Saturday, February 11, 2017

New author

Friend Dorothy Grant has published her first novella, titled "Scaling The Rim".

Since I've yet to read it, her husband has given a nice little synopsis here.

Support starving authors!  Go buy it.

LawDog

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Well ... that's awkward

In addition to her other good points, Herself is a perfumista, and as a result, I have noticed that my cologne collection has substantially improved.

I have briefly found myself reassigned to shift; and when I was getting ready for work, I grabbed a random bottle and gave myself a brief spritz.

Later on -- because I'm me -- I wound up on top of a critter at the bottom of a pile of officers, and I am Doing Things That Hurt to the critter.

After he's handcuffed, we "assist him in getting to his feet", he looks at me through the tears and snot, a beautiful bruise blossoming at his jaw hinge where I have attempted to scratch the inside of his brain housing group with my thumb, and mumbles, "Damn, LT, you smell good."

I look at him, eyebrow climbing a little, and one of my female officers on the far side of the critter gives a little shrug and says, "Yeah, LT, you kind of do."

I'm afraid that my reputation as a screaming nightmare may have taken a nasty hit. It's hard to terrify people when they're sniffing appreciatively.

Sigh.

Wonder if there's a cologne distilled from arson and massacres?

LawDog

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meditations on monsters

"There's nothing worse than a monster who thinks he's right with God."
~Malcom Reynolds, captain of the cargo ship Serenity

I have spent a great deal of my life fighting monsters. Not the fun monsters that Larry Correia writes about, but the tawdry, dreary reality of men engaged in the ten thousand ways of being inhumane to other men.

I have seen the monsters borne of greed; of madness; and those borne out of lust for power over others.

Of all the monsters I've had dealings with over the last five decades, the absolute worst are the fanatics -- those monsters who think they're right with God.

Fanatics are people who think that their actions are blessed and/or required by a Higher Power (ideology, religion, politics, you name it); and are scary for a lot of reasons, but the two primary are:

1) Not only are their consciences clean no matter the evil they do, but there's usually a group of like-minded people (mob, Politburo, cult, congregation, cell, whathaveyou) providing moral support, validation, hero worship, and all of the other fun stuff that group dynamics handles; and

2) Mission Creep.  Defined as: "The expansion of a mission or task beyond its original goals, often after initial successes", in this context mission creep refers to the nasty habit that fanatics have of always expanding their list of "Heretics, Heathens, Idolaters, And Other What Deserve Our Righteous Wrath". Yes, they always expand this list -- unless and until someone (metaphorically-speaking) holds their little heads under water until the bubbling stops.

In Africa and the Middle East, I witnessed first-hand the damage that fanatics can do; along with the snow-white consciences of those who committed  some of the worst atrocities ever seen by the gods in the name of ideology, or religion, or politics.

Here in the United States -- other than a brief fanatic embuggerance during the 1930s and 1940s -- we don't have a lot of experience with the little bugsnipes.  Here when fanatics move up to their post-doctoral studies, the Rule of Law or society in general plays Whack-A-Mole with them, and then we trundle on our merry way.

In the last score of years or so, I'm starting to worry that this is no longer the case -- and this concerns me, although probably not in the way that the average Gentle Reader imagines.

The company that my father worked for had a policy of hiring most of their employees from amongst the ranks of war veterans.  The CEO was of the opinion that someone who had not only already been overseas, but had been shot at overseas, could probably handle anything West Africa could throw at them. 

An educated tribesman from the northern part of the country -- we'll call him "Abdul" -- got hisself bitten by the Religion Bug, came into our neck of the jungle, and set about bringing Allah to the fuzzy-wuzzies.  Started out ok -- if a little enthusiastic -- built up a group of worshippers sycophants, did Some Good.

However, things started getting all fire-and-brimstone, and next thing we know, some poor lad gets immolated for recreational friction with an unsanctioned partner after being singled out by Our Wee Fanatic.

Things get all hot and bothered for a bit, but it's all yelling and chest-pounding, and things settle down.  Two weeks later, Abdul the Moderately Rabid goes a-wandering in the jungle at night and winds up as Kittie Kibble.

The local elders put a slam order on the leopard, call Da', and I go out with him to do the deed.  We start at the body, track the man-eater down, Da' hoses him with a full magazine of 12 bore (Da' REALLY hated leopards), and that was the end of it.

Except, at the body, I realized that Abdul the Moderately Rabid had been done in with an extremely sharp knife run into his neck from the side and punched out the front.  All that the leopard did was clean up the carrion.

That's what I'm worried about.

There are a whole bunch of 50-60 year-olds in the United States who fought the Cold War in dark alleys, midnight ports, and moonlit rooftops with knives, brass knuckles, and silenced pistols.

There are a whole bunch of 30-40 year-olds in the United States who fought vicious CQC battles in places like Mogadishu, Tora Bora, Fallujah, Najaf, and Mazar E Sharif.

There are 20-somethings from places like Compton, El Paso, Chicago, Detroit, Tiajuana, "the barrio", "the ghetto", and "the heights" who have stainless-steel teeth and thousand yard stares.

There are uncounted numbers of immigrants who have come here from war-torn hell-holes -- and brought the skills and attitudes that enabled them to survive along.

This is what I'm worried about.

I'm worried that when Biff the Hygienically-Challenged and his Coterie of Fanatics decide that sucker-punching neo-nazis just isn't enough and mission creep themselves into Proper Fanatical Stupidity, that some truly scary people are going to start whacking and stacking in response.

I don't want to find myself standing over what's left of a coyote attack and suddenly realizing that unless coyotes are carrying knives, some pipe-hitter has just declared war upon other Americans.

Y'all should be worried about this, too.

LawDog

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My shocked face, let me show you it

Well, President Obama has officially commuted the sentence of Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning.

Given the blasé attitude of this Administration regarding sensitive/classified information (Hello, Mrs Clinton and her bathroom server!) this doesn't really come as any surprise, although I am heartened by the fact that Manning's sentence was commuted, rather than pardoned.

Commuting the sentence means that Manning is still a convicted felon, with a criminal record.

I am saddened by what I fear will be the unintended (or maybe intended) consequences of this act:  there were many current and former military members (your Humble Scribe among them) who seriously believed that as soon as the conviction was handed down, Manning should have been taken outside, placed against a wall, and shot.

While President Obama is probably trying to appear kind and magnanimous, to those of us who believed that 35 years was considerably softer than the justly-deserved oxygen jig at the end of a hemp rope, this commutation smacks of a certain level of contempt towards us.

The perception of contempt, point in fact, that causes those of us who voted for someone other than Trump to be less unhappy about the Cheeto Jesus winding up with the Hot Seat At The Oval Office.

Not happy about it, mind you.  But a jolly sight less unhappy about it.

I didn't take Manning to raise, and my da' taught me not to offer advice to those who are neither kith nor kin ... but in this case, I seriously advise that Manning take the Golden Ticket that has fallen, find a quiet hole, and pull it in after.  Live quietly and low-profile.  Disappear.

Or Manning can hit the limelight, make political hay, and continually remind The Deplorables of the perception of contempt, and we'll see what shakes out in the mid-term elections.

Meh.  I'm good either way.

Now to see if President Obama wants to pull a contempt two-fer and pardon Bowe Bergdahl.  Any takers?

LawDog

Monday, December 19, 2016

Insert saxophone solo here

You know, there is something very noir-ish when your lady slips a snub-nosed revolver into the outer pocket of your leather over-coat just before you venture out into a sub-freezing night to help strangers.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

LawDog

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Popular Vote

We here at Rancho LawDog are seeing a whole bunch of fluster in the air regarding Secretary Clinton "winning the popular vote."

Leaving aside for the nonce the uncomfortable fact that there is no such thing as a popular vote for the Office of President of the United States (yet another sin that the Mainstream Media will have to answer for) near as I can tell -- if we had been foolish enough to do so -- had there been a Popular Vote the winner would have been "None of the Above".

According to data from the United States Election Project, there are just over 231,000,000 (231 million) eligible voters in the United States at the time of this cycle's General Election.

Secretary Clinton got (so far) ~ 66,000,000 (66 million +/-) of those eligible voters.

Mr Trump got (so far) ~ 63,000,000 (63 million +/-) of those eligible voters.

Let us add 66 million to 63 million -- if my math skills are up to scratch -- about 129,000,000 (129 million) votes.

231,000,000 (total eligible voters) minus 129,000,000 (eligible voters participating) -- leaves 102,000,000 (102 million) eligible voters who sat at home, muttering into their beers on Election Day.

In other words, it sure looks like the Presidential picks were so dismal this year that 45% of the electorate couldn't get enthused enough to cast a vote.

To quote Herself:  "So, she got about half of the half that showed up?"

It actually cyphers out to Secretary Clinton getting 48% of the 55% that showed up, but close enough.

Hillary Clinton didn't win the popular vote.

"Bugger This For A Lark" and "None Of The Above" won the popular vote with a total of 102 million to Secretary Clinton's 66 million -- almost half again as many votes.

LawDog

postscript:

A cheeky young bugger has pointed out that it could be said that "Noah Ward" was actually the winner of the popular vote.

Sigh.

LawDog

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stew

Take:
2 1/2 pounds stew meat
4 cups beef stock
28 oz little taters (one to two inches in diametre)
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
2 medium yellow onions
5 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
1 cup red wine
couple of slugs of Worcestershire sauce
salt
pepper
flour
olive oil

Okay. 

Bung your beef stock into the slow-cooker, or decent-sized stock-pot, and start it going.

Generously salt and pepper the stew meat, dredge it through some flour, throw it into a frying pan with some oil, and brown it.  You'll probably need to do this in batches.  When the meat is brown, bung it off into the stock.

You're probably going to have a nasty mess inside your frying pan.  That's perfectly okay.  Take your cup of red wine and pour it into the frying pan. With a wooden spatula, scrape the goodie off of the bottom of the pan while still on a medium flame.  This is called "deglazing" and you may be surprised at how easily the gooey bits come loose.  When it's all loose, pour all that goodness into the pot with the meat.

Quarter the taters (I prefer the little red or gold ones), cut the carrots and celery into one-inch lengths, chunk the onions, and throw it all into the pot.

Run the garlic cloves through a press into the pot, toss in the bay leaves, and tie the sprigs of thyme and rosemary together with twine, and into the pot with it.

End up with a couple of generous glugs of Worcestershire sauce (about a teaspoon worth).  Simmer or slow-cook on high, until the meat is nicely tender, pull out the bay leaves and the spice bundle; and serve with crusty bread.

Voila!  Stew.

LawDog

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mood music for today


Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a bit of a tradition here.

LawDog

Friday, December 09, 2016

Because esoteric makes me warm and fuzzy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LawDog

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Yup. Buggered up a perfectly good monkey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Ok," says #1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... came out.

I blame the lack of caffeine in my circulatory system.

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

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

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

Snort.

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

LawDog