnaDie sort of way.
And then there was the time the Usual Suspects decided that Chris and I were being denied a proper Fourth of July celebration and promptly ... acquired ... munitions from the Nigerian Army.
You haven't seen a real fireworks display until you've given napalm, semtex, and several thousand rounds of tracer ammunition to a pack of sloshed engineers.
But, noooo, I'm sitting here with Writers Block and I can't even get the posts started.
My buddy Reno was quick to set me straight, however.
"You," he rumbled smugly, "Are missing the obvious. Anyone worth his patchouli understands -- on an emotional level -- that the Martian warming is completely due to a secret BushCo installation on Mars -- Halliburton, of course -- which is plundering the precious natural resources of the Martian ecosphere. Clear-cutting old growth forests, running over endangered Martian spotted owls in SUVs, the usual."
You know, we snickered our butts off over that one, but -- and this is one really scary thought -- there're some folks out there who believe this is Gospel, or just haven't thought of it yet.