Friday, May 30, 2008

Astra Inclinant, Non Necessitant

Early this week, somebody popped up with the idea that some of us should write an article about one particular theme and post it on Friday. Lady Tam, Stingray, Labrat, and Marko have their posts up, as does the originator of this theme, MattG.

Unfortunately, AD's new job has stomped a mudhole in his Muse's butt and walked it dry. Ah, well.

I guess I can't let the team down, so let's make with the brainstorming on astrology!


Way back when dirt was still new -- despite what Hollywood will tell you -- ol Thag and Og didn't have wristwatches. Worse still, there wasn't exactly a corner bookstore to pop into for the grabbing of a handy calendar.

Without a calendar one day looks very much like the next -- especially if any change from day to day is veeerrrryyyy slow and minute. This leads to such faux pas as planting your last remaining kernels of wheat on the first warm day of the year -- not realizing that said day is actually Jan 2.

So, here's Thag and Og, embracing the suck, when one of them (probably Og, he always struck me as the smarter of the two) noticed that when the sun came up over the horizon about where that cluster of sparkly bits that looked a lot like Nog kissing a woolly mammoth hung out -- well, it didn't get any colder after that. And you could plant things and not have them freeze!

This led to two traits of the human personality that are so widespread I firmly believe that they are encoded in human DNA:

1) The urge to help his fellow anthropoids ... by telling them
when the best time for planting that precious store of wheat -- to tremendous agricultural success -- co-existing with;

2) The realization that Knowledge. Is. Power
-- and not spilling the beans on how he knew this arcane knowledge.

As soon as everyone figures out that the Ogster was jolly well right -- well Ol' Og had it made in the shade. Everyone who planted anything gave him a little off the top to keep him happy and to keep the knowledge flowing -- and Og was rolling in profit without having to actually do very darned much of anything.

I'm betting that one of Og's litter was probably the one who noticed that other significant times of the year could be predicted by keeping the old hairy eyeball on the Sun and seeing which group of stars it was rising in -- as far back as 2,000 BC.

Folks are seeing Og IXth and boy howdy, does he know everything. When to plant. When to harvest. When the first snows are due. When the river will flood. When the herds start migrating. You need to know the stuff that will keep the tribe fed (and tribal leaders out of the stew-pot) you go to Og the Ninth, slip him a little somethin' somethin' -- a rabbit, a new pot, a stylin' hat -- he goes and stares at the stars for a while, next day he gives you the info.

And thus religion is born.

Well, the stars -- being up so high and all -- they must see everything. They must know more than Oggy asks for, so sooner or later someone comes up to Og the Ninth and asks him something that has absolutely nothing -- at all -- to do with the calendar. Do the stars know if that cute little Cro-Magnon in the rabbit bikini likes me? Do the stars know if Thag the 14th is mine, or does he belong to the mammoth milk man? Do the stars know if I'm going to get eaten by a sabretooth tomorrow?

Now, Og's ninth great-grandson may not have answered a question of this nature the first time -- ethics were making some kind of appearance about that time -- so the hopeful askee probably went away then came back with double the offering. And maybe sweetened it with a bit of that shiny yellow metal from the river. And Oggy says, "Oh, what the hell" and slings together some bushwa star reading to earn the dosh and make the sucker petitioner feel better about things.

Next thing you know, Og 9 is making a hell of a lot more from the bushwa side readings as he is from the legitimate stuff. Enough so that the Ogster hauls off and hires a couple of likely-looking rascals acolytes, trains them in the business -- just to keep up with demand, you understand -- and next thing you know, astrology is every-bloody-where.

Astrology really hits its stride during the Babylonian era, when you couldn't even blow your nose without having a star-chart read to make sure your brains weren't going to depart your head by way of a sinus.

Well, the Egyptian priests noticed that their Babylonian brethren were raking in the moolah and they decided to hop onto this whole "star-chart thingummy" -- which jumped their whole "power and influence" thing a good bit -- enough to get the attention of those little Greek buggers.

And things just kind of exploded from there.

Once the Greeks had astrology, they spread it thick and far amongst the nations on the shores of the Med. Any place that didn't whole-heartedly embrace the Greek idea of divination by way of the stars, got the whole concept rammed down their throats by the Greek-worshipping Romans and their
very efficient legions.

The Greeks and Romans codified the art of astrology and attempted to turn it into a half-arsed science, managing to spread it to the Indian sub-continent and then back to a very young, very vibrant Islamic Empire in the 7th Century.

European interest in astrology declined severely prior to the 1700's until the late 1800's - early 1900's when astrology became seen as a mysterious, naughty bit of occultism -- achieving its current height of popularity in the 1930's -- when Og's ggggggg-great grandchild discovered that you can still make a nice bit of dosh in the old family business (if you sell to newspapers or buy a 1-900 number).

Voila! A quick and dirty Guide To The History of Astrology!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Life ... is not a sodding gameshow.

In the category of News What Hacks You Off, we learn of the wonderful case of Alex Barton.

It seems that young Alex -- all of five years old -- may be suffering from a developmental disorder. A disorder which may be responsible for his acting up in his kindergarten class.

Or it may be the plain and simple fact that he's a boy, he's five, and he's going to act up.


I'm not sure if this news story is symptomatic of the national obsession with stupid shows, or if it's symptomatic of the Liberal obsession with everyone being equal, but either way it's really twisting me off.

Apparently Morningside Elementary School is having some sudden, completely unexpected, problems with their web-page, but thank Freyja for Google and their Cache function: Google Cache Morningside Elementary School.

Anyhoo, Ms. Wendy Portillo -- the alleged adult and purported leader of this class of kindergarteners -- appears to have gotten annoyed with Alex's acting up.

Seems to me that since Morningside is on a traditional schedule, Ms. Portillo should not only have been used to Alex by now, but aware that she only had to grit her teeth for a couple of more weeks for the school year to be over and Alex gone from her class.

Seems that I would be wrong.

According to news reports, Ms. Portillo apparently decided that the best way to discipline a five-year-old boy who may possibly have a case of Asperger's Syndrome was to call him to the head of the class and then have each and every one of his five-year-old classmates announce what they didn't like about him.

Since being called "disgusting" by kindergarteners with the approval of their teacher wasn't enough -- apparently -- Ms. Portillo then called upon each student to vote Alex -- all of five years old -- out of class.

Let us allow that one to sink in, shall we?

14 five-year-olds voted him off the island out of class and two voted for him to stay.

I don't know which is worse:

That Ms Portillo has apparently decided that her elementary school class is actually an episode of
'Survivor'; or

That Ms. Portillo has apparently decided that FIVE YEAR OLD CHILDREN are emotionally and mentally mature enough to have an equal say with her on the punitive removal of a FIVE YEAR OLD classmate.

Words fail me. They really do.

I see that the school district has removed Ms. Portillo from "classroom duties". That's nice. Really.

Sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander and all that, I propose that Ms. Portillo be called in front of an assembly of all students at Morningside and have them voice their opinions of her, before voting on whether her teaching certificate should be torn up in front of her nose and herself horsewhipped from the school campus.

But that's just me.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Michael Yon's camera says it best.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Requiscat in Pacem

Robert Lynn Asprin
28 JUN 1946 to 22 MAY 2008

Army vet, author, early Society for Creative Anachronism participant (under the name "Yng the Nauseating"), and Master of the Pun.

I learned of Robert Asprin when I picked up a Phil Foglio illustrated copy of the "Myth" series, but it was not until I discovered "Time Scout" -- a book he co-authored with Linda Evans -- that I became a true fan.

It wasn't just that one of the antagonists in the series is the mass of arbitrary bureaucracy catchily named "the Bureau of Access to Time Functions" (BATF), nor the common-sense view of guns -- although those didn't hurt any -- it was his ability to make history interesting and alive that caught my eye.

Of course, the slyly wicked quotes that opened each chapter of his "Myth" series are classics in their own right. Some of my personal favourites from Mr. Asprin:

"To function efficiently, any group of people or employees must have faith in their leader." - Capt Bligh (ret.)

"Careful planning is the key to safe and swift travel." - Ulysses

"With the proper consideration in choice of allies, victory may be guaranteed in any conflict." - B. Arnold

"Numerical superiority is of no consequence. In battle, victory will go to the best tactician" - G.A. Custer

"What is this, a Chinese fire drill?" - Sun Tzu

"...and then the fun began." - N. Bonaparte

"Superior firepower is an invaluable tool when entering into negotiations." - G. Patton

Rest in peace, sir.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We have a Class III Beverage Alert!

Today's epic kicking over of Ye Olde Giggle Box is courtesy of Cranky Professor.

Be sure to read the included links for maximum effectiveness.

For the duration of this Class III Beverage Alert, be warned:

1) Place all beverages, finger foods, and small fluffy animals out of reach until you have finished that post; and

2) It contains PG13 subject matter.

You have been warned.

We now return you to your regular blog reading.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Meditations on paper armour

I'm fond of paper.

A single sheet of paper can hold ideas, hopes, dreams; it can carry a song, orders, love; it can recall history, bear witness when none are left and it can serve as the base of art for bairns as well as their great-grandsires.

Many folks name the invention of the printing press as a foundation stone of human civilization -- but what is the use of a printing press with no paper to work with?

For all of it's utility and history, though, there is one area in which paper is sorely lacking:

It makes lousy armour.

Oh, I'm sure there are fantastic suits of
papier-mâché hauberks using fabled Oriental Death Bamboo paper and sacred Tibetan yak lacquer -- but let us cast our gaze upon a single sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 paper.

Let us further stipulate that it is of a good, heavy kind of paper -- quality stuff -- say, 32 lb paper. Pretty, is it not?

We shall hang this sheet of paper from something. A clothesline, maybe, or a door frame. Something that will hold the paper at the top and at the bottom, yet allow some room behind the paper.

Now, flick a hand at the paper and see how much force it takes to tear through it. A simple pass of the fingers, I'd wager. Nothing as vigorous as a baseball bat, or a fireplace poker, surely.

If you were to lay a similar sheet of paper -- flat, as it is meant to be read -- upon someone's cheek and then slap that cheek with all of your strength ... would it absorb the blow? Would an 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper cause the impact to hurt less?

How about a punch? Would a sheet of paper -- or two sheets, or three -- laid upon your stomach turn the trauma of a punch? A kick?

Does anyone think a sheet of paper will stop a kitchen knife, or a bullet?


Let us change the exercise a bit. Take a new sheet of paper, then rummage around and find your very favourite pen. With this most wonderful of writing instruments, I want you to write two words upon the pristine white surface of this sheet of paper.

The first word shall be, "RESTRAINING", and just below that, write the word, "ORDER". Just those two words. If those two words are not to your liking, you may substitute the words, "PEACE" and "BOND", the former above the latter.

As you admire your penmanship, I urge you to contemplate how much those two words change the ability of that sheet of paper to stop slaps. To absorb punches. If this single sheet of paper was held in front of your stomach, would it stop a kick?

Not so much?

Take this sheet of paper and add columns of section signs (§) here and there, write "In The Name Of The State of Texas" to the top, scribble a judge's name somewhere near the bottom.

How about now? Has the paper now suddenly become magical? Will you now trust this sheet of paper to stop a baseball bat aimed for your face -- because it has writing upon it?


Paper makes rotten armour, no matter how many inked symbols it holds.

And when it comes down to you and a critter, in a deserted parking lot in the afternoon; or a busy office at brunch; or your living room at midnight, at bad-breath distances -- that's all your ex parte restraint order or your peace bond is ... or even your Protective Order -- it is merely a piece of paper.

Oh, I hear you now: "LawDog, if I have a valid Protective Order, and the critter violates it, he goes to jail!"

Yes. He does. Remember, however, that when he does that violating, you have to be able to contact the men with guns to come help you. And then they have to come to you from wherever they are at the time you call. Until they get there, if the only thing you've got is that piece of paper ...

Well, as we've seen, paper just doesn't make decent armour at all.

Gentle Readers, nothing says, "Protected" quite like a Protective Order in one paw backed up by a self-defence tool in your other and the mindset and willingness to use it behind your eyes.

Stay safe.


Monday, May 12, 2008


Man walks into a pet store in Austin and is looking around when he spots a chimpanzee in a cage marked, "$1000". Man looks a little closer and discovers that the chimpanzee is wearing a tie and a hat and is twirling a set of handcuffs around his finger.

Curious, the man summons the shopkeeper and asks him what the deal is with this thousand-dollar monkey.

Shopkeeper says, "Sir! You have discovered our Police Monkeys! This one is our basic Patrol version. It's got a TCLEOSE Basic certification; can fire 'Expert' with a Glock, Remington 870, or an AR15; knows the Penal Code and Traffic Code by heart and is up-to-date on Cultural Diversity and Active Shooter Response. Very good value for a thousand dollars!"

The man is suitable impressed and moves to the next cage, which is occupied by a gorilla -- also wearing a hat and tie, but is gnawing on a pen instead of the handcuffs. The price on this one is $5000. Shopkeeper exclaims, "Ah, sir! You have discovered the Sergeant model! This one has a TCLEOSE Advanced certification, is capable of training any other monkeys in basic firearms skills, mechanics of arrest, physical training, investigation and small unit tactics! It can even type! Very good value for five thousand, sir!"

Impressed, the man moves to the next cage.

Inside, he finds an orangutan, dressed in the same hat and tie as the others, but holding a coffee cup.

"What does this one do that he's worth $12,000?" asks the man.

The shopkeeper clears his throat, "Ah, sir, well .... we've never actually seen him do anything, but he says that he's a lieutenant."


This one's probably only funny to my cop readers.


Oh, well.


Friday, May 09, 2008

They did what?!

Every once in a while, folks will gently chide me about my stories. I have been told that some of my scribbles stretch credulity a bit.


I tell you that my stories are no more than normal.

For instance, I have yet to run into anything like this.

In case that link collapses, it is to the story of three Houston teens who casually desecrated the ninety-year-old grave of a child so they could modify the skull into a bong and smoke their marijuana out of it.

A copy of the PC affidavit for the arrest may be found here.

Makes my critter tales seem down-right inspirational, doesn't it?


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Depressing thought for the day

Mission Creep: The expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial success...

Scooted out to the west to go fishing this morning. It's kind of broken country out that way, some ups and downs, not a whole lot of choices in your radio listening pleasure.

Wound up listening to a whole lot of political radio. Actually, what we listened to, was a whole lot of people running their yaps regarding what their chosen variety of poison presidential candidate was "going to do for America".

About the third time someone mentioned "Obama", "Clinton", McCain", "service" and "the American Public" Chris turned to me and said -- probably channeling Will Rogers -- "Isn't 'service' what a bull does to a cow?"


I love my brother.

Article II of the Constitution of the United States defines, enables and empowers the Office of the President.

Section 1 of Article II defines how we elect a President, who may be elected, who gets to be President if the guy currently holding the office doesn't hold it anymore, that he gets paid and what Oath of Office he must take.

Sections 2 and 3 of Article II are what should interest everyone this Election Day -- they state what powers the President shall have.

First paragraph:

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

Do you see anything in that paragraph regarding abortion? Energy requirements? Global Climate Change?

Second paragraph:

"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments."

Do you see anything in there about health care? Social security? Urban policy? Improving schools?

Third paragraph:

"The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session."

Do you see any mention in there of reforming immigration? Welfare? Caring for children? Parental leave?

Section 3, first paragraph:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

How about Investing in Conservation Efforts? Broadband to Rural Americans? Carbon Credit Trading? Human Dignity? Are any of those listed ANY-BLOODY-WHERE in the duties of the President of the United States?


The President of the United States was never meant to be, nor intended to be, King of America.

The President of the United States was never meant to do anything other than what is listed in red above.

The Office of the President is, in fact, expanding far beyond the limits and the very mission which is clearly and plainly carved in the metaphorical marble of the Constitution of the United States for any and all to read.

So when you hear -- or read -- that "John McCain will reform the Tax Code" -- why does no one ask where he gets this unilateral power?

When you hear -- or read -- that Hillary Clinton will "
spur the green building industry by funding the retrofitting and modernization of 20 million low-income homes" -- why does no one demand to know why she thinks she has this ability?

When you hear -- or read -- that "As president, Obama will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 and index it to inflation" -- why does no one stand up and say, "You don't have the power to do that"?

Are we so desperate for an absolute monarch that we blindly and joyously allow our Presidential candidates to claim powers that are restricted to Congress? That -- obviously -- we expect him/her to do so?


The fall of this great Republic started when the people of these United States came to believe the lie that we were a Democracy, instead of a Republic.

The fall of this great Republic has been furthered by an electorate that is deliberately unknowing and willfully blind as to the limits and rights of our government.

The end of this great Republic will begin when our leaders take the power that most of the electorate believes they already have.


Cigars for everyone!

Yes, we here at Rancho LawDog would like to announce the arrival of another bouncing blog-child!

Drop by Thoran's Thoughts and give him some kind words and encouragement.

Cheek pinching is optional.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Phrase of the Day

You have been chasing a critter through multiple back-yards. He is half your age and not encumbered by the forty pounds of bat-belt and armour required by Modern Policing; therefore he is actually picking up speed as he antelopes over fence after fence after fence.

As you are leaning against a tree, wheezing and swearing that you're going to start going to the gym tomorrow, he clears the next-to-last fence -- to the sudden joyous baritone barking that can only come from the throat of a dog the size of a tyrannosaurus rex.

This is techically referred to as
"Canis Interruptus", and it tends to engender a warm-and-fuzzy feeling in your chest and a jaunty whistle to your lips as you stroll happily down the alley to the heartrending sounds of shrieking, tearing, crashing and general doggy mayhem.

This has been your LawDog Phrase of the Day.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We Interrupt ...

... your regularly scheduled blog reading for this important announcement:

The official e-mail address for this blog and its author may be found under the "View my complete profile" on the left side of this page.

When I e-mail someone, I will use one of four possible e-mail addresses: the gmail address mentioned above; one other gmail address with my real name; my county email address which contains my real name and the county I work for; or (very rarely) a SearchMalta address.

I do not have a yahoo e-mail address, nor do I have a hotmail address.

That being said, I'd like to discuss a facet of my personality which seems to have missed at least one critter out there:

Off line, I am an extremely private person. I do not, will not, nor have I ever casually announced to a complete stranger that I am the author of this blog -- no matter how cute she is.

My blog does not
ever come up in casual conversation with anyone other than those I consider kith and kin. That means family and close friends. Period.

More to the point, I will not use the fact that I am the author of this blog in an effort to further unwanted romantic advances upon anyone -- ever.

If you are the subject of unwanted romantic or sexual attention by an officer -- contact the Internal Affairs division of his department and contact the head of his agency.

If the officer is using my blog, my words, and my on-line identity in his pursuit -- contact the Internal Affairs division of that department, contact the head of the agency, and then send me an e-mail and you can bet your last biscuit that at least one thing is going to get settled.


If you are reading this blog, and you are considering claiming it, or any part of it, as yours for
any kind of gain -- material, immaterial, sexual, financial, psychological or otherwise -- you'd best pray to whatever gods you worship that I never find out that you have.

That is all.


Oh. My. Gawd.

"The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants" by the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology.

I figured this had to be a joke.

Not so much -- here's the official report.

Apparently, people cannot (morally speaking) claim absolute ownership over plants -- allow me to quote from the paper:

"we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily."

*blink, blink*

What the hell are they smoking over in Switzerland? I'm guessing -- in light of the above-referenced paper -- that's it's not made from vegetation.

Did no one step back and say, "Whoa, we're getting a bit stupid here" or maybe "I wonder if we're getting a bit out of touch with normal humans?"

This is pure, complete and total idiocy.

Plants have no rights. Period. They don't get to claim "dignity" and ethics don't apply to plants. If I plant it, I have "absolute ownership" of it. Full stop. End of statement. Pack up your stuff and go home.

If I didn't plant it, but no one has a beef about it, I'll do what I want with it.

Here in a week or so, the Texas highways are going to be inundated with bluebonnets. I don't own these bluebonnets, but if I want to pick a bunch of them, I'm going to. If I want to drop a baby into a clump of them to take pictures, I'm going to. If I want fall over backwards into a clump of them and contemplate for a while -- I'm going to.

Because they're bloody plants and they sodding well don't have any rights. Or dignity. Or the right to be treated "ethically". They're plants.

The fact that the Swiss government has chosen to enshrine "plant dignity" is -- to me -- a symptom of the creeping disease of self-loathing that has been infecting Western civilisation since the 1960's -- at least.

Why do certain segments of our own populations hate us -- hate themselves -- so much that they are willing to go to these ridiculous lengths?

More importantly, why do they insist on inflicting the results of their self-hate on everyone else?

Judas Priest on a flaming pogo stick, but I'm getting tired of this kind of stupidity.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man


I went to see this movie without any real high expectations -- boy, was I surprised.

Yes, there was an undercurrent of "Weapons Are Evil/Merchant Of Death" going on, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Jeff Bridges shocked the hell out of me. I didn't even realize it was him until about half-way through the movie; and he apparently had a great deal of fun chewing the scenery.

Robert Downey, jr was born to play the role of a boozing, womanising, ne-er-do-well arrogant playboy -- not much of a stretch, come to think. He did a spot-on portrayal of Tony Stark.

Gwyneth Paltrow actually pulled off the part of the loyal Virginia 'Pepper' Potts, and Terrence Howard -- although a bit rocky at first -- managed a decent Jim Rhodes.

The CGI isn't as obvious as in some other movies recently, the humour is rather well done, and the cast and director were obviously familiar with the comic book and stayed true.

This one gets the LawDog Paw Of Approval.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

New tacklebox gun, I think

Taurus 941 in .22 WMR, eight round cylinder and a four-inch barrel.

Used Jim March's "Revolver Checkout Procedure" -- an invaluable resource for anyone in the used revolver market -- and it passed nicely.

Double-action trigger-pull is a skosh heavy -- that's to be expected with a rimfire -- but the single-action pull is crisp.

.22 Magnum out of a 4-inch tube is going to produce a fairly nice fireball, I think, but hollowpoints should be decent medicine for bait-stealing turtles, rabid wildlife, and for territorial negotiations with the occasional buzztail or cottonmouth.


Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns Group Buy

My friend Larry Correia over at Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns is having another CZ firearms group buy.

CZ makes good, dependable guns; and the group buy prices are excellent. If you're interested, send him a note at:

Besides, who can resist ordering your next bang-stick from a place called "Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns"?

Tell them that 'Dog sent you.