Monday, July 31, 2006

Qana comments

Chris (in Southeast TX) said...
"Just how many Katyusha rockets were at the International Airport?"

Kind of depends on how many Syrian and Iranian cargo aircraft were there. Katyushas don't grow on trees. The rate Hezbollah is using them, they've got to be re-supplied. Resupply isn't going to be using the port (Israeli blockade), or the highway (blocked by Israeli bomb craters), so that kind of leaves the airport.

Plus, why give Hezbollah High Command an escape route?

"You can't tell me they can't hit the launcher without taking out a city block."

Hezbollah uses Iranian Fajr-3 rockets. The warhead is ninety-two pounds of high-explosive packed in ball-bearings, on top of a nitro-cellulose propellant, twelve rockets to a truck, not counting reloads.

I don't care what you hit those Katys with, you're going to detonate all twelve warheads. And probably all twelve nitro-cellulose solid fuel charges, along with the fuel in the truck and any reloads. That is going to do quite nicely for the city block, whether you used half of an M112 demo block, or a 500-pound GBU.

"Just how many launchers were in the UN compound?"

According to an earlier e-mail from one of the UN soldiers inside the compound, it was crawling in Hezbollah terrorists. If I were a UN muckety-muck, it would behoove me to tell Hezbollah to quit using UN neutrality to hide.

"This is equivalent to your 16 yo son repeatedly shooting my windows out with a slingshot, so one day me and 30 of my friends open fire with heavy machine guns on your house and kill most people inside it."

No, this would be the equivalent of my sixteen year-old son repeatedly shooting your windows out with a slingshot, before, during and after sneaking into your yard in the middle of the night, killing your dog, and forcibly kidnapping your 9-year-old daughter at knifepoint.

Or have we forgotten the incursion, murder and kidnapping by Hezbollah of Israeli soldiers in defiance of a ceasefire?

Anonymous said...

"How about if a bunch of Anti-Mexican KKK members started sniping Mexicans across Rio Grande...."

What you ignore in your fairy tale, is that if -- and that's a big 'IF' -- American citizens launched an attack on Mexico, America would investigate. American peace officers would set a world record for Doors Kicked In, and after gathering intel, American SWAT teams would rescue the hostages, and America would apologize -- profusely. America would pay reparations through the bloody snout -- over and above the line of generosity. America would spend the equivalent of several nations annual GDP to find the perps, have a public trial, and if found guilty, America would publicly and happily execute the criminals. America would then pass even more laws against it's citizens just to make the citizens of Mexico feel better.

Mexico wouldn't find it necessary to "level El Paso and Austin and Houston" because America would metaphorically do the job for them, and we'd be apologizing to Mexico every step of the way.

What part of this did Lebanon do? Oh, that's right, they said, "Sorry, we can't control them. Too bad."

How many investigations did Lebanon conduct? How many arrests did Lebanon make? When did Lebanon rescue the Israeli hostages? How many trials are we going to get to watch on Court TV? Executions?

You called this dance: America would bust its own balls to find, try, and execute those responsible for an attack on Mexico, and you know it. So. Finish your hypothesis: Speak unto me of the Lebanese legal plans regarding this attack by Lebanese citizens upon a neighbor, do.

A while back you quoted Nitchke (sp?) "Those who fight monsters must take great care so they don't become monsters themselves. If you stare into the Abyss long enough, the Abyss stares back at you" (or something like that) Are you sure Isreal has not forgotten that? To me it seems, there are two monsters out there.....

Really? You can look at Israel, who is managing not to bomb relief convoys given proper notice...

Versus Hezbollah, who then starting using relief convoys to ship militants and war materiel ...

And you see two monsters.

Israel, who announced a 48 hour ceasefire in aerial bombardment, and tried to follow through ...

Until Hezbollah took advantage of the 48 hour ceasefire to shell Israeli tanks ...

And you see two monsters.

Israel, who is attempting to limit civilian casualties by dropping advance warning leaflets in Arabic to Lebanese civilians ...

And Hezbollah, who is attemtping to maximize civilian casualties by dropping Katyusha anti-personnel rockets on Israeli civilians ...

And you see two monsters.

The Israelis may be sneaking up to take a look into the Abyss, but Hezbollah got there first, took a long look, liked what they saw, and took up residence.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Meditations on Qana

You know, it may just be me, but if I lived in an area where a bunch of annoyed Israelis were bombing the cous-cous out of anything even remotely related to Hezbollah, and said Hezbollah parked a multiple-launch rocket rack out behind my house, I tend to think it might behoove me to either 1)Go politely inform the Hezbollah HMFIC that there's a better launch site two miles thataway; or
2) Smile real big, bow a couple of times, and then quietly get the wife and sprogs the hell out of the area.

I'm here to tell you that everyone -- and I mean everyone -- on the ground in Lebanon knows that the IDF is grimly determined to high-speed-disassemble every Katyusha rack that might be pointed in the general direction of Israel.

There are goat families and field rat families that are bright enough to unarse the A.O. whenever a Hezbollah Katyusha rack parks near-by, because mama goat and daddy rat know that IDF bombs are about to start impacting.

I'm going to let a whole bunch of people in on a secret to minimizing civilian casualties in Lebanon:

Stop letting Hezbollah park their rocket racks next to the swing-set, okay?

Simple. Easy. I might even go so far as to call it common-sense.

If you let your local Hezbollah idiots launch Katyushas from your back-yard, then you can bet your burkha that Israeli ordnance is going to be landing in that back-yard before you can say, "Cold Steel On Warm Bodies!"

I weep for the dead at Qana. I wish justice for the dead at Qana, and I demand that those responsible for those deaths pay for those deaths.

Those who are responsible for the deaths at Qana are those who parked a Katyusha rocket rack behind the building at Qana and fired rockets upon an Israeli position from behind the building.

And as long as Hezbollah continues to hide behind civilians while shooting at Israel, as long as Hezbollah fires rockets from play grounds, and mortars from apartment building roof-tops, as long as Hezbollah shoots from behind civilian women and children, then civilian casulaties are not only guaranteed, but are to be firmly laid at the feet of Hezbollah.

Stop hiding behind civilians, and then you can bitch about civilian casualties.

Stop letting Hezbollah use civilians as shields, and then you can bitch about civilian casualties.

Stop letting Hezbollah use you as a human shield, and then you can bitch about civilian casualties.

Until then (and this is addressed with nothing but love to the United Nations in general, and Kofi Annan specifically) until you get Hezbollah to stop using innocent civilians as shields, just shut the hell up and let the IDF work.


Andrea Yates, part II

I'd like to introduce y'all to Kenneth Lee Pierott.

Mr. Pierott is, as we say here at The LawDog Files, a critter.

In 1996, Mr. Pierott walked into the bed-room of his sister, who was completely bedridden due to cerebral palsy, and beat her head to a pulp with a heavy metal dumb-bell.

His explanation for this was that he was God, and during his on-going fight with the Devil was forced to bludgeon his sister to death because she had been corrupted by evil relatives.

He also admitted to smoking 'wet' -- for those of you less than current on slang terms associated with recreational pharmaceutical use 'wet' is the street name for marijuana cigarettes soaked in embalming fluid.

Baked brain-cells aside, Mr. Pierott was diagnosed as being paranoid-schizophrenic.

At his 1998 trial, Mr. Pierrot was acquitted of the murder by being found -- wait for it -- Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.

Thus, in July of 1998, Mr. Pierott was sent to the Vernon State Hospital for post-trial evaluation.

Sound familiar?

In August, he was transferred to the Rusk State Hospital for treatment.

Again, sound familiar? To quote from that link:

"George Parnham, Yates' lead defense attorney, said he wants her transferred to Rusk Hospital, about 165 miles north of Houston, as soon as possible."

Mr. Pierott arrives at the Rusk State Hospital, and begins to undergo treatment.

Three months later:

"It is the opinion of the patient's attending physician that continued in-patient treatment is no longer needed,"
-- former Rusk State Hospital Superintendent Harold R. Parrish Jr. wrote at the time, speaking of Kenneth Lee Pierott.

"He has reached maximum hospital benefit,"
--Rusk physician Harry Thompson, Oct. 12, 1998, at the judicial medical examination of Kenneth Lee Pierott

Mr. Kenneth Lee Pierott, being an innocent person (remember, he was found 'Not Guilty') is punted out of Rusk State Hospital and into an out-reach program.

In April of 2004, Mr. Pierott stuffed his girlfriend's five year old son into the oven, turned the oven thermostat as high as it would go, and went to bed.

The child died of asphyxiation -- whether he was suffocated prior to be crammed into the oven, or whether he was still alive, but suffocated by the oven gas because the pilot light wasn't functional is a moot point -- and was found by the mother of the child at breakfast the next morning.

Let me aim this one squarely at the Main Stream Media:

Do not stand there and tell me that Andrea Yates "will likely be committed for the rest of her life", because I know better, so quit peeing on my leg and telling me that it's raining.

Do not stand there and tell me that Andrea Yates is going to a place "not much better than prison", because I know better, so quit peeing on my leg and telling me that it's raining.

And do not stand there and tell me that Andrea Yates is "just as much a victim as the children", because I sodding well know better.

Andrea Yates may, or may not, be a victim, but until someone that she loves and trusts as much as a six-month old baby loves and trusts her mother puts Andrea Yates face down in a bath-tub, until someone terrorizes and betrays her on a basic primal level, until she struggles helplessly as fouled water enters her lungs, Andrea Yates is NOT "as much a victim" as those children.

Andrea Yates woke up above ground this morning. Her children wake up ... well, they won't, will they? Ever.

Andrea Yates will have the oportunity to attend "patient cook-outs" as part of her treatment. What BBQ's are her children going to attend?

Andrea Yates gets to breath air. The last thing her children took into their lungs was water stained with their own terror, and the terror of their siblings.


It isn't rain. I know it isn't rain. Everyone else knows it isn't rain. Stop trying to convince me differently.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Spice weasels

Hit my favorite grocery on the way home from work and discovered ...

Spice Weasels!

This is just flat neater than puppy stuff. Somebody at McCormick needs to get a raise this year.


One Steakhouse Seasoning Spice Weasel*
However many rib-eye steaks you want
Fresh lemon
Olive oil

About an hour before you fire up the grill, grab your Spice Weasel and firmly dose both sides of your steaks.

Allow them to meditate undisturbed in their spicy glory, until your grill is good and hot, then bung your steaks onto the grill until medium rare.

Gently place your steaks on a platter, squeeze lemon over both sides, followed by a gentle drizzle of olive oil (between one-half to one teaspoon per side, according to taste) and let set on the counter under cover for about five or so minutes.

Serve with a salad and a good micro-brewed stout.


*In the cartoon Futurama there is a recurring minor character named Elzar who is a chef, and is followed by weasels. When Elzar wishes to spice up a dish, he grabs a weasel, holds it over the food, and squeezes. The 'spice weasel' then sneezes a cloud of spice onto the food.

Well, I think it's funny, but my sense of humour is widely considered to be a bit ... off.


One of the side issues being raised by the Andrea Yates re-trial involves the concept of 'depravity'. What makes a crime 'depraved'? Are the circumstances of crime 'A' more or less depraved than the circumstances of crime 'B'? Why?

Sounds kind of obvious, but nothing in law is ever obvious.

Establishing a 'reasonable man' threshold for depravity is going to have to happen. There are too many sentencing guidelines throughout the United States that utilize 'depravity' as a modifier to sentencing, without actually telling those folks doing the sentencing what depravity is.

Sooner or later, some critter (or his lawyer) is going to get his nose out of joint because he caught extra legal smackdown due to the jury deciding his crime was 'depraved', while the critter two cellblocks over who pulled the exact same crime got standard sentencing because his jury had a higher 'depravity' tolerance.

He'll sue, and the definition of 'depravity' will wind up being defined by nine folks in black robes who haven't exactly thrilled me with their assessment of legal issues.

Kelo v. New London, anyone?


One of the mental health care professionals who was involved in the Andrea Yates case is attempting to determine some kind of threshold for what society defines as 'depraved' by using real people, rather than judges and lawyers.

I don't know what will come of his attempt. I do know that gifting him with five minutes of your time and your answers to some questions is -- considering the scope and seriousness of what he's attempting -- cheap.

I'd take it kindly if some of my readers would consider popping over to his web-site and giving the man a hand.

Can't hurt. Might help.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Brainwash, rinse, repeat.

I know that the Gentle Readers are, no doubt, terribly concerned about Cindy Sheehan's hunger-strike.

Well, in an effort to ease your concerns, we here at The LawDog Files have kept a hairy eyeball on the Queen Moonbat, and by way of The Age of Hooper, we have an updated photo of the poor, starving moonbat on Day 22 of her fast:

*blink, blink*

Only in the famous cotton-candy pink-ish fuzzy-bunny happy land inhabited by infants and liberals can you go twenty-two days on a fast/hunger-strike and not lose any weight.

You will notice that I have heroically restrained from Inserting Inappropriate Jokes Here even though under the circumstances that photo just screams for wicked commentary.

I probably deserve some kind of reward for that.


Not guilty by reason of insanity.

Well, the Andrea Yates re-trial is over, with the jury returning a verdict of Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.

So, what happens next? Ms. Yates will be transferred to a Texas State MHMR hospital, where she will be reviewed by the trial judge at regular intervals. If, during one of the reviews, the judge makes the determination that -- and I quote:

" longer has a severe mental illness or mental retardation, is no longer likely to cause serious harm to another, or that treatment and supervision can be safely and effectively provided as outpatient or community-based treatment and supervision."

Then within about 60 days, she'll be released.

For those of my Gentle Readers who haven't been keeping abreast of this particular item, Andrea Yates is the Texas woman who very methodically and deliberately drowned all five of her children in the bath-tub.

She had been previously found guilty of three counts of murder, and sentenced to life in prison, but because of slip-shod testimony on the part of a prosecuting witness, Andrea Yates wound up with a re-trial. The results of which are posted as the title to this piece.

On 20 June 2001, Ms. Yates filled her bath-tub to within three inches of the top with water.

She then put six-month-old Mary in a bassinet and left her in the bathroom, while she picked up Luke -- age 2 -- placed him facedown in the water and held him there until he stopped struggling. She then placed the dead body of her son on a bed, and went to get Paul -- age 3 -- and she did the same to him, as her six-month old baby girl cried in the bassinet beside the bath-tub.

Following Paul was John, age five, also placed face-down in the bathtub and held there against his struggles until he drowned, then it was the crying Mary's turn.

Once Mary had stopped struggling under the fouled water of the bath-tub, Andrea left her floating there while she called her eldest son to the bath-room.

Upon getting to the bath-room, her eldest -- Noah, age seven -- came to the bath-room, but fled after seeing Mary.

Andrea Yates then chased down her terrified son, dragged her terrified son back to the bathroom, placed her terrified son facedown in the tub next to his baby sister, and held her terrified son under the water until the water flooded his lungs and he died.

Ms. Yates told the police that Noah put up the biggest struggle, actually breaking free of Ms. Yates and getting air on more than one occasion, before his strength finally gave out, and he drowned face-down in a bath-tub full of water stained with the terror of savagely murdered children, next to the dead body of his infant sister -- held there by the thing that bore him.

Part of me demands terror for terror and pain for pain. There is not one godsdamned thing that Andrea Yates has gone through that equals what her children endured as they died.

Don't give me that crap about the pain a mother feels upon the death of her children. Nothing -- not any godsdamned thing --that Andrea Yates has gone through equals what her children went through.

Usually, the thinking part of me overrides the primal part.

Not this time.

Andrea Yates is in a State Hospital, for a term not to exceed 40 years -- what she would have received when if found Guilty. At regular intervals the judge of her case will review her progress, and if she "stabilizes", she will be released.

On 16 June 1999, Ms. Yates was transferred to the Houston Methodist Hosptial Pysch Unit. She was released 24 June -- after she stabilized.

On 20 July 1999, Ms. Yates was re-hospitalized for ten days, but stabilized on meds and was released.

At the end of March 2000, Ms. Yates was re-hospitalized, but stabilized and was released after ten days.

She has a habit of "stabilizing". Minimum of three times, if I count correctly.

She also has a habit of flushing her medications down the commode. I don't see that changing, either.


She'll "stabilize". She'll quietly get out, just as soon as the psychiatrists and the judge think they can do it without having effigies of themselves burned on the courthouse lawn.

Then, she'll flush the meds down the commode. Probably not at first, but eventually she'll decide that she hates the "fuzzy" feeling that the stabilizing meds give her and they'll go down the khazi.

And, sure as the dusk follows the dawn, she'll go bugnuts again.

The only question becomes: will her out-patient minders discover that she's not on meds anymore and lock her down until she starts taking them again? Or will they miss it, and leave it up to someone like me to stop her from filling another bath-tub?

Or -- Gods -- will someone like me have to clean up the mess -- again?

Damn it.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel and Hezbollah: cease-fire?

William R. Higgins, Colonel, USMC
--Kidnapped and tortured to death by Hezbollah.

William Francis Buckley, LTC, US Army/CIA Station Chief, Beirut
--Kidnapped and tortured to death by Hezbollah.

US Embassy, Beirut
--Bombed by Hezbollah, 63 dead.

USMC Barracks, Beirut
--Bombed by Hezbollah, 241 dead.

Second US Embassy, East Beirut
--Bombed by Hezbollah, 22 dead.

Robert Stetham, US Navy, Passenger, Hi-jacked TWA Flight 847
--Beaten and executed by gunshot to the head by Hezbollah

This doesn't even count the multiple Western hostages taken.

Some folks think that Israel ought to cease-fire. I figure there's whole bunch of U.S. ghosts -- who got that way courtesy of Hezbollah torture, and Hezbollah bombs, and Hezbollah bullets to the head -- that might not feel kindly towards a cease-fire.

Bugger Hezbollah. They've been daring the thunder for too long. Time to dance with the lightning.

And I hope a whole bunch of pissed-off USMC squaddies are waiting to personally nail your wretched little rotten souls to Hell's front gate.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Meditations on tool use.

Gentleman needs to make a phone call, and upon finding his cell-phone discharged, he stops at a Stab-and-Grab to use their outside pay-phone.

During the course of his conversation, he is approached by a Socially Disadvantaged Youth, who proceeds to threaten him with a empty bottle of cheap hooch, while demanding the contents of his wallet.

The gentleman -- now the victim -- being well-schooled by the Liberal Media and Little Sarah "One-Note" Brady, immediately hands over said wallet.

Unfortunately, the wallet did not have enough money contained therein to purchase a sufficient quantity of the recreational pharmaceutical of the critters's choice, so the critter crashed the empty bottle into the victim's temple.

Unlike what you see in Hollywood, the bottle did not break. It did, however, concuss the victim enough to drop him unconscious to the deck, where the critter proceeded to vigorously apply his hundred-dollar set of athletic shoes to the prostrate, helpless victim until such time as he grew bored, and sauntered off.

The victim suffered a concussion, a broken jaw and some broken ribs, but he did survive, in such I would guess that he is lucky.

Even more lucky is the critter.

Each person on this little green dirtball only truly has one weapon. One only.

You can take a knife -- a sword -- a pistol -- or even a tactical nuclear device and none of them are weapons until the wielder of such has the will to use them as such.

There is a snub-nosed Ruger .357 revolver sitting on my desk as I write this. That revolver is not going to do a thing until I use it. It will not save my life, it will not save a third parties life, it will not fire a shot until I make the decision to use it to do so.

My mind, your mind -- that is the only true weapon. Everything else is merely a tool, waiting to be utilized in the fashion that you or I or anyone else chooses.

Unfortunately, a large part of our population does not, can not, and will not understand the whole of this concept.

A large part of our population apparently believes that tools such as knives and firearms are possessed of wills of their own, seeking only to go forth and wreak destruction in obedience to some unnatural will, and thus must be legislated and controlled out of existence for The Safety of All.

These folks are dangerous to every thinking person on this world, but are beneath contempt and will not be discussed at this time.

Others of our population apparently believe that only dedicated tools can be used as a weapon. They are willing to fight when necessary, but only with firearms, or blades. Or with specialized equipment.

These folks have a dangerous weak spot. They will fight, but if they are deprived of his dedicated tool -- either by happenstance or by legislation -- they become lost, because they have either forgotten, or have never known, that the mind is the only weapon.

I do not know whether the victim thought that guns, knives, etc., were evil and refused to carry them, or if he felt that he was not allowed his customary tools, and without them, was helpless.

I do know that the attacker -- the critter -- plainly understood that his mind was the weapon. He understood that a tool used to carry liquid (the wine bottle) could easily be utilized to attack, if he chose.

Why was the critter so lucky?

A score of years ago, there was a young man who was a visitor and a stranger to a certain big city. The name and location of this city are not important, what is important is that the people in this city believed -- or had been convinced -- that certain tools were dangerous. Dangerous, apparently, all of their own volition, and thus had arranged to forbid useful knives and firearms -- even going so far as to ban the mere possession of ammunition without a firearm -- for The Safety Of All.


This young man, as young men will, enjoyed the company of young women, and on this certain occasion escorted a young woman to her home. On this evening, our young man left the home of this lady long after the taxicab that had brought them had departed.

Being youthful, our gentleman decided to walk for a bit, to enjoy the air, so to speak, before seeking a taxi to take him home.

Having walked, our young man found a pay-phone and engaged to call a taxi company, when he was approached by a Socially Disadvantaged Youth, who proceeded to produce a cheap flea-market folding knife and demand the wallet of our young man.

This young man, unlike the gentleman of the beginning of this rumination, ripped the handset and cable from the body of the phone, and then still gripping the handset, whipped the torn end of the dangling metal cable across the face of the critter as hard and as fast as he could, splitting the flesh to the bone.

Using no technique other than that imparted by bloody red fury, the young man lashed the critter twice more across the face and shielding arm with the metal cable before the savagely injured critter managed to flee.

Anything you have is a tool. How you use that tool is up to that weapon between your ears.

Had the first gentleman in the story known this, understood this, and accepted this, it is likely that his attacker would be seriously injured, maimed, or dead now.

Which is the only proper and correct response to brigandage in a sane and just world.



Geek humor

This may (or may not) come as a surprise to some of my Gentle Readers, but I was (am) a terrible RPG geek.

No, not (R)ocket (P)ropelled (G)renades -- although those are fun, too -- (R)ole (P)laying (G)ames.

Yes. I have played AD&D. And thoroughly enjoyed it, I might add. (Forgotten Realms rules!)

Haven't developed a taste for the on-line stuff like Everquest or World of Warcraft, though. No room for improvising, adapting and overcoming in the rigid computer-generated worlds.

Anyhoo, somebody sent me a link to a bunch of Motivational Posters for RPG Geeks. There's some stuff in there for you computer gaming types, too.



Saturday, July 22, 2006

Quick, before she comes to her senses!

Lady Tam has posted the famed Secret Photo of TFL, THR and GlockTalk legend!


I freely admit to be one of those lucky few who actually saved that photo to hard-drive when Tam first posted it at GlockTalk. Over the years since then, I've actually been offered money for a copy.

Never took anyone up on the offer, though. Mostly because I am too fond of my friend Tamara, but also because I try (darn it) to be a gentleman. Occasionally.

(The fact that Tam has a better arsenal than several Third World militaries may have also played a small role in risk assessment.)

Lovely as you were then, Tam, you're even more stunning now. Don't ever forget that.


Friday, July 21, 2006


I was mildly startled to learn that the ever-practical shemagh apparently has become the latest haute couture for fashion trend-setters.

You know, I kind of figured that the Squeals and the Fakers would have adopted the uber-tactical shemagh first, but apparently Paris, New York and Hollywood beat them to it.

For those of you who may not be up on commando or Middle Eastern wear, the shemagh is a square of two-colour cotton cloth running just shy of four feet to a side.

The SAS has been wearing them since WWII, and our boys -n- girls on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq are learning just how handy this piece of gear is.

Since us boys inherited Mom's pale skin, light eyes and red hair (hell, vampires think we got a raw deal when is comes to harsh sunlight) whenever Dad was assigned to a desert contract, extended visits away from the shelter of buildings always involved carrying at least one of these scarves each -- just in case.

When I hit my teenage years, I was fascinated to discover that if I wore a fully-wrapped shemagh, aviator glasses and gloves, when I walked through a souq (market), people acted radically different around me than when I walked through as an obvious Westerner.

I had known that they would, of course, I just hadn't realized how extensive the difference would be. Fun days.

Right now, I probably have half-a-dozen (or more) of these scarves around the house and vehicles.

And now, the fashionistas have adopted it -- only they're calling it a keffiyah -- and I get the feeling they're wearing them more as a political statement than because of utility and comfort. Something about them expressing solidarity with Palestine and Iraq.


Should I break the news to them that they're also expressing solidarity with the British SAS, who started wearing the shemagh in WWII -- five or so years before there was an Israel for the Palestinians to get their knickers in a knot over -- or that they're expressing solidarity with the troopies on the dirt in the Middle East (who are finding the shemagh just as handy now as I found it during my stays in the same region Many Moons Ago)?

Nah. Let the moonbats have their illusions. The Real World is going to shatter those illusions sooner-or-later, and who am I to get in the way?


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Run that by me again?

You're going to do what?

*blink, blink*

You know, I get the feeling that they really haven't thought this one through, yet.

While giving every American citizen of African descent an additional citizenship in Africa as an incentive to jump-start African economies, the Unintended Consequences might not be the most helpful thing in the world.

Sooner or later someone (a lawyer) is going to point out one of the supposed advantages of dual-citizenship: embassies, and lack of extradition treaties.

As a creative articulation, let us discuss Bob Wilson. Mr. Wilson has fallen afoul of the law. Hypothetically speaking, say that Mr. Wilson has had a lucrative recreational pharmaceutical distribution business, and that he has been careless enough in his day-to-day activities as to draw the attention of the local Narcotics Task Force.

Silly Bob.

Now, discovering that the Minions of the Law have a warrant with Mr. Wilson's name prominently mentioned in their hot little paws, and him with an allergy to steel bars and soya-meat, Mr. Wilson decides that an extended stay at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is to be avoided at all costs.

Now, 22 years earlier, the parents of Mr. Wilson were on vacation in West Graustarkia when Mama Nature decided that it was time for the Wilsons to become parents.

Mother and Father Wilson, being citizens of the United States, young Bobbie is automatically a citizen of the U.S. of A. Yet, because he entered this wonderful little world at the Little Sisters of Mercy First Aid Station and Falafel Diner, Bobbie Wilson is also a citizen of West Graustarkia.

Bless his heart.

Fast forward 22 years. Mr. Wilson, hearing the heavy trod of size 11 brogans coming up the front steps, promptly hauls tail for New York, plonks his butt down in the front office of the West Graustarkia Consular Mission to the United States and yelps: "I am a Graustarkian citizen, here is my birth certificate, and I seek asylum."

In Hollywood, steely-eyed officers will throw (perfectly understandable, yet edgily dramatic) fits of rage at the thought of Mr. Wilson safely behind the walls of a country with no extradition treaty with the United States. Somber music (or cutting-edge techno/rock/hip-hop, depending on the series) will play, funky camera angles will be used to accentuate flaring nostrils and clenched jaws, and much will be made of the anguish of the lawmen, foiled in their Pursuit of Justice by a loophole in International Law, so on and so forth, amen.

In real life, LawDog researches West Graustarkia, discovers that West Graustarkia observes Islamic sharia law and the possession of any amounts of dope is punished by flogging and/or removal of body parts and/or extended stays in a Third World prison unless the proper bribes are kept up.

Which will be difficult due to all of Bob's assets having been seized or frozen, leaving him without the financial means to bribe a waiter into giving him a glass of water.

In real life, the only throwing will be the Goodbye Party where the Sheriff will ceremoniously write: Someone Elses Problem upon the file of Mr. Bob Wilson.

Those of us who are sober enough after the party might even gather at the airport to giggle and wave good-bye to the airplane carrying Mr. Wilson to his new country.


Oh, well. They didn't ask my thoughts on the matter. Should be interesting to watch, though.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Aw, nuts.

Those of my Gentle Readers who have met me in the paint usually notice that I've got a blackthorn walking stick somewhere about my person.

I started carrying it in 1994 after a minor matter of zagging when zigging was the correct option rendered me hors de combat for a couple of weeks; during said recovery period I came to the conclusion that there were more than a few times when it behooved a gentleman to carry a weapon firmly in paw, so to speak.

Unfortunately, Texas etiquette tends to frown upon the practice of appearing in public places with a pistol super-glued to your right paw. In addition there are occasional times when violence -- or the display of the capability of violence -- is necessary, but sticking a blade into the other guy or putting two 9mm's betwixt his running lights is a bit excessive.

During my recovery period I spent a great deal of time gimping about on a cane, and I was struck one day by the fact that there are no laws rendering the carry of canes or walking sticks verboten.

I had already done a little training in European and Filipino stick-fighting, and had taken multiple law enforcement baton classes. These were rounded out with a couple of seminars in hanbo-jitsu, a little WWII combative stick training and voila! I had myself a very discrete, very effective weapon that could be openly carried anytime I felt the need.

On top of which, I discovered that one can stand with a walking stick in such a manner as to cause various sub-groups of the Societally Challenged to rethink their intentions, without causing Suzy Soccermommy to run down the street in a blind panic, screaming "OhMyGawdhehasaGUN!" every other step.

Which sounds catastrophic only if you've never had the pleasure of experiencing the Standard Sheeple Response to you not unsheathing a knife as discretely as one might wish.

I carried my blackthorn when the State of New Jersey ordered me to stow my sidearm and not retrieve it until after I had left the State, it has accompanied me during tours of a couple of government facilities where I was cordially relieved of my knife(s) and pistol, and I have carried through more than a couple of post-9/11 TSA checkpoints without so much as a raised eyebrow.

While it has served more than adequately in a scuffle or three, it has also served quite well as an emergency splint, a window-breaker, a brace, a leverage tool, a reach extender, a dog dissuader, and -- believe it or not -- as a walking aid.

Friends of mine have borrowed it post-knee-surgery, and others have used it during short-term hikes in the Wichita Mountains.

Handy little thing.

Unfortunately I think I've just cracked it.


Damn it.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I'm not one...

...who's real big on Government interference in private lives.

Matter-of-fact, more often than not, adding Government to a situation makes it worse.

The less regulation and less interference, the better off everyone will be.

However, I'm starting to think that there should be some kind of registration and training for bearing offspring. Might not be a bad idea to require a license to get pregnant. Maybe a college degree or something.

Lady calls 911 and yelps that she needs an officer to her house for an emergency RIGHT NOW, and then hangs up. Dispatcher attempts to call back result in no answer.

Officer goes flying out to the house, hoping for the best, planning for the worst; supervisor is on the way for back-up, but is some distance out.

Officer gets to house, finds the woman and her teenage daughter on the back porch.

Officer kinds of sneaks up, woman sees him, yelps that she's glad to see him, then gestures to her daughter and announces that he Needs To Do Something.

Officer responds that this is what he is here for, but could someone, perhaps, clue him in on what, exactly, is happening?

Mama says that he needs Do Something about her daughter.

Officer ventures that he would be glad to, if only he had some more information to go on.

Mother says that daughter is throwing up, and gives the officer a Significant Look.

Officer adds Teenager plus Throwing Up and, being slightly old-fashioned, thinks it equals Pregnant. Officer gently opines that maybe an ambulance is more along the lines of what is required here.

Mama non-verbally broadcasts that the officer is an idiot of the first water, and explains that her daughter is throwing up after meals. Seeing the look of puzzlement and incomprehension cross the face of the officer, Mother irritatedly announces that her daughter has anorexia. (The "you moron" went unsaid.)

The old attic light finally clicks on, but the officer fails to see why the services of a tax-payer-funded knuckle-dragger are required to handle a non-violent medical problem, and repeats the offer of an ambulance, or maybe the number for a counselor-type-person, usually located in the Yellow Pages.

Mother angily snaps that she doesn't need an ambulance, what she needs is for the officer to tell the teenager that if she makes herself throw up again, he will take her to jail.

*blink, blink*

This ranks as one of the most -- if not the most -- stupid thing I have heard in my entire 13 year law enforcement career. And that is saying something.

It is one Damned Good Thing that Your Humble Scribe was not the responding officer, because the County Attorney would be kvetching to the Sheriff about me stacking charges again.

Why is this person breeding? Can anyone tell me?

Where the hell would someone get the idea that threatening an anorexic child with jail is the best course of action? Where the hell would you get the faintest glimmer of the notion that this is a problem that needs police involvement in any way?

This ... I ... How the ... You thought ... Just ...


WTF, over?

This is one that I really can't add anything to. I mean, what can I say? There aren't sufficient words in the English language to properly express myself.

That poor child.

Sweet Shivering Shiva.


108 degrees and counting.

Ye Gods and little fishies.


Two ounces of white rum
One lime
One teaspoon powdered sugar
Four to eight mint leaves
Club soda
Crushed ice

Dump your mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of your glass. Mash the leaves and stir them into the sugar pretty well (called 'muddling').

Fill the glass with crushed ice, add your rum and squeeze that lime mercilessly over the rum. Drop the battered remains of the lime into the glass.

Top with club soda, stir, add a sprig of mint for sophistication.

Voila! The Mojito. Enjoy under air conditioning.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Ah feel, Ah say, Ah feel faint.

You know, attacks of 'the vapours' are cute the first couple of times they get sprung on you. After that, they're just annoying.

President Bush, while attending the closing meal of the G-8 summit, during what he thought was a private moment, told Brit PM Tony Blair -- and I quote: "See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s*** and it's over."

Pretty accurate assessment of the situation, methinks.

Oh My Suffering Gawd. The sheer number of (metaphorical ... I think) fluttering fans, wrists pressed to foreheads and artful swoonings that followed this pithy comment through the Main Stream Media and into Blogland has been...


And I say this as the proud son of a Southern Belle. Hell, my grandmother is still a Southern Belle, as are my sister, cousins, aunts, nieces and I still wonder about that one uncle.

I swear to God, I watched two reporters tip-toeing around, trying to get across to the viewers that the President of the United States used a shocking word -- without using that word.

Judas Tap-Dancing Priest! Just say, "Bleep!" You've been doing it for years, we'll get the point.

And then it hit BlogWorld.


Someone get me a vat of smelling salts, before I lose my ever-loving mind. Pass 'em around and be generous.

"The President used an expletive!" Artful sag onto chaise-lounge.

"I remember when American Presidents used diplomacy, instead of profanity." Wrist pressed to back of over-heated forehead.

"We're sooooooo embarrassed." Frantic flutter of hands.

"Cursing like trailer trash." Wow, I haven't seen fan work like that since the last time Gone With The Wind hit TNT. Way to go, pseudo-Scarlett.

I can't believe that the same people who made Deadwood a runaway hit series are honestly going to get their Hanes into a half-hitch because one frustrated man, during what he thought was a private conversation, said, "s***."

Pull on your cowgirl panties and deal with it.

Listen up: Rockets are exploding in major cities in Israel. That's 'rockets', note the plural. Artillery is hammering large parts of Lebanese real estate into something strongly resembling the face of the moon. People are dying. They're dying slowly, quickly, painfully, shockingly, quietly, in public, in private.

Good men are dying. Bad men are dying. Women. Children. Innocents. Sinners. Dying.

And you're outraged because your President said, "...stop doing this s*** and it's over"???

You need to get your sodding priorities in order. There are plenty of other things to be ashamed/embarrasssed/shocked about.

This penny-ante melodramatic bulls*** is getting old.


Well, hello there.

I'd like to thank the folks over at Lone Star They linked to my little site on Sunday, and my stats went right through the roof.

Many thanks, y'all. I appreciate it.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

That. Is annoying

One of the sprogs had her sixth birthday party today, and her parents decided to have it at the city pool.

Nice idea, and everyone seemed to have a good time, but during the festivities, I noticed a phenomenon that is really beginning to annoy the crap out of me.

Apparently, when you rent the city pool, you get a city lifeguard as part of the package.

I assume that this woman has a face, but that would be a guess on my part because I never, ever saw it.

I don't even know if the woman has eyes or not, because she spent the whole frickin' deployment with a cell-phone stuck to her ear. On top of which, she seems to to have difficulties with multi-tasking, because talking into the phone grafted to her ear seemed possible to accomplish only while she was staring at her toes.

Now, given the number of medical professionals and public-safety-type folks present, if a yard-ape had experimented with water-breathing as a possible alternative life function, Ms. Lifeguard would have been dead-arse last in the pack even if she had been paying attention, but that isn't the bloody point.

The point is that not only was she drawing a paycheck to be a lifeguard -- not to be Chatty Cathy -- but accepting that paycheck also means she voluntarily took on a set of responsiblities and obligations.

I don't care if you are the multi-tasking Queen of the Briny Deep, godsdammit: LOOK ALERT.

Had a three year-old running around who is apparently missing the fear chromosome, 'cause there weren't nothing this little darlin' wouldn't try, by God. Been hitting the Big Kids Water Slide from the word go.

But she's also been wearing a set of water wings the entire time I was there.

Towards the end of the party, the little sprat heads up the slide, only this time she's not wearing the wings.

And there's Little Miss Cell-Phone, about ten feet away, never looks up from her toes, never takes the cell-phone out of her ear, nothing, not even when the water-wingless bairn shot off the end of the slide and into the water.

Granted, there was a teenager there to do the catching and all, but is it asking too much TO BLOODY WELL GIVE A FLYING FLING?

Dare To Care, dammit. At least, do me the favour of pretending like you give a warm bucket of rat expectorant, because, you know, YOU'RE GETTING PAID TO.

After all, you're only, like, GUARDING LIVES.

I could be lifeguarding the pool at the International Life Guard Association Annual Splash Meet, and even though every-flaming-body there could be multiple years more experienced than me, I'd still be heads-up, eyes-bright and all professional looking.

Because that's what I'd be getting PAID FOR.

And it's not just this lifeguard. Everywhere I go, people with important jobs seem to be more interested in yacking on their sodding cellphones than in doing what they're getting a paycheck for.

School crossing guards: Yackity, yackity, yackity.

Store check-out clerks: Yick, yick, yick.

Suzy Soccer-Mom, behind the tiller of the USS Plymouth Nimitz, going down the Interstate at 80 EmPeeAitch, jacking her jaws into the bloody cell-phone.

Judas Tap-Dancing Priest. I have this incredible urge to get a nail-gun, and start nailing cell-phones to ears.

You! Yes, you! Put down the fecking cell-phone and PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU'RE DOING, before I take away the cell-phone and shove it so far up your tuchkiss that the antennae will tickle your sodding sinuses, am I clear on this?



Saturday, July 15, 2006

Meditations on old vices.

Absinthe is making a comeback, due in no small part to the power of the Internet.

For those of my readers who are somewhat less-worldly, absinthe is a drink containing a kick-in-the-pants alcohol level, along with an impressive amount and variety of herbal additives. One of those herbs being wormwood.

A significant percentage of the wormwood is a complex chemical substance called thujone. Thujone is poisonous. Matter-of-fact, it's a neurotoxin. How-some-ever, ingested in amounts under the lethal dose, thujone has some ... interesting ... effects. Some people see things. Others understand the universe. Stuff like that.

Now, wormwood is a wee bit problematical. Too little and you don't get the effect. Too much...well, it is a poison. A properly brewed absinthe will have the wormwood balanced against the alcohol, so that you will pass out (or wind up with alcohol poisoning) before you get a dangerous dose of thujone.

Absinthe is also usually green -- not just any green, mind you, but luminescent emerald green. It also tastes strongly of bitter licorice. The colour and the bitterness have led to a ritual involved in the preparation of the drink using sugar and water, which leads to an interesting effect.

There are two methods for putting your sugar and water into your absinthe. The first is the classic French method, in which a sugar cube is placed in a slotted spoon balanced across the top of your glass. You then pour cold water on the cube, dissolving it and mixing it into the absinthe.

The second method probably doesn't seem have any basis in historical fact, but since it involves fire, some of the younger, more macho types prefer it.

You place the sugar in the spoon across the top of your glass, and dribble a bit of absinthe onto the sugar. You then set the sugar on fire, and when it is caramelized to your liking, you pour the water over the flaming sugar, dousing the fire, dissolving the sugar, and watering the drink.

Unfortunately, absinthe generally runs about 60-80% alcohol by volume. One little 'whoopsie' with your fire, and you just became the evenings pyrotechnic entertainment. So, the French method tends to be the most popular.

Either way, the interesting effect mentioned above happens when the water hits the absinthe. Oils and esthers present in the drink then precipitate out, forming a colliodal suspension and turning the absinthe from a clear green resembling liquid peridot, to a cloudy, opaque green, strongly reminiscent of milky jade.

Kind of neat to see.

Absinthe has long been associated with madness -- the 'seeing devils' kind of madness -- so it has long been unlawful in various countries. However, since absinthe never really caught on in the United States the first time around, the good old U.S. of A. didn't get around to passing a whole lot of laws against it, and it never got the stigma of madness here that it gained in Europe.

You should, of course, check the laws in your locality, rather than depend on me, if you decide that absinthe is the stuff for you.

Recently the Europeans passed laws regulating the amount of thujone present, and passed strict licensing requirements upon makers of absinthe, leading to a fairly decent absinthe revival in parts of Europe.

Given the Internet, and FedEx/UPS/DHL, absinthe has been cropping up here and there, including recently in rural Texas.


Caveat Emptor, folks, if you're buying your absinthe off the Internet, be aware that some unscrupulous types will take a barrel of mouthwash, soak a panty-hose full of various candies and kitchen spices in it for a while, then bottle it and sell it to you as Genuine Absinthe at Genuine Absinthe prices -- they get about 1000% profit, and you get a bottle of licorice-flavoured mouthwash.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Ratel, the End.

What is it with mothers? They ask you if you're okay, and when you say, "Yes" they go ahead and check you anyway. A process, I might add, that is exasperating enough in private, never mind in front of two soldiers and a ratel.

"Nice badger, boys," said Dad meditatively.

"Boss," yelped Azikiwe, plaintively, "Na picken, dey go too far!" Once started, he launched into an extensive whinge about the misfortunes and evils that my brother and I were, according to him, solely responsible for.

Due to the rising volume of the screech, I have never been actually sure if the growl came from the ratel, or my mother, who had picked up a lump of dirt the size of a large coconut, and was gauging both the weight and possible trajectories involving Azikiwe's head with a professional eye, but it caused my father to raise a regal finger at Azikiwe and murmur, "I am thinking."

Azikiwe hushed and hung from his banana tree trunk, with only an occasional whine from him and happy snarl from the ratel to disturb Dad's ruminations as he ambled around the scene.

Finally he paused by the two bodyguards, who had abandoned their tussle in the dirt when my parents had arrived. "Ah, soldiers," said Dad, as if they were a mild surprise, "You are well?"

Both men jumped to their feet and whipped off snappy salutes, "Yes, sah! We are well! And yourself?"

Somewhat abstractedly, Dad replied, "Fine, fine. I need two fine soldiers. Are you two such soldiers?"

Snappy salutes again. "Sah, yes, sah!"

Dad patted each one on the back, "Good. Go with madam. Honey, I think we're going to need a wooden crate."

Mom fired a last glare at Azikiwe, dropped the dirt boulder and dusted off her hands, "Two by two by four, dear?"

"Sounds about right."

"I'll bring the range rover back here, too. Less distance."

"Good, good. Tom, go to the kitchen, look in the pantry and bring me the oldest bottle of ginger beer you can find."


"All right, boys, let's see what we have here..."

In short order, we had threaded rope through slits cut in the top of the peanut sack, and with the aid of bamboo poles, had worked the sack into position just below the ratel.

Dad looked around. The ropes and poles were held by a soldier on either side of the pit; Mom and Tom were standing beside a wooden ammo crate with the lid held at ready; Chris and I were safely on top of the roof of the Range Rover; and Azikiwe and the ratel still had deathgrips on their respective items.

Dad worked a church-key under the cap of the bottle of Mom's home-brewed-ginger-beer-from-Sheol he was holding, popped the cap off and put his thumb over the top.

Sniffing reflectively, Dad shook the hell out of the bottle, then leaned forward and slipped his thumb off the lip -- directing a jet of highly-pressurized, highly-spiced ginger-beer into the face of the startled honey-badger.

You know, ratels are some of the toughest critters on Mother Natures little green dirtball, but there are some things that they just aren't prepared for.

I don't know if he was going to snort, sneeze, snap or spew, but whatever was on his mind, he wound up turning loose of Brigadier-Captain Azikiwe's left ham.

Which caused him to drop quite neatly into the burlap peanut sack, his weight drawing the sack closed just as slick as a coin purse.

Dad reached out and grabbed the top of the sack just as claws appeared through the burlap at the bottom and flipped both ratel and sack into the crate, where Mom and Tom slammed the lid down, and Mom jumped up on top of the lid for good measure while Tom worked packing straps around box and lid.

"Out of the hole, Brigadier-Captain," said Dad.

"Oh, boss. I am pained too, too much."

"Suit yourself," murmured my father, while Tom and the soldiers, under the direction of my mother, heaved the snarling, rocking crate into the back of the Range Rover.

"Boss?" said the pit.

"Tom, can you watch the kids for a bit?" asked Mom, "The tea is still fresh and the paper is only about a week old."

"Boss," stated the trap.

"Be glad to," assured Tom.

"Dad! We're going to send it to Gerald Durrell!"

Dad tapped his forehead gently with two fingers, "I forgot. Dear?"

Mom found a marker pen in the glovebox of the Range Rover, and very precisely printed:

Gerald Durrell
General Delivery


on the side of the cursing wooden crate. Then she and Dad climbed into the truck and started the engine.

"Boss!" yelped the tiger trap.

You know, I have nagging doubts about whether she and Dad actually took the ratel to the Lagos Post Office and mailed it, or whether they drove it out into the bush and set it free. We never, ever received a thank you note from Mr. Durrell, which did seem a bit out of character for the man.

"DEVIL CHILDREN!" shrieked the pit in the voice of Brigadier-Captain Azikiwe, as we bounded off to show Tom the plans for a broom-firing ballista, and did Tom think he could get his hands on some one-inch rope?