The Tonga Defence Services are the pointy end of things for the Kingdom of Tonga in the Pacific. Numbering about 500 troopies -- more or less -- in total, a significant percentage of them have been serving in Iraq and, more recently, in Afghanistan.
The following is a video of the Royal Tongan Marines ending their recent tour with the RAF in Afghanistan:
You ever get the feeling that sometimes civilization doesn't stick as thoroughly as some folks might want to believe?
Does anyone make a good quality blackjack-style sap anymore?
By "blackjack-style", I mean round head, coil-spring handle and woven leather, like the old Bucheimer 720.
My favourite sap makers Boston Leather and D3 Protection either don't make a blackjack, or their model is folded leather instead of woven -- and I'm a bit of a traditionalist.
Oh, I realize that there is no dearth of blackjacks out there -- every gun show I've attended has a tub full of blackjacks somewhere. Trouble is, I'm fairly sure that they're all from the same Chinese manufacturer: the leather is stamped basket-weave instead of woven, and they're glued instead of stitched.
Just simply will not do.
Anyone know of someone making a quality blackjack, about eight ounces or so, and eight to nine inches in length?
As long-time Gentle Readers will remember, occasionally I review a piece of kit that is really, really handy -- or just plain neat -- and I award it (tongue firmly in cheek) the LawDog Paw of Approval. Gentle Reader Koutetsu Kaigun has been kind enough to fashion several official Paw of Approval stamps for use on future reviews.
The only problem being I'm not sure which of the seven should be used. So, I shall post all seven designs and you, Gentle Readers, get to vote in the comments for the one y'all think best embodies the spirit of the Paw of Approval. I'm thinking most votes in the next five days, ending noon-ish my time on Sunday.
One thing that all of these cultures had in common was that the diner never got up from the table hungry. The concept of an evening meal that lasted less than a couple of hours was a completely foreign concept to me until I got to England and the United States.
Well, that and serving a no-name house wine with your meals, but that's a rant for another time.
When I sit down at a table for a meal -- especially one that I'm paying for -- I want food on my plate, not two Brussels sprouts and a stalk of asparagus delicately balanced on a chunk of pork the size of a quarter and surrounded by a pattern of sauce which I'm fairly sure is actually the chef's signature.
Some months back, Herself and I were noodling about in a small town some ways south of home when we stumbled across a tiny little hole-in-the-wall place where the maître d' greeted us with a lilting Italian accent.
Not a Brooklyn accent, mind you, but one just off the boat from Tuscany.
Scarcely daring to hope -- I mean, seriously, it's a town of about 5,000 souls in North Texas -- we ordered food.
Oh. Mah. Gawd. About half-way through a glorious chicken piccata, I looked at Herself and opined, "Somebodies Nonna is chained to the stove back there."
Seeing our absolute rapture, the maître d' apologized profusely for not being able to serve wine with the meal (his utter bafflement at the concept of a "dry town" sent Herself into giggles), confided that the quality of bread had forced the restaurant to buy a five digit specialty bread oven, insisted that we try the house blend coffee with the tiramisu, and finally confessed that business had been good enough that they were opening a second eatery in a town that would allow them to serve wine.
A town that just happens to be about fifteen minutes from Rancho LawDog.
Now, the fact that I'm in an area of the country that thinks that Pizza Hut is great Italian food makes me a bit concerned that my taste-buds might have been deceiving me. That maybe my missing that sort of food makes me think that second-rate chow is magnificent merely because it's not from a chain restaurant, so last weekend the Atomic Nerds were staying over after PhlegmPhest and since they're foodies we decided to see if the food was as good to them as it was to us.
As we reluctantly left the restaurant, Stingray was plotting various methods to drag it back to the Nerd Ranch behind the Nerdmobile.
Good food. It pops up in the oddest locations, and often where you'd never expect to find it.